Even minor household tasks take time. Paying bills, doing chores, and running errands become big challenges for two residents working many 12-hour nights in a row. I pay bills online or via my cell phone, with text reminders of due dates. Brief tasks like this can be done while I’m waiting at the kids’ ballet or gymnastics classes. Grocery delivery is an option when there is no time for shopping. Instead of remembering school lunch money each day, I can pay online – even at 3 a.m.
Explore This IssueACEP News: Vol 32 – No 03 – March 2013
Set a schedule for study time. With an intense work schedule and no downtime at home, making a study schedule helped me to study in small bits. Just looking at Rosen’s or Tintinalli’s can be overwhelming. But a schedule makes it seem more do-able over time. It is also a constant reminder on my calendar to not let my guard down since I have “miles to go before I rest.” There is an endless supply of charts, logs and conference presentations to prepare. Scheduling time for everything helps me to stay organized.
Any time with the kids is real time. When I am home I am generally busy with presentations, patient logs, studying, or other residency related chores. But I still take breaks with the kids. We sit on the floor and I do whatever the kids want to do: braid hair, play a board game, put on fake tattoos, do ballet together, watch the Disney channel, or turn on music and “crazy dance.”
I will never forget my first Christmas as an intern. My husband’s mother supplied all the presents. The tree was tiny and put up at the last minute. Both my husband and I worked Christmas. When I left at 6 a.m., the kids were asleep. Santa’s presents were under the tree. I cried as I glanced back to the quiet living room, knowing that my children would run in to see what Santa brought … and I wouldn’t be there. A nurse caught me crying later during my shift. I still appreciate her hugs. Her kids were home celebrating without her, too. People still get sick on the holidays, and it is our job to be there for them.
The guilt of missing important events in my children’s lives is painful. I sometime wonder if it is all worth it. This self-doubt usually comes over me when I am sleep deprived and exhausted. I am reassured that I made the right choice when my kids call me “SuperMom” or when I get text messages from my sons saying, “so proud of you Mom, you can do it.”