Not too long ago, someone left a comment under one of my posts asking me about any difficulties or adjustments that I have had to make now that I am balancing school and being a parent completely on my own. To be perfectly honest, there hasn’t been much of a difference between having someone here to help versus doing it solo. I previously had not lived with my significant other, so for me, it was more of an adjustment having to deal with having another person around. I have also raised my daughter on my own since she was around 1, and I find that as she gets older and becomes more self-sufficient, things tend to get a lot easier.
In terms of adjustments, my daughter now takes a bus to after-care every day when she gets out of school, and they are open on school holidays and half-days, so it has not affected my ability to attend classes. I had not taken child care costs into account when I first started school, so that has been a bit of a struggle, but so far we are making out pretty well. My daughter seems to be pretty happy with after-care, and we still have a normal nightly schedule that we follow at home, so that is the only adjustment I have had to make so far.
As for difficulties, I can no longer go to campus or the lab whenever I want, but I tend to study better at home anyway. Due to liability issues, children aren’t allowed on campus, so it does interfere with my ability to attend study groups, but technology is a huge help with this. Online chat groups, Skype, and Facebook have made it easier to study with my classmates and make sure that I am not missing important points. When I have to study at home on the weekends, my daughter has been pretty good about leaving me alone, and I still make sure to completely devote one day a week towards spending time with her. Today we went shopping and carved pumpkins :-) I’m also limited in the amount of social or volunteering events that I can attend, but that just means that I have more time to study. So to make a long story short, being a parent in medical school is definitely a different experience than most other students will face, but it is definitely doable. It’s a balancing act that takes time to perfect (I’m still working on it myself), and there will be times when the dreaded “mommy-guilt” pops ups, but I know what I am doing will benefit both of us in the long run so I keep on pushing.