(Note: long-winded, slightly ranty post about children and career. Don’t judge. I’m confused.)

Last night, I didn’t sleep very well.

I have been exchanging emails for the last few days with a (close) friend of mine about policies and why we voted the way we did. We started this exchange after our votes were cast, so our exchanges are largely intellectual (although I will admit that I am trying to make her see why *I* am *right*, and I get that sense from her, too) but it’s friendly.

I am writing this because I need to process all of this. In addition to writing 5-page policy opinions, this is how I process things.

So our emails meandered through topics like health care, foreign policy, (my personal favorite) the Supreme Court, and (her personal favorite) the economy, and why we think our person was better than the other person. We covered some ground. While she just finished an MBA and has lots of interesting curves and graphs stored in her head to which she can refer, I had to dig waaay back to the very dusty corners of my brain where I store useless – or possibly what I’ve considered irrelevant – factoids I learned in economics (seriously, Laffer curve? Do we still use that?!?) (On a side note, I find it fascinating how much I’ve retained from college on foreign policy, yet virtually nothing from econ. Double major, folks. Makes you wonder – how, exactly, does that brain work? And will I ever remember physics past yesterday?)

And then, in the second to last email we traded, I threw out what I thought was a light-hearted question, after she noted that she and her new husband might want to leave their current location and move to a place that is more family-friendly. So I asked, “so, kids? Where would you move?” – because, after all, I’ve lived in about 10 million places and I figured our conversation needed some levity. And she responded:

“As for a child, I always said I’d wait until we’d been married 2 years. [My husband] is really against daycare before the child can tell you how their day was (and I’ve heard that it’s actually more important to have parents around more after the age of 3) so that could mean many years with one income. I know you’re just going for it all at once and will probably be much happier for it, but I’m scared…How about you? What’s the baby plan? It sounds like you’re full-steam ahead on the career plan..”

It is hard for me to know if I am overreacting (very likely).

Because the truth is, no, we’re not “just going for it all at once” without being a tiny (gross minimization) bit scared.

I told DB – before he went to bed – that perhaps this is just a question of which one of us has been facing this reality longer – we’ve been married longer, and we’ve been discussing kids longer; she and her husband just married in August and she’s been in her investment banking job (where she is not making a government salary – nor should she – but let’s be honest, we are living in different universes) for about a year now.

It is hard for me to pinpoint all of the ways that this comment bothers me. So much so that I wrote about 3 pages in response about our plans for child care while I am in medical school, residency, and beyond. About how we have made the choice to focus on having a family, and if I need to take years off between 3rd and 4th year, and/or 4th year and residency, so be it, and I’ll do it. About how my background actually IS in child development (both from a clinical and policy perspective, thankyouverymuch), and I am not a fan of day care, either, and although we are not rolling in dough, we are going to try very hard to make things work by using sitters, strategically-timed rotations in medical school so that our parents can help us out (since they do not live nearby), coops, and, yes, a nanny. About how we are concerned about day care from an ATTACHMENT perspective for adopted children, and have brainstormed myriad ways to get around that.

That there are lots of ways to make it happen – to have kids, and a career, and no, it is never, ever, ever, EVER easy. But we’ll make it work.

Like lots of working people make it work.

I feel very judged.

I felt very sick all night.

Is it selfish for me to pursue this? I ask myself this every. single. day. Is the new career thing worth it, if children are so important to us? Should I wait until later to have a child? Perhaps, and it would appear that my friend believes this. But if I make the medicine thing happen first, we will both be close to/well over 40 by the time we start to have kids. Isn’t it better to make it happen now – slowly, ensuring that we cover our child care bases as much as possible along the way? I have every faith that medicine is changing – that by the time I will need to start a residency (which is the thing I most dread and fear about this plan), it will be so far off that my children will be in 1st grade and part-time residencies will not be as crazy as they are now. (And yes, I am aware that it will take me approximately 800 years to get out of this system at the pace that I am expecting to complete it.)

But I guess I am hurt by this comment – “I’m sure you’ll be much happier for it” – after discussing all of the ways that I will screw over my kid by seeking additional childcare resources to pursue some career goals.

I know this is not a new debate, or a new topic. I’m not even really trying to start a discussion, although I know lots of you are in the medical field and have strong opinions about it and I also know that many of you have strong opinions in the opposite way that my primary role in this world is to raise our children. And, actually, I don’t really disparage that – I cannot imagine a more noble endeavor than raising kids. I’ve said so many times before that if I needed to put my career plans on hold (permanently) for our child, I would do so in a heartbeat. (This will probably make me a shitty doctor.) (And yes, I am looking at nurse-practitioner and physician assistant programs, too.) (And YES! I AM ALL OVER THE MAP ON THIS! WHATEVER MADE YOU THINK THAT?!?)

(In my response to her, I believe I mentioned, in no particular order: nannies, coops, babysitters, and me taking about 15 years off in various places to care for our children. Oh, and moving to be near my parents. Oh, and moving overseas and that is why I want to do this.)

(Ie: I have no effing clue.)

But one thing I do hope: with the right priorities, flexibility, and faith, we can make almost anything happen…right?

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