Doctor Mom

Welcome to the "On Balance" guest blog. Every Tuesday, "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

by S. Aziz

A friend asked me recently, "How's it going juggling work and family?"

I paused. I knew the right answer was, "Really well! I love my job. I love being a mom. Blah blah blah."

Before I could say anything she said, "You must be really good at it now that you've been doing it for a year."

In my mind I ran through the last year. I have a fifteen-month-old now who is adorable. I'm a doctor at a hospital 45 minutes from home. Even with my limited schedule of 32 hours, I am always rushing. I eat as I feed my daughter. I plan my day when I take a shower. I cook dinner while entertaining her in the playroom. Most nights when she goes to bed my head is still reeling from the day.

My supervisor told me in a recent review that I was doing a good job in spite of my limited schedule. Medicine is not a field that takes kindly to limited hours, flexibility and maternity leave. I think about this at least once a week as I walk out the door at work amidst some crisis that my colleagues cover in my absence. They don't make any more money for doing this, so I feel beholden to them even though I've taken a cut in pay and benefits to work fewer hours.

I am no less ambitious now than when I had a baby, but I've put a lot of goals on hold. I turn down invitations to join committees I should be on. I haven't been to a professional meeting in the last few years. My vacation is used up for child-related activities and emergencies. And I am one of the lucky ones. My daughter stays with my parents while I'm at work, my husband does a lot with our daughter, and I have a job that has allowed me to cut my hours and still gives me benefits.

So I told my friend, "It's going great." Because for the most part it is. Do I have the juggling act down? Not yet. I'm still a work in progress.

S. Aziz lives with her family in Durham, N.C.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  October 16, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

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First! chomp!

Posted by: nonamehere | October 16, 2007 7:45 AM

I'm another Mom MD. I too, signed up for 32 hours per week, and end up working 7:30 to 5:30 plus call and unpaid weekend coverage. Like Dr. Aziz, I put off committee work, research and other things I really should be doing to foster my career. In addition, I worry that I'm not doing a good job keeping up with the medical literature (at night I'm reading Curious George to my sons rather than The New England Journal of Medicine!).

When I was growing up in the 1970s, I heard a lot about how a woman could do well in virtually any career. I still think this is true (our caring nature makes us better physicians, in my view, than men), but like many other women in this blog, I am currently paying a pretty terrible price for wanting to have it all. As medical schools graduate more and more women doctors (my graduating class was over 50% female), it will be interesting to see if we can change the profession for the better.

Posted by: ssoenen | October 16, 2007 7:49 AM

And what is your basis for saying that medicine will change for the better with working mothers as doctors?

I'm sorry to hear you are "paying a pretty terrible price" for trying to have it all, which is impossible.

Last week's Wall Street Journal "The Juggle" was right- this blog has gone off the deep end.

Posted by: martinajess | October 16, 2007 8:08 AM

I found this refreshing, Dr. Aziz seems to see the situation for what it is and is making choices that she seems happy with. Sounds like the whole family is happy. Congratulations.

I have a feeling people with have a problem with Dr. Aziz "wasting her talents." I am sure she will ignore the naysayers.

Posted by: cmac | October 16, 2007 8:12 AM

"..In addition, I worry that I'm not doing a good job keeping up with the medical literature..."

I would hope that my doctor is up to date since they have my life in their hands/prescription pad.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | October 16, 2007 8:13 AM

"I eat as I feed my daughter. I plan my day when I take a shower. I cook dinner while entertaining her in the playroom. Most nights when she goes to bed my head is still reeling from the day. "

Um, doesn't everybody do that - even before kids?

Eating while feeding a child - gee, what a concept!!

Planning a day when showering - gee, a mindless task (showering) and using the time for something else.

Posted by: r6345 | October 16, 2007 8:22 AM

I know I'm repeating what others have said many times, but it needs to be repeated: why is it nearly always the woman who must make these career sacrifices? Why must the woman cut her work hours, reduce her committee work, fall behind in the literature? Is a wife's career less important and valuable than a husband's? Do children need their mothers more than they need their fathers? If we women don't fight that, we won't be able to change the workplace and make it more family-friendly, because we won't have as much power in the workplace as men do.

Posted by: crazycatlady | October 16, 2007 8:27 AM

"my husband does a lot with our daughter"

Huh?

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 16, 2007 8:31 AM

Well r6345, I think that's the point.

She's describing everyone's juggling act. We can all relate.

I think it sounds like she's got it pretty good on the family side of things. She works 32 hours, has a free baby sitter, and her husband seems to do his part.

It sounds like her work might be suffering, but it's only for those first few years. There will be time to catch up. And I have a feeling that if she's not up to speed on all the new publications, she's asking for a lot of advice from her fellow doctors and doing research on a case-by-case basis.

Posted by: Meesh | October 16, 2007 8:35 AM

For the record, "crazycatlady" is not the former Catlady.

Posted by: mehitabel | October 16, 2007 8:37 AM

crazycatlady, I'm with you. I'd be curious to know if her husband also took part time work or if he managed a flex schedule to help care for his child.

This, of course, is a moot point if she just really wanted to be able to do more for her child.

Posted by: Meesh | October 16, 2007 8:39 AM

"I think about this at least once a week as I walk out the door at work amidst some crisis that my colleagues cover in my absence"

So...... you've essentially made two commitments, and can't fulfill either of them. Your kid suffers since you're working, and your work suffers since you're parenting. Sounds familiar.

Posted by: nicoleherb79 | October 16, 2007 8:43 AM

I'm getting a chuckle out of the thought that people on this blog think their doctors are all up to date on the literature! If you read JAMA, NEJM, etc some time, I'm sure you'll find it's all very esoteric. Medicine is a series of triages. It's not 'House.' I'm sure she's a fine doctor who's appropriately trained, just not at the cutting edge.

It sounds pretty much like the life of all working mothers. The biggest difference is that health care is basically in the service industry. Your hours are scheduled with customers, not a computer. It's a lot harder to squeeze in time for yourself during the work day to read a blog, for instance, because you have someone waiting to see you. Not to mention, you have to be 'on' because this is someone's health we're talking about. It's a tough career. I'm glad someone's doing it, and I'm glad it's not me!

Posted by: atb2 | October 16, 2007 8:48 AM

I am appalled by the comments of others on this blog. This Doctor is opening up, and stating how she feels -- and you all are attacking her? The people with all the negative comments should be ashamed of themselves, and should consider posting mature comments instead of acting like children. I too have felt the impacts of raising a child, and striving for a successful career --- there are only so many hours in a day and when the children are young there simply is not enough time or energy for everything. It makes sense that we have to choose our activities and something must sacrifice. I have learned to accept I can not be everything all the time - and for me the balance is in the unbalanced acts of being a good mother but a poor employee one week, and the following week I will shift my focus again. It is hard. And it will continue to be hard. I do not believe women's lib intended for us to "have" to work, but the opportunity is there should we choose it. I applaud the Doctors, and all the other professional women who strive to keep the doors open as we raise our children. Lets not forget, if and when we can not do it all it is not a failure -- it is life.

Posted by: dksramsey | October 16, 2007 8:49 AM

"It sounds like her work might be suffering, but it's only for those first few years."

Does she tell that to her patients? Does she charge them less for the first few years?

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 16, 2007 8:51 AM

Good job - how we balance evolves with the kids. I have been in a similar situation -don't worry - the committees, etc. will be added back into the mix in a couple of years. Spending time with a toddler is more fun.

Posted by: scurcuru | October 16, 2007 8:53 AM

For the record, "crazycatlady" is not the former Catlady.

Posted by: mehitabel | October 16, 2007 08:37 AM

Thank goodness!

Posted by: cmac | October 16, 2007 8:54 AM

" . . . it needs to be repeated: why is it nearly always the woman who must make these career sacrifices? Why must the woman cut her work hours, reduce her committee work, fall behind in the literature? Is a wife's career less important and valuable than a husband's?"

Posted by: crazycatlady | October 16, 2007 08:27 AM

Who is the judge of what's "important" and "valuable"? Isn't it the couple themselves? The clergyman who married my parents had a daughter who was a practicing physician. That daughter also managed to raise ten (10) children. Are we supposed to second-guess her, to tell her that she had "too many" children for her career?

"Do children need their mothers more than they need their fathers?"

I would hesitate to make such a broad generalization, although I do not hesitate to say that children do need both a mother and a father. The question for each individual couple is, ¿do our children need more time with their mother than they do with their father?

"If we women don't fight that, we won't be able to change the workplace and make it more family-friendly, because we won't have as much power in the workplace as men do."

A good place to start is Rhona Mahony's book, "Kidding Ourselves: Breadwinning, Babies, and Bargaining Power" (BasicBooks: New York, 1995). Has "crazycatlady" read this book? Here is a synopsis, from the Internet:

" * Women have not yet achieved economic equality with men. We see this when we look at women's earnings, the consequences of divorce and separation for women, battering, and the importance of women's physical appearance for their economic well-being (w hich has been measured). All these problems stem in large part from women's nearly sole responsibility for raising children.
* Empirical research has not found evidence that women have a different negotiating style from men, but stereotypes about women can hurt them in some negotiations.
* Basic elements of negotiation, from a game-theoretic point of view. This chapter is a mini-course in negotiation, emphasizing the elements that come into play within relationships and families.
* Stories of four marriages in which we see those basic elements in action: a traditional marriage, a marriage in which a traditional young woman changes her mind and wants her husband to do more at home, an egalitarian marriage in which the couple t ries to share child raising fifty-fifty but fails, and an egalitarian marriage in which the father is the primary parent.
* Ways that women--completely unwittingly--lock themselves into child raising and lock their husbands out.
* Debunking myths that suggest that men are not tender and competent as primary parents.
* Why many so-called family-friendly policies of governments and companies don't encourage men to do more housework and child raising and so don't help women.
* The real changes necessary for millions of men to become primary parents. This chapter considers hard questions, such as whether fathers who have left their families might be attracted back into them. "

It will be seen that it's not a "lack of power in the workplace," but a lack of negotiating power in the family, that has so many women valuing their careers less than their husbands' careers. If a man values what he got by being raised by a traditional mother, and he wants the same benefit for his future children, then he will seek to marry a woman whose goal is to provide those benefits to her children. If a man rejects the model of a traditional marriage and values an egalitarian marriage, he will seek to marry a woman who agrees with him. As long as we don't live in Abu Ibrahim's society of arranged marriages, both men and women are free to choose partners who share their values. And if this freedom leads to an unequal distribution of household and child-raising duties in the society at large, what are we supposed to do about it? Abrogate the freedom to choose? Have government police enforce equal housework and child care in every home?

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | October 16, 2007 8:57 AM

Dr Aziz,
What you are experiencing will be over all too soon. However, there are some things you can do now to help your situation. You can either talk about how things are tough (and they are!) or you can take steps to make life less hectic and easier.

First, I am concerned there was no mention of what your husband is doing to be a parent, other than "does a lot". You note how life is hectic, well, father can do 50% of all activities at this point. Yes, you want to spend time with your toddler, but I bet so does he. As parents together, let each other spend that time. When our kids were little, my husband and I were both tenure-track. We decided we were a team together to handle child related activies. There was no primary, with implied secondary being less important. We were both primary hands-on. Now they are teen and up, life was measurably less hectic. And tenure was achieved even.

Second, you live in Durham! Why do you work 45 minutes from home? I'm in Chapel Hill. Change jobs or change homes. Reduce that commute. With all the good choices to live around here, there is little reason to put up with a commute to work in a hospital. Shoot, I can even commute to RTP in less then 20 minutes. Don't waste time commuting when you could be living.

Posted by: dotted_1 | October 16, 2007 9:09 AM

"It sounds like her work might be suffering, but it's only for those first few years.

Does she tell that to her patients? Does she charge them less for the first few years?"

Are you charging your employer less for the hours you're on the blog? Is your company passing the savings on to the client or customer? Doubtful. When you're sick or sleep depreived and have to go to work anyway, do you tell your employer that your work won't be stellar? I don't think so.

Her work is only suffering because she's stagnant. Her patients aren't suffering for that. She still went to med school, so she still knows enough to doctor. She's not an ER doctor or a surgeon. She's seeing patients in waiting rooms about rashes and blood tests. All of those patients can wait for diagnosises.

And actually, she is getting paid less.

Posted by: Meesh | October 16, 2007 9:09 AM

"Your kid suffers since you're working, and your work suffers since you're parenting."

Who said her kid was suffering?

What a judgemental assumption. Let me guess, you're a self-righteous SAHM, right?

Posted by: Meesh | October 16, 2007 9:13 AM

Interesting comments. Kudos to all who have figured it all out. I am inspired.

I did not elaborate on how much my husband does because my point is that you can have two very involved parents, a great child care situation and a great job and it is still a juggling act.

Doctor Mom

Posted by: azizriffer | October 16, 2007 9:34 AM

Medicine is a particulary difficult field for parents who are trying to balance career and children, mainly because of the issue with malpractice insurance.

Malpractice insurance expenses remain constant whether you're working 50 hours or 10, so there's only so many hours you can drop from your work schedule and still be able to afford the insurance.

Bravo to women like Dr. Aziz who are finding a way to do it, and their husbands who have to pick up a lot of that extra slack.

Posted by: jmario | October 16, 2007 9:35 AM

Dr. Aziz, it sounds like you're doing quite well, actually. Maybe you feel like I do -- like life is passing you by so often and the days blend into one another from Monday through Friday, and I'm not unhappy but I'm not thrilled, but I'm pretty content most of the time even though life is more chaotic than I want to handle.

Meesh, come on, don't lower yourself to the previous poster's level.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | October 16, 2007 9:36 AM

I think it's perfectly okay to let a career take a back seat for a while -- there's more to being a good MD than staying current with every medical journal.
People with illness, a sick spouse, aging parents or other family crises have to coast professionally from time to time. It sounds like Dr. Aziz has done as much as she can to provide balance -- she just needs to be careful she doesn't leave her own needs out of the equation.

Posted by: anne.saunders | October 16, 2007 9:37 AM

"It sounds pretty much like the life of all working mothers."

not so much. it sounds like the life of working mothers who make commitments at work that they can't keep and who refer to their spouses as "doing alot". Does her husband work part-time? Has his career commitment changed? Unless she says otherwise, and she has already declined an opportunity to do so, the inference is, "no" and "no".

Posted by: anonfornow | October 16, 2007 9:50 AM

I am appalled by the comments of others on this blog. This Doctor is opening up, and stating how she feels -- and you all are attacking her? The people with all the negative comments should be ashamed of themselves, and should consider posting mature comments instead of acting like children

BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! These newbie posts never fail to amuse me. Calling these posts attacks. I think i need a tissue to wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes. Be back.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 16, 2007 9:52 AM

"They don't make any more money for doing this, so I feel beholden to them even though I've taken a cut in pay and benefits to work fewer hours."

Wait, they do make more money because you are part time, right? Don't feel bad about working your schedule that you ask for and that you took a cut in pay and benefits for. Unless, you leave someone having a heart attack in the aisle, why is this stressing you out? Do you think that the other doctors open up their checks and say, "gee, I wish Dr. Aziz was making this money too" I highly doubt it.

It all goes back to owning you decision and living with it. I have part time workers and when it is time for them to go, they go. I don't care, if I have to do something for them, that's fine because I am a full time worker and I am getting paid more than they are.

Posted by: Irishgirl | October 16, 2007 9:58 AM

Hi, Irishgirl! How are you doing today? Any news?

Posted by: mehitabel | October 16, 2007 10:06 AM

"I am appalled by the comments of others on this blog."

Me, too! Great stuff! Keep it coming!

"The people with all the negative comments should be ashamed of themselves"

Yes. Mommie Dearest, I am very, very ashamed. (Hide the wire hangers...)

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 16, 2007 10:12 AM

mehitabel

I am just waiting on the baby. I am having contractions and am at a 2. Pretty tired of waiting, but he is not due yet, so I may have a few weeks. Thanks for asking.

Posted by: Irishgirl | October 16, 2007 10:17 AM

Who says she's not keeping her commitments? She committed to 32 hours a week, and that's what she works. If they have a problem with it at work, they aren't keeping up with their end of the bargain.

And working and raising kids is a juggling act. She's doing what we all do: play/cook, shower/plan, etc. She's also worked something out with her husband, who does 'a lot.' Maybe they don't have the luxury of him working PT or flexible hours. I know we don't. My husband also does 'a lot,' and we still wish there were more hours in the day.

Posted by: atb2 | October 16, 2007 10:18 AM

anne.saunders -- today's sanity award.

ten years i wish someone had told me (or i had been able to listen) that my career would not suffer if it took a back seat for a few years.

life is long. your career won't die if you put it on the back burner for a little while. and are smart about doing a bit of networking and keeping your credentials up to date (certifications, etc).

Posted by: leslie4 | October 16, 2007 10:29 AM

So Dr Aziz has a job, parents who take care of her child, and a husband that at least, shows up every now and then. Nice support system!

Though she doesn't have the easy life as Meesh and Moxiemom enjoy, I would say her life is far from extraordinarily busy. I think all new parents dramatize the chaos their child has brought into their lives, and Dr Aziz reflected the possible impact it may have on her career. Sounds like she has the balancing act exactly where she wants it. Good for her!

Posted by: DandyLion | October 16, 2007 10:30 AM

Those first few years of childraising are enormously difficult -- the sleep deprivation and physical exhaustion can try anyone, and I can imagine that people with very demanding careers feel it even more acutely than people who have slowed down to accomodate child rearing. It seems to me that in some work cultures, such as medicine, for example, the mommy track has just not caught on yet. But in my view, if a doctor wants to cut back on hours to accomodate family needs, and her/his employer agrees to that, then the duties and responsibilities expected from that person should also be proportionately decreased. There is no sense cutting back the hours if the employer is still going to expect you to do in 32 hours what another doctor does in 40. That just does not make sense. So if other doctors have to pitch in because the employer's expections are unreasonable, then their issue is not with the doctor who cut back her hours, but with their employer. I think that any job can manage to accomodate employees who need to fit families into their lives. It is just a matter of changing the culture, little by little. And the more women, actually parents, who are willing to tackle this issue, the more these inflexible, male driven cultures will change to accomodate the changing reality that women are now professionals as well as parents, and that their husbands are also now parents as well as professionals.

Posted by: Emily | October 16, 2007 10:39 AM

Meesh, CrazyCatLady and others have already made the point about the father's part in this juggle. Thanks, all! The biggest share of the juggle will remain a woman's problem until we can let go and build 50/50 sharing with our spouses. I don't know if today's writer does this already (and she purposely isn't commenting on that - too bad), but it is a huge piece of the solution.

As for part-time MD positions - they are a dime a dozen where I work. Not to say that working part-time as a physician is easy (it's not), but the majority of our internists have part-time hours in my company (large group practice) - anywhere from slightly reduced hours to very small practices. It is encouraging to me to look around and see physicians (at least internists) able to balance their lives and keep up their professions.

Re Rhona Mahony's book (Thanks MattinAberdeen for recommending), I really like it except for the fact that her ultimate solution is not equal sharing - it is for an equal percentage of men and women to be stay-at-home parents. Hmmm... That solves the gender battle on a global level, but doesn't really solve the balance puzzle for any one individual person or couple. Another book recommendation is Julie Shields' 'How to Avoid the Mommy Trap' - her solution is equally shared parenting.

Posted by: violinline | October 16, 2007 10:51 AM

I am also an MD mom, with a 16 month old and 3 year old. I also have cut back my hours to part-time work, to try to juggle the often daunting task of parenthood while also not giving up my career. I love what I do and feel glad for an opportunity to help others in this world (plus spent 9 years in training to be a doctor post-college and untold thousands in student loans and lost income getting to be an MD) and hate the pressure and insinuation (often from other moms) that work and careers should be abandoned to raise children. I feel that we all juggle responsibilities and demands in this life, all make choices that affect ourselves, our families, those around us. It is rarely easy. I fully understand Dr. Aziz's struggles and comments, though I believe all parents can relate to this as well. Working directly with children in my practice, I fully believe one can be a good, caring, responsive, involved, loving, available, interactive parent, even when one works. I also know the difficulty of keeping up with the medical literature and the latest newest studies even without children. There are thousands of publications and articles and studies each month. Don't fault Dr. Aziz for being consciencious about wanting to continue to learn, continue to expand her knowledge and feeling at times overwhelmed or behind with the enormity of this. That is a GOOD quality in a doctor. I doubt that in any career others are fully aware at all times of what is going on and new in every corner of the planet in their field of work. In addition, I think being a mom brings a quality to being a doctor that is invaluable-empathizing on a different level with others, understanding the stresses and at times conflicting demands of life, appreciating what other parents and families are going through. I am proud of Dr. Aziz and her attempts to balance and work through this!

Posted by: ltuttle | October 16, 2007 10:51 AM

Meesh wrote: She's seeing patients in waiting rooms about rashes and blood tests. All of those patients can wait for diagnosises.

If I were Dr Aziz I would be highly insulted.

Posted by: jackdmom | October 16, 2007 11:21 AM

Since I spent the morning taking my son to the doctor (he has an upper respiratory infection), I want to say that I appreciate the efforts of Dr. Aziz and those like her who provide medical care to those of us who get sick. :-)

In general, it sounds like Dr. Aziz has things pretty well in control, or at least as much as any parent can. She's got a good situation (well-paying, part-time job, supportive husband and good day-care arrangements). As she herself notes, it's (mostly) going great.

Just understand: my life is not perfect; my life has never been perfect; my life is never going to be perfect. But you know, it's pretty darned good.

I like this guest blog. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 16, 2007 11:28 AM

Meesh wrote: She's seeing patients in waiting rooms about rashes and blood tests. All of those patients can wait for diagnosises.

If I were Dr Aziz I would be highly insulted.

Posted by: jackdmom | October 16, 2007 11:21 AM

If had one of those rashes or was waiting for the results of my blood test I'd be pretty bummed to spend another night itching or wondering if I have cancer. Poison ivy isn't a big deal until its on YOUR neck then it becomes a very big deal. People who treat these "small" things can make a very big difference in the lives of those they treat.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 16, 2007 11:41 AM

"If I were Dr Aziz I would be highly insulted.'

Huh. Well I wouldn't be. I have friends who went to medical school and chose to do general practice because they didn't have to deal with emergencies. Some people want to be in the ER, some don't. I certainly don't think my primary care physician is any less qualified than the ER doc or surgeon. They're all dealing with the human body.

Posted by: Meesh | October 16, 2007 11:58 AM

Well Meesh, you don't get insulted very easily, that's for sure. Moxiemom is a pretty tough cookie too, I've been ppoking her for months and she just won't flinch. Oh well. I'll just have to try harder. :-)

Posted by: DandyLion | October 16, 2007 12:19 PM

Dandy Lion - you were close today, I felt a little defensive flinch, but then I just sat down on the sofa with a box of candy and a book and it passed! I will tell you this, I'm almost unoffendable!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 16, 2007 12:29 PM

"Meesh wrote: She's seeing patients in waiting rooms about rashes"

MEESH, if I had some weird rash driving me crazy and took off work, I wouldn't give a damn about her work life balance- MAKE THIS DAMN RASH GO AWAY!!

Posted by: pATRICK | October 16, 2007 12:43 PM

"I felt a little defensive flinch, but then I just sat down on the sofa with a box of candy and a book and it passed!"

And another round to MM. :-)

Posted by: laura33 | October 16, 2007 12:58 PM

If I were Dr Aziz I would be highly insulted.

Posted by: jackdmom | October 16, 2007 11:21 AM

You wouldn't have achieved what Dr. Aziz has with that giant-sized chip on the old shoulder. Her self-confidence far exceeds your own.

Posted by: anonfornow | October 16, 2007 1:08 PM

"I felt a little defensive flinch, but then I just sat down on the sofa with a box of candy and a book and it passed!"

OK Moxiemom, as long as you don't get motivated enough to get that can of weed killer, I feel safe. :-)

I motion we declare today's topic beat. Any seconds?

Posted by: DandyLion | October 16, 2007 1:15 PM

as long as you don't get motivated enough to get that can of weed killer, I feel safe. :-)


Actually - we overseeded and I am watering like crazy, we hope to crowd you out.

On off topic items: things I don't understand:

#1) Men who cannot sit upright in the driver's seat of a car - what's up with that? Are they on constant flatulence readiness setting?
#2) The PT Cruiser.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 16, 2007 1:19 PM

"our caring nature makes us better physicians, in my view, than men" -- what a sexist point of view

"it will be interesting to see if we can change the profession for the better" -- rather self-absorbed if you ask me

"why is it nearly always the woman who must make these career sacrifices?" -- why is it that only women get to have a choice?


Posted by: RBCrook | October 16, 2007 1:22 PM

"On off topic items: things I don't understand"

here's mine-
1. women's products that always show women running in a field-what's up with that?

Posted by: pATRICK | October 16, 2007 1:23 PM

I think we all need to give ourselves a little more credit for what we accomplish in our lives rather than the things we don't quite get to.

I have 2 daughters- ages 3 and 20 months. I have worked fulltime (except for maternity leave) the entire time. The last 3 years have been incredible. They have taught me that I can do more than I thought possible and have been completely overwhelming at the same time. I have found in the past 3 years that there are times I focus more on my family and times I focus more on my career. I completely believe that it is ok to take it one day at a time. I think the most important thing is to believe in yourself and work to figure out life's challenges. No matter who you are or what you do life will throw curve balls at you all the time.

It's ok not to be perfect. Everyone should give themselves credit for how much they accomplish whether they have kids or not or work outside the home or not.

Good luck Dr. Aziz. I personally think you are doing just fine!

Posted by: karen_janos | October 16, 2007 1:25 PM

Patrick, I think its because they assume we all like wildflowers. In my experience, I have found fields like the one you mentioned to be both buggy and scratchy things most gals DON'T enjoy.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 16, 2007 1:26 PM

Why is it:
1. When a man farts, it's gross and disgusting.
2. When a woman farts, it's always funny?

Posted by: DandyLion | October 16, 2007 1:31 PM

pATRICK

"1. women's products that always show women running in a field-what's up with that?"

Symbolic intense female orgasm...

Posted by: hillary1 | October 16, 2007 1:32 PM

2. When a woman farts, it's always funny?

Posted by: DandyLion | October 16, 2007 01:31 PM


Women fart?

Posted by: anonfornow | October 16, 2007 1:39 PM

Symbolic intense female orgasm...


Posted by: hillary | October 16, 2007 01:32 PM

hillary, only a dude would think that's what its like for us!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 16, 2007 1:45 PM

"Women fart?" Yes, they do. But I'll tell you one thing a man does several times a year and a woman has never done: leave their fly unzipped in public.

It must be a genetic/biological difference!

Posted by: DandyLion | October 16, 2007 1:59 PM

Symbolic intense female orgasm...


Posted by: hillary | October 16, 2007 01:32 PM

hillary, only a dude would think that's what its like for us!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 16, 2007 01:45 PM

OK let's get back to flan v. chocolate. Some of us have to pretend to work here!

Posted by: anne.saunders | October 16, 2007 2:01 PM

My OB/GYN gave birth to her first child six weeks before she delivered my baby. It was kinda fun going through pregnancy with my doctor. She had her own practice, and after she gave birth, she brought in two other doctors. Her business grew, and she had a second child two years later. She seemed to have the balance thing down...

Posted by: pepperjade | October 16, 2007 2:13 PM

"Re Rhona Mahony's book (Thanks MattinAberdeen for recommending), I really like it except for the fact that her ultimate solution is not equal sharing - it is for an equal percentage of men and women to be stay-at-home parents. Hmmm... That solves the gender battle on a global level, but doesn't really solve the balance puzzle for any one individual person or couple."

Posted by: violinline | October 16, 2007 10:51 AM

I share this assessment of "Kidding Ourselves." There is good, practical advice for couples seeking an egalitarian relationship, interspersed with disdain for any other kind of relationship that a couple may choose for itself. See (her reasoning goes), unless half of all airline pilots are female, the airline bosses will not take female airline pilots seriously. And of course, if a much larger percentage of mothers than fathers are stay-at-home parents, there won't be enough non-SAHM women to attain the goal of 50% female airline pilots. Hence the idea that an equal percentage of men and women should be stay-at-home parents.

Now, Americans are famous as an independent-minded people, as opposed to, say, a priest-ridden theocracy. Hardly any of us engage in the practice of sacrificing to a god or goddess (except for followers of Santería, where the santero [priest] sacrifices a chicken to Saint Oshun much as the priest Chryses in Book I of the Iliad says he used to sacrifice the fat of oxen to Apollo). So, any wife, asked by a dreamer like Rhona Mahony (or Linda Hirshman, for that matter) to sacrifice her desire to stay home with her children on the altar of the Goddess of Equality, is gonna laugh in the dreamer's face and go on living her life as she sees fit.

If couples really want an egalitarian relationship, Rhona Mahony's book will help them. But it won't "solve the gender problem on a global level," at least not in a free society. So let's not hold our breath waiting for 50% of airline pilots to be women. There are just too many women who, given the choice to stay home and raise their children, will make that choice. Simone de Beauvoir admitted as much to Betty Friedan in a 1975 Saturday Review interview.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | October 16, 2007 2:19 PM

Matt, are you claiming that nothing has changed since 1975?

Posted by: mehitabel | October 16, 2007 2:40 PM

I have a feeling being a part-time Dr. is like being a part-time lawyer -- that's 40 hours a week instead of 60.

My PCP works part-time. I have no idea what her weekly hours are, but she's only "in" on Monday/Tuesday and part of Wednesday.

I love her because she seems to actually know what it's like to be a working Mom.

Too often you take you see a guy Dr. and you don't come away feeling like they have any notion that you are using up your leave making the appointment, or that doing this or that 6 times a day might be a problem because you have other obligations -work- that don't make it easy.

For most of us work is not an optional activity. I really appreciate it when I see a Dr. who acknowledges that.

So I don't mind if I have to wait a week to see my PCP, or if I see someone else in a pinch because I feel like she's someone who has a little bit in common with me.

And anyway, more and more it looks like your Dr. isn't doing you any favors by prescribing you the newest drug or treatment since half of them are shown to be worthless or harmful once they get out of the pharmacy department. So just keep on with the tried and true for me!

Posted by: RedBird27 | October 16, 2007 2:42 PM

"Matt, are you claiming that nothing has changed since 1975?"

Posted by: mehitabel | October 16, 2007 02:40 PM

No. Are you claiming that the same proportion of men in 2007 want to be stay-at-home fathers as the proportion of women in 2007 who want to be stay-at-home mothers?

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | October 16, 2007 2:44 PM

You know, just when I'm feeling like I really have this work/life balance going good, something comes along to remind me just how tenuous and fragile it really is.

DH has the flu-thing I had a couple of weeks back. Poor guy. I went flying out of here early yesterday to pick up older son from school, get him through homework, get younger son from his after-school program to his guitar lesson, and then get dinner together.

Then it all went to pieces on me; I don't know how DH does it every day. First, while I'm on the bus going home, DH got a call from the guitar teacher, and he has to cancel the lesson because he has the stomach flu. Then when I'm getting into the car to go pick up older son, I get a call from a coworker; he can't figure out versions, and since I'm in a car without access to our version control system, I can't help him. Then I completely forgot to check older son's homework, so if he had any, it wasn't done, but at least DH had him practice piano. Then younger sons's after-school program had another staffing change, so there's the usual hassle of not having my name on the pick-up roster (they actually require someone sign that they've picked up their kid) and not having the same last name as DH and 'da boyz' - and this new guy keeps calling my kid by the wrong, too - who is that?!? Then younger son's a little jerk about missing his lesson ("Mom, you're late!"), and refuses to practice his guitar in lieu of the lesson.

At least dinner was easy. Heat up frozen pasta, green salad and garlic bread - although younger son had some less-than-kind comments about *me* doing the cooking instead of his Dad.

Posted by: sue | October 16, 2007 2:46 PM

I am pretty impressed Dr. Aziz feels like she has accomplished any degree of balance, given that the first year after having a baby seems to be the hardest as you adjust to new routines and schedules.

Re: the earlier comments that she's not keeping up with the profession: there's a big difference between not going to conferences and losing touch with modern medicine. I'm not a doctor, but in the legal field, conferences and committees are more boondoggle than learning opportunity. Great way to network, make connections, market, build your name as an expert in the field, sure; not so much on the "staying current in the law" side of things. I read Dr. Aziz's blog as worrying about not building her own practice and name as much as she might like -- not to be fretting about falling behind the state of the art.

I have a similar balancing act going on (partner in law firm, 80% schedule, much shorter commute, but counterbalanced by 2 kids). And let me tell you, all that "professional" reading and training and all is the first to go -- because it's abso-freakin-lutely useless, and I Just Don't Have Time (not to mention patience) for that sort of crap nowadays.

My pet peeve is CLE (continuing legal education). It's a freaking racket -- spend $900 and two days in class, just to get your required "credits" to continue practicing law. Great in theory; useless in practice, as I inevitably know more than the presenter. I practice in a very specialized area, so if I don't stay current, I lose clients -- but that apparently doesn't "count," because it doesn't adequately support the CLE industry, which wants my $900. And just try getting CLE credits for something that's actually substantive, like writing an article on a cutting-edge legal principle -- you will spend more time trying to get your credits approved than it would take to just go to the stupid "approved" event in the first place. So instead of doing actual research and learning, we fork over the $900 and two days of inestimable boredom. (Which is why I am SO glad I don't need CLE any more!).

Posted by: laura33 | October 16, 2007 2:46 PM

Laura,

You can get practice-specific CLE for $900? The tuition alone, for mine, runs $1300 - $1700, without airfare and hotels. I agree: what a racket! It doesn't protect clients or consumers one friggin' bit. Why don't you need CLE any more? Are you leaving legal practice?

Posted by: mn.188 | October 16, 2007 3:31 PM

MN -- my $900 figure was from many moons ago when I last needed CLE. Then I moved back to MD and went inactive in the Bars that required CLE. :-) (I understand MD "strongly encourages" CLE, and in fact requires it for those who graduated after a particular date, but for once it's nice to be an old fogey).

Posted by: laura33 | October 16, 2007 3:46 PM

Laura, I prefer the term, "seasoned attorney", LOL. Better to be a little salty then line the pockets of PLI and its brethren.

Posted by: mn.188 | October 16, 2007 3:57 PM

MattInAberdeen: thanks for telling me about "Kidding Ourselves." I haven't read it, but I will now. You make a really good point about individual choice:

As long as we don't live in Abu Ibrahim's society of arranged marriages, both men and women are free to choose partners who share their values. And if this freedom leads to an unequal distribution of household and child-raising duties in the society at large, what are we supposed to do about it? Abrogate the freedom to choose? Have government police enforce equal housework and child care in every home?

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | October 16, 2007 08:57 AM

I agree. Each person/couple has to decide for themselves what they value and what "balance" means to them. The gov't's only legitimate job is to make sure individuals have as much freedom of choice as is compatible with a like freedom for others (for example, women must have an equal legal right to get an education and work outside the home). But it cannot be merely coincidental that the vast majority of couples choose for the woman to reduce or eliminate her work outside the home. One reason for that has got to be cultural pressure and background assumptions we all make about gender roles. Much of the time we don't even notice that we make these assumptions. So one thing we should do is point out these background assumptions as much as possible. That increases everyone's ability to make a free choice, because then we aren't choosing on the basis of habit or unquestioned beliefs. Thus, I try to point these assumptions out whenever I can, and I hope others will point mine out.

Posted by: crazycatlady | October 16, 2007 5:12 PM

I'm commenting from an academic perspective - I think it is so important for stories like these to be presented. I conduct research primarily using time use data, and this story is born out over and over again in the numbers. It is very clear that what has happened as women have entered higher profile careers is not that they are opting out of childcare, but that they are maintaining the same level of 'physical' childcare while men perform more of the educational and socializing aspects of childcare. While I do not yet have children of my own, I see Dr. A as being a role model for my generation, limiting her work hours to prioritize her children, and doing so in a somewhat sustainable manner.

Posted by: canary28 | October 18, 2007 6:22 PM

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