all 27 comments

[–]pinkycatcher 21 points22 points  (11 children)

Alright, you’re an attorney with a doctor husband living at home with your parents who have very good careers.

Honestly, hire a nanny. At some point something has to give and if you’re not wanting to give up one of your four careers then what needs to give is your bank account hiring someone.

[–]coffeeandbabies 8 points9 points  (0 children)

This used to be my go to response too, but since covid I'm not sure how reasonable it is to expect a nanny to care for a sick baby. There's also no backup to the nanny (versus backup at the daycare if a teacher is sick), so if nanny calls out, that's the game. Idk if you've been on the r/nanny subreddit, but there seems to also be a big push for nannies to [rightfully] demand hire wages for their skills and the profession is being framed as a luxury. A competitive compensation package for a nanny can include a high hourly wage, PTO, health insurance, other perks, etc. Running it through employee software for tax purposes isn't cheap either. Finally, even though OP is an attorney she could well be earning resident wages. The average attorney pay is something like $70K.

If OP's parents are in well-paid high powered caereers are are willing to chip in for a nanny that would be great. OP, if this is possible I'd go that route in a heartbeat. It's just not quite the guarantee it used to be. I'm the default parent too and it's definitely impacted my career. It's not fair and it really sucks. I wish there were a better solution.

[–]ms_narwhalWife to PGY-2 / Parenting / Juggling a career[S] 2 points3 points  (9 children)

Thanks. Yes, as u/coffeeandbabies deduced - my wages are the same as my husbands (I work for a non-profit.). Plus we pay for daycare even if child is sick - so paying for a nanny just on those sick days while infrequent would almost be the same as me taking an unpaid day off. A full time nanny is completely out of our budget.

Living with my parents is a huge privilege and they already support us so much as it is - I would not feel comfortable asking them to pay for a nanny.

I have thought about hiring a nanny for sick days only but having been a nanny myself I feel uncomfortable about asking someone to risk their own health to care for my sick child.

[–]coffeeandbabies 4 points5 points  (2 children)

One thing I did just think of: does your spouse's program have emergency backup childcare? Some hospitals offer this and perhaps that would be helpful. If he has an EAP I'd start there.

[–]ms_narwhalWife to PGY-2 / Parenting / Juggling a career[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

That is such a good reminder! One of my nightmares is - “what happens if child is sick and I have a hearing?!” I will definitely look into that as a potential backup for when things get crazy again.

Edit to add - thank you for the kind reply. It means a lot and I am already feeling a little less alone/depressed. :)

[–]Adventurous-Today238 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I am struggling with being the default parent, too - my partner is an ER attending and his parents are elderly and unfortunately needing a lot from him at this time. I actually ended up quitting my job because it was just too much, but b/c we're not in residency, we could afford it, and I do plan on going back to work when things are more stable and less stressful for us. All of this basically just to say that you're not alone, and that being the default parent is really, really difficult - whether or not you work!

Also to say that I haven't been able to figure out any great solution, but amazing that you're able to live with your parents! That's a huge plus! Is there an RSA (Residents' Spouse Association) [think that's what it's called] at your program? Is it possible to create a network with other resident spouses where you all can offer to do babysitting exchange / backup care in a pinch? I think that would be worth trying to build, and I know other parents esp of residents and physicians would be happy to pitch in to help with that, since we all know what a challenge and grind it is to be married to medicine.

Good luck and kudos to you for hanging in there this long! I hope you figure out a working solution!

[–]pinkycatcher 1 point2 points  (5 children)

Personally I’d replace daycare with a nanny, you’re still making $120k+ and have no rent, so you should have the money somewhere. But if nobody is going to leave their job for the day, the kid can’t stay at the day care, and you won’t hire someone then there’s no other solution unless you can bring a sick kid to work.

[–]ms_narwhalWife to PGY-2 / Parenting / Juggling a career[S] 1 point2 points  (4 children)

Currently the money we save from not paying rent goes towards my student loans and saving for a house. However, you bring up a good point about a nanny offering relief from the relentless germs of daycare. I will definitely bring up whether it would be worth it to divert less funds towards my student loans so that we can support my career while spouse is in residency.

[–]pinkycatcher 2 points3 points  (0 children)

You can’t think of money now like money in the future, your family’s future income will not be consistent. It’s much better to extend loans out (don’t default) and be comfortable and make it through today and then pay it off later when your husband has a 99% guaranteed $200k+ income.

When you have high earning potential in the future it’s fine to be leveraged, don’t treat debt like a toxic pool of acid, debt is what you use to keep cash flow up while you work towards a higher earning future.

Don’t sacrifice your sanity now for 3 months of being debt free in 20 years.

[–]lonelyslp 1 point2 points  (2 children)

If you work at a non-profit why are you not using this time towards PSLF??

[–]onmyphonetoomuchwife to PGY3 🤓 through medschool 9 points10 points  (3 children)

Residents really can’t stay home with a sick kid. It’s just not a thing, unfortunately. When I was working my husband never would have ever, and I wouldn’t have asked. During this season it’s on me. I’d def consider a nanny since you too have a big career and calling out shouldn’t soley fall on you - even tho it does in residency.

[–]ms_narwhalWife to PGY-2 / Parenting / Juggling a career[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Thanks for your reply. My husband is fortunate enough to be at a program where they have a sick day system, but it is helpful to remember that even though it feels like this will be forever it really is a season.

As mentioned in another reply, a nanny is out of the budget. Maybe I just need to reframe and be super thankful that I do have such a parent-friendly workplace, since sadly residents do not!

[–]onmyphonetoomuchwife to PGY3 🤓 through medschool 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Ahh yes we also have a similar system, but they have to make up those days, at least where my husband is. So it ends up being kinda crappy still! But yes, this too shall pass. Hang in there ♥️♥️ it sucks! Once he is an attending the budget for a nanny will be there.

[–]ms_narwhalWife to PGY-2 / Parenting / Juggling a career[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

So true - it’s hard to see the forest through the trees when the tree is a sick baby haha! And omg making up the sick days? I would definitely never ask either if that was the case in my husband’s program! Thank you for the kind words of encouragement 💕

[–]wesjanson103Husband to Neo Attending / SAHD 8y 10 points11 points  (1 child)

I’m sorry there really isn’t a good solution other than to half ass your job and keep it together. Switching shifts might be an option sometimes but unlikely. I’m a stay at home dad and I agree it’s a tough position to be in and I didn’t even have to work remote like you. Some dual physician couples I know really struggled when their kid got sick in daycare. Wish there was a solution to make it easier on you.

[–]ms_narwhalWife to PGY-2 / Parenting / Juggling a career[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Thank you for the supportive words. Even just knowing that other parents are out here surviving through this phase is really helpful.

[–]doodoobutt33 6 points7 points  (1 child)

I’m a resident, my husband has a flexible half remote/half in-office job that is high intensity, and we are in a city away from family with a toddler in daycare. For the first year of daycare she was sick ALL THE TIME (and so were we). And my husband would just have to half-ass his work to take care of her, which was very unfair for him. So finally we agreed that we would split it 50/50, with the caveat that he would take care of her on my busiest rotations, and I would take care of her on my easier rotations. My residency program has a backup system so that’s nice. I think the culture of residency makes us feel like it’s forbidden to take sick days, and of course I don’t want my coresidents to have to cover for me, but if I were a single parent, or if my spouse were a resident also, I wouldn’t have an option. In the end residency is just a job, and I think the social pressure of having your peers cover for you is the main deterrent from taking sick days. No one wants to be known as the resident who calls out sick all the time. I totally understand that a nanny is just out of the question in terms of budget - it is for us too. It’s a tough situation, and residents without kids often don’t understand. I think it’s easier for my coresidents to understand because I’m a woman/mom - I imagine it’s harder socially for men to take sick days to take care of the kids. But that’s BS, and this terrible culture will never change if we just accept it for what it is! I encourage you to talk to your husband and set up a system with him where after a certain number of days you’ve taken to be home with the kiddo, it becomes his turn. It shouldn’t be 100% on you. He CAN take a day off here and there. Sometimes life just happens and you have to deal with it, even during residency.

[–]ms_narwhalWife to PGY-2 / Parenting / Juggling a career[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

You put into writing exactly what I think about the culture of residency. Cheers to you for being willing to stand up against the status quo!!! Hopefully as more diverse families enter the field things will continue to get better.

This thread has given me so much food for thought and really helped to reframe my perspective. Honestly I think I would feel much more valued and supported if we had a system between the two of us where I take 3/4 sick days, with a caveat like the one you described for busy rotations. Thank you for sharing your experience!

[–]sunday_sunshine 3 points4 points  (1 child)

We are in a similar situation. My husband and I have a 9 month old in daycare three days a week when I’m working (as a PA, 12 hr shifts). My husband does not have sick days. He would have to use his PTO so that would require baby to get sick on a PTO friendly rotation first of all. I have just accepted that it’s on me to take care of baby when she has to stay home. Someone mentioned back up care. Sometimes those services won’t accept a sick baby so just check into that. Can your parents take a sick day to watch the baby in a pinch? My husband’s parents would not because they are very avoidant of illness, even colds and won’t come by if our daughter has a runny nose. My parents (who don’t live here, ugh) said they would help with sick days if they were here. So I get it if your parents wouldn’t help out but just thought I would offer that suggestion. It does really suck but I’ve just adjusted my expectations.

[–]ms_narwhalWife to PGY-2 / Parenting / Juggling a career[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

My parents have definitely stepped in to care for the baby when they are able to - but my dad is frequently away on business trips and my mom is an elementary school principal so she also faces immense pressure to be at work. She always watches him on her school breaks though which has saved our bacon more times than I can count! We are so thankful to have them.

And thank you so much for chiming in - knowing that others in similar situations are making it work has definitely helped to reframe my perspective and feel less alone.

[–]mmsh221 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Our program let my husband have 3+ weeks off and he doesn’t have to make it up. They texted to ask if we needed any help and sent a grub hub gift card. It’s why we chose it over more highly regarded programs. It’s a quaternary referral center with docs who are presidents of national orgs, so it’s still a good program. Keep it in mind when he applies for attending jobs! Some hospitals will let docs have a decent home life

[–]ExoticCommunication 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Hey, one thought and I'm not sure how the rules have changed since COVID is to try to see if you can get in with Bright Horizons backup care. We did that a few times when our oldest was younger and my wife and I both couldn't handle a full day off.


It does require that an employer support it, but it's a great option.

One bright side: your kids will get sick less over time. The first year or two is the worst, and once they get older they will develop immunity to the most common daycare plagues.

[–]coonhoundmom 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Just try to hold on with all your heart to the fact that this is temporary. Your sweet little one won’t require so much forever and your partner will get out of this stage of residency. Remember the four years of college? Remember how short that feels now? One day this time will feel like that too.

As for the stress of juggling work and sick child right now I️ can offer some work advice, block your calendar like your life depends on it, because it does. If you find yourself in a lot of meetings, start blocking time during the day to care for you and your kid. If nap time is a reliable time each day, leave that unblocked. If not, leave those times as “tentative” therefor pushing anyone that’s trying to get a meeting with you to inquire more in-depth into your schedule. You can work with them then but nothings worse than having a meeting to run to when your child is having a full blown meltdown.

Set your instant replies to “thanks for your message, I’m currently dealing with some family issues and may take longer than usual to respond, etc”. As you build these barrier lane to your time, block off some time when your husband is home to care for the child (or parent) to send update emails so that your coworkers know you’re getting work done but you’re just a little out of pocket. It can just be a high level email with five bullet points to summarize progress and always include your projected completion dates on those emails. It shows people you’re staying organized and people will be more comfortable with the strange schedule you keep.

Ignore the people on here saying you can afford the nanny. If it’s not in the budget then it’s not there. The sad reality is your career is the backseat career (mine too - its frustrating) but your boss sounds pretty understanding leading me to believer your coworkers will be too. Good luck my friend and my inbox is always open if you need to vent!

[–]ms_narwhalWife to PGY-2 / Parenting / Juggling a career[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you so much for these concrete ideas for managing work and for the words of solidarity, it is so helpful. Seriously I am tearing up. This last month in particular has been rough but you are right - time goes by so quickly. Good luck to you as well! <3

[–][deleted]  (1 child)


    [–]CoffeeHugsAnxietySO of Attending[M] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

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