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Doctor Mom and Traveling for Work

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  • #16
    Originally posted by wideopenspaces View Post
    I guarantee you are not the only mom traveling for work! Just watch the Netflix show "working moms". I hang out on a mommy forum and a lot of women in business travel a lot. I honestly don't think it's helpful to ask for advice on this as you will end up getting judgy mom advice that's useless to you. Does this work for you and your family? If yes, carry on. If no, looks like y'all need to consider moving and/ or finding a new job.

    I'm a mom that really struggles with working, especially when my kids are little. I mostly want to be home and I took a year off med school after having my first and I cut back to 7 hours a week for a year after my second. I was working less than 20 hours a week away from home until my youngest turned 3 recently. I just took my first full time job since I finished residency 5 years ago and I honestly struggle being away 8-4:30, 5 days a week. I couldn't handle being gone 3 days 3-4 times a month. But my good friend had twins in residency and was dying to get back to work after 2 months and she works about 1.5 fte now. This works well for her and she has a great relationship with her boys. So I'm certain she'd be down with working a schedule like you have. You can be a good mom and physician doing what you are doing. As long as you are happy with the situation, that is really all that matters.
    I agree.
    Are you part of PMG on Facebook? They would have better advice.
    There are some advantages in what you are doing. When kids are young, leaving the house is the worst! They cry and scream and hold on to your leg. You only have to do that 3-4 times a month. That is nice. You also have time to decompress from work, which doing ED, trauma, etc. is really important. Also, lots of windshield time for WCI podcasts! (And others, just promoting the big guy!)

    If it is hard for you, then you need to make a change. There are lots of small towns with great communities. You have to decide, is it worth doing for the money? If it is, then stick with it. However, you have been doing this for 3 years and it sounds like, from what you have written, that you are done with it.

    Good luck!

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    • #17
      Originally posted by AlpineDoc View Post
      Love these responses. Ok so here is more specific details to see if this changes anything. This is an emergency medicine position. 10-11 shifts per month, so 20+ days at home a month with about 3-4 commutes per month (7 hours round trip). Salary is about $275k with amazing benefits like a 401a plan that contributes an additional $38k per year plus health and 403b and 457b plans. Being there is painful and occasionally rewarding, just like any other EM position would be but creates a lot of flexibility with home and travel time. The hospital is in a city we would never live or raise kids in and allows us to live in the mountains near 2 national parks and be close to all of our hobbies when home. There is just nothing closer to where we want to live. Trying to figure out a more sustainable career but obviously hard to give up that salary.
      I recently saw something in the NYT about how the commute time is where mothers tend to feel the most guilt. So I try to remedy that by listening to audible and catching up on CME in the car.

      Well that dramatically changes the story.

      If you compare to someone with a fairly short 15m commute, or 30m roundtrip, working M-F, that's about 20hr/month. You're really not that far off, 21-28 hours.

      Seems like a lot of people commute more than 30m each way, or an hour++ round trip, which would be substantially more than your total commute time. For what that's worth.

      +1 on joining PMG.

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      • #18
        I would not be able to do if unless I had no other choice. I want to live as close to work as possible. Kids get sick. Meetings at school. Sporting events, etc.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Craigy View Post


          Well that dramatically changes the story.

          If you compare to someone with a fairly short 15m commute, or 30m roundtrip, working M-F, that's about 20hr/month. You're really not that far off, 21-28 hours.

          Seems like a lot of people commute more than 30m each way, or an hour++ round trip, which would be substantially more than your total commute time. For what that's worth.

          +1 on joining PMG.

          Exactly. Obviously a lot of people have smaller commutes but my total commute time per month is 21 hours. I leave my house the first day of my shift and work an overlap 11-11 and finish on a day shift so I leave work by 6pm on my last day and home by 9:30 at the latest. So I truly do have 20+ days off per month even if there are a few long days in there.

          It’s an interesting thought exercise to calculate how many waking hours of time you get with your children based on your schedule. I have thought about this a lot with my current set up. My son currently sleeps 12 hours at night and has a 2-3 hour nap during the day (obviously that will be less as he gets older) but I truly miss out on 100 of his awake hours per month. That still leaves me with >200 hours of quality time with him per month. We also are able to request pretty much any days we want off which allows us a lot of flexibility with activities we want to do and travel. I actually enjoy going to work at times to catch up on sleep and get a few good workouts in and spend time with adults. Anyone who is curious, we have full time daycare available for $35 per day and my husband owns his own software company and works from home, so child care is really a non issue. COL is low where we are, so this dramatically has helped our financial situation.

          Obviously being gone days in a row is not ideal and the reason I’ve opened this discussion up. I don’t know if the grass is greener on the other side working 9-5 M-F but getting to see my baby every day. Mostly looking for anyone else in the same boat and if they have made it work or if other people have found non clinical jobs they like to work from home such as consulting, opening their own practice, telemedicine or working for insurance companies.

          P.s. I love working moms and Catherine Reitman is a true hero of mine

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          • #20
            Personally a job which would require me to not see my babies for over a 24 hr period would be a nonstarter.

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            • #21
              The only time this works:
              • Extreme schedule- few work days. Trade off a lot of days at home.
              "total commute time per month is 21 hours" This is not an excessive burden.
              "non clinical jobs they like to work from home" that allow you being with your child is purely a career/mother issue. Now I understand why a "mother's perspective" is desired. Good luck.

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              • #22
                Male here. I know of several ER docs do similar, but they are also all males. I think as noted the commute per-se is not the issue but rather not being around for multiple days at a time. That said, in our dual-physician household there are days one of us doesn't see the children at all. Suspect it is more do-able when kids are young. Would be more difficult as they get to be pre-teens / teenagers. This all assumes your spouse or other family members are available for childcare of course.

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                • #23
                  A 3 hour commute is so undesirable. It also makes it so much harder in the case of any emergencies. I am not judging your decisions at all, but I think a 3 hour commute would be a semi-unnecessary burden (it's hard for me to think about how much pay would make it all worthwhile).

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                  • #24
                    Maybe I am missing something but since your husband owns his own business could you not live closer to your work? Is the town that bad?

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                    • #25
                      I think the focus on commute isn't looking at the big picture. The main problem is you being away. So answer this hypothetical: Your hospital is 15 minutes away but you had to be onsite for 48 hours a time. Or to account for drive time, 54 hours in a row. But for the other 114 hours of the week, you are at home. Do you take THAT job?

                      You're gone 2 or 3 days per week on average, but completely available the rest of the week. I'd take the bad with the good.

                      Sounds like you are good with the arrangement. What does your husband think? If he's on board, what is the problem?
                      Wonder if DW is reading this same thread on PMG Facebook...

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