Weekend Work

Some Weekends Just Aren’t That Amazing

May 6, 2019

And that’s okay.

although there was a cute baby play date in there
all 3 in the piano lesson waiting room

I was on call this past weekend, and while it was actually not that busy work-wise, I just didn’t feel great. No one is sick here (and for that I am grateful! We’ve actually had a nice long healthy stretch in this house, which is nothing short of a miracle). But I felt distracted, tired, annoyed by many things. (Call. Hormones. A rough combination.)

You win some, you lose some, I guess! But it’s a new week! Some positives:

  • I have a lovely resident on with me who is fun to teach and work with, and she has actually been quite helpful! Amazing to see the progression in our interns over the past ~10 months!
  • Call ends Weds AM, so there is a light at the end of that tunnel . . .
  • Next weekend is Mother’s Day and I’m trying to keep expectations fairly low but . . . hopefully something fun?
  • We have the first ever meeting of our Physician Parenting Group at our organization (founded by yours truly + a friend who is a peds surgeon married to a neurosurgeon with two little kids spaced only 13 months apart!). Let’s hope at least a few people show up!
  • I have a decent balance of clinical + GME time this week (though OMG I cannot wait for June when this balance improves further, more on that below!

I know I’ve alluded to it previously, but to clarify my upcoming work changes here — I’m stepping up as residency program director in June! As PDs go, I am definitely on the younger/greener side but I believe (and fervently hope) I have the spirit and organizational skills to pull it off!

I will be going to 0.9FTE as opposed to 0.8FTE, which means my days off will be reduced to every other week (plus my PTO, of course). I calculated that the 10% plus my PTO is equal to about 53 days off per year, which I think will be enough for me. I will also have less clinical call, because the GME role is a full 0.5FTE position. (That said, the GME responsibilities may be more likely to bleed into off times and there are some weekend things I will be participating in from time to time related to that role). I do think the GME part of my job will lend itself to a bit more flexibility which will be increasingly valuable as the kids get older.

I am really excited to take on the role — I think it will be a challenge, but a fun one. I have such passionate thoughts about training the next generation of pediatric physicians and it feels surreal that I actually have this much say in how our program is run!

Notably, I initially did not volunteer to step into this role when it initially became available. Honestly, I was concerned that my part-time status would make me an unsuitable candidate. But on on further reflection, my role as APD for the past 3+ years put me in a natural position for this progression. I am grateful that the leadership at my institution realized this and encouraged me to go for it despite my part-time status.

Okay. Workout time! Happy Monday.

PS: did anyone see this viral rant? I have . . . thoughts.


  • Reply CBS May 6, 2019 at 6:50 am

    We had a bit of a meh weekend as well – I have a cold, toddler was slightly crabby, life felt a bit stressful. It’s a long weekend and my husband and toddler are off but my office is open and I was slightly relieved to retreat to my office. But now I’m getting photos of my husband and son on the beach and feeling jealous.

    Well done on the new post – it sounds like a challenge but a really good one, and it’ll reduce call which always helps!

    Just read the article and would love to hear your thoughts. I feel unqualified to weigh in – I just have the one and while every kid comes with their challenges, I feel like a toddler in fulltime nursery is still parenting on the easy setting.

    • Reply BPS May 6, 2019 at 9:11 am

      CBS – agreed with your last paragraph. Sarah, would be curious on your thoughts on the rant. For me, I also only have one right now, at 17 months, and he’s in daycare FT, so perhaps I was missing the full-on angst of the rant. It’s been very challenging for me to get back into a workout routine, but after trying a lot of different things, I finally found a way to squeeze it in to my schedule. I also thought the nursing/pumping stage was way harder on me than toddlerhood so far; certainly know it has potential get tougher, though.

      I do think the whole working parent thing is tougher than it needs to be in the USA because we don’t have the social structures of other developed countries starting with what a joke our (lack of) parental leave policies are. If you’re fortunate, you have family that is nearby (or willing to travel) and helpful.

      However, the “Mommy Martyr” viral posts that spring up every so often aren’t doing us any favors, IMO. I did find the NYT piece on the value of time and money in 2-working-parent households super interesting and nuanced.

  • Reply Callie May 6, 2019 at 9:15 am

    I’d love to know your thoughts on the Facebook post! I thought it was a bit overdramatic, but then again I’m a woman who doesn’t have kids yet so…maybe I will learn otherwise in a few years.

    • Reply Gillian May 6, 2019 at 11:13 am

      I thought it was a bit dramatic and I have 4 kids…

  • Reply Joey May 6, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Congratulations on the new role. It seems very fitting for you and I look forward to hearing more about how things unfold!

  • Reply Hailey May 6, 2019 at 10:37 am

    Regarding the FB rant, I found it very relatable, and the parts that were not so much were because I have the resources (re: money) to make things easier on myself in certain areas. I especially related to the lack of vacation time, dealing with an old dog and young children, and the constant pressure to be fun and spontaneous and enjoy every minute of this while their little even though my husband and I both are just so freaking tired all the time.

  • Reply Gillian May 6, 2019 at 11:03 am

    I am curious to hear what others think about the mommy rant. I am the mother of 4 children and a full time physician. I do not disqualify her right to rant, but I don’t find this type of thing helpful for any of us. I think a lot of working mother discussion centers on the early years and they are hard, but I also think many of us make them harder than they have to be. Those years are also short–I say this as a mother of kids ages 11-3. We are just emerging from the baby years and it does get easier in many ways. I think what I would say is, it is time to be more solutions oriented in our discussion. This is why I love BofBW. I know hiring more childcare doesn’t change policy, but talking about it more may.

    I have recently started talking about my own experience more as a way of framing the conversation with those I speak to. My husband was sort of accidentally (I was a resident and he was underemployed due to the recession) the primary parent in our home for the first 5 years of our parenting years and it has shaped our parenting experience in ways we never could have understood at the time and for the better. It isn’t that I think our situation is perfect, but rather I think we accidentally did somethings that worked well and sharing that is more productive than complaining about how unfair life is (even if life is unfair).

    • Reply Ashley G. May 8, 2019 at 8:17 am

      I agree so wholeheartedly. I mostly have stopped reading anything similar to this for the same reasons–I just don’t find it helpful. Also, I realize societal pressures are a real thing, but your response to them is still your decision. I think we gloss over that a bit too often.

  • Reply Megan May 6, 2019 at 11:47 am

    I think that the FB post was meant to be exaggerated: funny, overblown, but also pointing out some real problems about the expectations for white, middle-class working mothers. If you choose to (and are able to) fulfill those expectations, great. But that doesn’t mean that those expectations are inherently correct or shouldn’t be questioned. Without questioning those expectations, it’s impossible to get to solutions because we’re just correcting on an individual basis (e.g., hire more childcare, get more organized). Those individual solutions are great – I love planning! – but they’re not scalable, structural, or democratic. That kind of approach takes as a given this one version of work/parenting/bodies/marriage and doesn’t really give us the opportunity to ask if, as a society, we actually want to push for other priorities and values.

    • Reply Rebecca May 6, 2019 at 8:02 pm

      That’s how I felt about it too! I think being middle class has a lot of expectations that you can’t really outsource as much as you would like but still have a lot of pressure, albeit internally, to “do it all”. I related to it, in a “yea girl!” kinda way.

    • Reply Holly May 7, 2019 at 9:01 am

      This is so well said and I completely agree! I can already imagine the BOBW podcast-style response in my head – outsource more chores, hire out childcare, let your house look like a mess…but those don’t get at a) the real structural economic problems for lower to middle class women and b) don’t get at the unrealistic societal expectation/norms that all women face when going back to the office post-child.

    • Reply Ellie May 7, 2019 at 11:41 am

      I also read it that way… listing all those expectations we face as mothers is a way to « denounce » them and encourage us to make choices and focus on what matters to us and what is structurally needed, not what « society » tells us to do or have.

    • Reply Sarah May 17, 2019 at 12:36 pm

      Coming to this late. Wow, I’m usually one for commiserating with other moms, but this rant seemed over the top. No one is telling you to do ALL those things. Sounds like she has a harsh inner critic and is a perfectionist (that’s okay, a lot of us are, but after you write all those things down in a journal or something to vent, it’s healthy to question your own thinking and get to a more realistic place). Yes, we are pressured by society to keep a lot of balls in the air, but all those things listed together was a bit much. I couldn’t even read all of it.

  • Reply jeannajeanna May 6, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    I get what the rant was trying to get across, but I don’t think it was well executed. I wouldn’t lump in the “mommy martyr” stuff (i.e., pinterest-worthy house and holidays). I’d prefer that this type of discussion focus on actual deficiencies in society. I don’t think a lack of paid maternity leave is on the same scale as forgetting to be the tooth fairy or wearing yoga pants, and putting them on the same plane is not very helpful.

  • Reply Courtney May 6, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    Congrats on your new role!

    I find rants like that annoying, mostly because they seem to exalt an unhappy, harried life with kids and dwell on the unpleasant things rather than the fun. I’m a mom of three little kids under 4 who works full-time in a somewhat demanding job, and at least for my family life can be pleasant and fun! There is definitely some unavoidable drudgery (we have two kids in diapers…), but posts like this make me really appreciate BoBW’s more uplifting approach to parenting with tips on how to make life even better. Thanks to you and Laura for building such a positive community around motherhood!

  • Reply sophia May 6, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    Congrats on the new role! It sounds like a great fit for your interests and strengths and is very impressive given your age. I’m graduating this year and have fantasies of maybe getting into resident training so very excited to hear more about this if you choose to share.

    In terms of the rant. I’m a resident with 3 young kids, one of whom with special needs and a partner who works a lot and I get that life can be challenging. I found her really dramatic. Life is less hard for us than about 95% of women worldwide. I’m over the martyrdom. It’s fine to talk about our struggles to feel less alone and share tips but this woman needs a reality check. We have lots of choices and you can make life easier for yourself. Breastfeeding is a choice. Keeping a pinterest-worthy home is a choice. Doing all the family’s scheduling is a choice (if you have a partner). Ditto for kids appointments and vet. I think it’s fine (and healthy at times) to complain but we need to keep some perspective. I’m from a developing country and had several cousins die of infections that are very treatable here, kids paralyzed by polio etc. Now that’s hard. Worrying about decorating for the holidays isn’t.

  • Reply Nikki May 6, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    So interesting to read the comments on the ‘rant’! We’re a two toddler (1 & 3), two full time working parent home. Life is super full, plenty of logistical challenges, but we love it. Maybe I read the rant too light heartedly but it just struck me as sarcastic and funny, and sometimes the thought, ‘yes when you put it like that, that is a really, really hard thing, way to go us!’

    • Reply Sara May 7, 2019 at 9:41 am

      Nikki, I kind of read it the same way…at least to a point! I fully admit to completely ignoring many things on her list and just focusing on the things important to ME. However, the mental energy I put into planning and organizing (nearly) all things kids/house related can be hard sometimes. I will say I’m better at my job because of it though (I’m a Project Manager 🙂

      I also agree with several of the other commenters that these types of rants aren’t really that helpful. They ignore a lot of the great support husbands/partners give to their wives and I’d much prefer to focus on real changes like longer (paid!) maternity and paternity leaves and daycare/enrichment programs for children that work with working parents’ schedules.

  • Reply Kate May 7, 2019 at 9:39 am

    I found the viral post to be quite dramatic. Life is full of choices… and there are consequences to all of the choices. If you choose to get caught up in a lot of the things she mentioned, or choose to have a demanding job, or choose to have many children, there are realities that come along with that. I left a very demanding job for a less demanding one when I had my son and that was a huge sacrifice for me, but I did it and that was my choice. Like another poster said, pinterest, family scheduling and even breastfeeding are all choices. Lots of people bring up the lack of leave for women as compared to other countries, but there are big consequences to that kind of a program too. Not trying to enter a debate, just stating that life is full of choices and when you make choices over and over without thinking them through, well, I don’t have much sympathy for you.

  • Reply Chelsea May 7, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Congrats on the new position! It sounds like it will really play to your strengths! I wish my oldest would agree to do piano but he will swim and only swim. I’ve got high hopes for #2 :).

    As far as the FB post… I think some of the difference in reaction comes down to how much people feel those expectations are real vs abstract. it’s one thing to say that you aren’t going to live up to a crazy societal expectation of having a Pintrest-worthy house and it’s another to endure a (say) MIL who criticizes your housecleaning constantly. Or your weight. Or your child rearing choices. Whatever. No you don’t *have* do do any of those things, but it’s tougher to ignore and not get stressed out by a real human voicing those expectations than some vague idea of what “society” expects.

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