Hi Dr. Laura,
I felt prompted to write to you after hearing a teenager asked your advice about choosing a career that would "balance" family life. I, like that girl, considered becoming a physician, but luckily my college had a pre-med orientation designed to "weed out" those students who were not serious about making the long-term commitment of medical school, residency and loans. Fortunately, I was one of those weeded out and changed my major to speech-language pathology. About a year later, I met an amazing and adorable man who was working in a research lab saving money and applying to medical school. He was accepted a year later. We married while he was in medical school and I was in grad school and we both worked extremely hard to make ends meet and support each other. During my long commute, I was lucky enough to find your show. It helped me learn how to be a good wife and future mother. We waited 5 years until we had our first child because we both knew that I needed to be home full time and my husband needed to be done with the insane rigors of residency.
We have now been married 15 years, have 3 amazing kids ages 10, 7 and 5. I am their mom full time and my husband is an ER physician and only works the overnight shift, 16 shifts per month and no beeper. This shift allows him to be home for dinner every night, every after school activity, homework time and bedtime. This shift and this specialty of medicine were conscious decisions we made for our family. This fall, our youngest will start kindergarten. I will be picking up some work a few hours a week, but my husband and I are looking forward to lots of daytime date time while the kids are at school in preparation for the happy chaos that returns at 3 o'clock and we tackle together.
I have often heard you say you would never marry a physician, but I am reminded every day that I married the right man who chose a profession where he can put his family first while still providing an amazing life for us. We know lots of other physicians who make similar decisions and others who don't. It really comes down to the right man, regardless of career, and I've got him. I feel so blessed that I was weeded out of the pre-med group because I know with all of the loans, being a full-time mom would not have been an option. High school and college girls are told that they can have it all and rarely think about how their careers will impact their families. I had many friends ask me "How could you waste all that education on being a stay-at-home mom?" My answer has always been: "I am working, but I only have 3 kids on my caseload." And they are they are the best talkers on the block!
Thank you for all that you do, keep doing it!
With sincere gratitude,