The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D.: See It. Do It.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

See It. Do It.

I'm so excited to introduce to you today's "See It. Do It." mom! Her interview is a candid and insightful peek into the life of a med student with not one, not two, but THREE children! Can you say "Superwoman"?! Amazing. 

Name: Preethi Schmeidler

Medical School: University of Kansas School of Medicine

Graduation Year: 2014

Future (or Current) Specialty: Mostly undecided!

How many children do you have and their ages: Three – ages 5, 3, and 1

Did you do any post-undergraduate schooling or working before attending medical school?
After college I had a short but successful career as a banker (not the corrupt kind!).  Once I decided to pursue medicine (again), I took a few courses at a local university (I was pre-med in undergrad and I had already completed most of the prerequisite courses).

Did you have any of your children during medical school? If so, how did you “plan” for it?
Yes – my youngest son was born at the end of my first year – one week before my renal/endocrine final!  I took the test on time, and did not perform as well as usual.  But I managed to pass!

Early in my 2nd trimester, I sat down with one of the Deans, and we looked at the school calendar close to my due date and planned how we would handle various required activities that I would have to miss.  I had already decided that I would take as little time off as possible so that I could finish the school year on time.  When the baby came, I was allowed to make up most of the required activities for the final module on my own time, and managed to have days when I went to campus and made up 2 or 3 labs in the same afternoon.  I podcasted all of the lectures from home while the baby slept.

What kind of childcare do you employ? (i.e. live-in nanny, family help, daycare, babysitters)
My kids all go to a fantastic daycare center that is located very close to my school and my husband’s office.  Before my youngest was able to go to daycare, my husband worked from home whenever I needed to go to campus (about once per week).  After a few weeks, my mom came and lived with us for a couple more weeks, so I could focus a little bit more on school.

Currently, I try to keep all of my school-related activities within those times that my kids are in daycare and keep a consistent evening/weekend routine with the family.  I know this will change once I hit clinicals starting in June, so either my husband or extended family will be able to help pick up the slack.

What has been the biggest challenge to handling medical school (and/or practicing medicine) along with having children? How have you overcome it?
The hardest part is resisting the pressure to let medical school take over my entire life!  Many times it takes conscious effort to play with my kids without flipping through flash cards or watch a movie with my husband without having my laptop open, studying.  As hard as it is, I’ve found that if I do only school during my designated school hours and only family time in the evenings and much of the weekends, I’m more dedicated to and efficient at both.  My family is happier too, and they have an easier time respecting my study time.

Do you feel like your school/job is “flexible” to any family issues that may arise?
For now, yes.  Podcasting allows me a great deal of flexibility.  However, I’m not confident that the clinical years will be very flexible.  I am thankful that I have a dedicated and capable husband that can pick up my slack.  It’s also good to have some extended family nearby.

How do you find time to study in addition to class time?
I study much less than many of my peers.  I’m not at the top of my class, but I’ve become efficient enough with the time that I do spend studying that I’m happy with where my performance stands.  I think that’s important if you decide to take on the commitment of medical school on top of raising a family.  I go to class and study from 8 am until 3:30 or 4.  When the baby goes to bed for the night, I resume studying until I’m ready to go to bed.  My husband puts the older kids to bed when their bedtimes roll around.  On weekends, I only study during naptime and then again in the evening.

Sometimes, when exams are coming up, I get upset that I can’t spend an entire Saturday studying.  But then I remember how blessed I am to have my little built-in distractors, and I get over it pretty quickly.

What is one item/strategy that you have that helps to make life easier as a mother and medical student/physician? (i.e. organizational method, electronic device, calendar tool, etc.)
I write everything down, usually in my iPhone somewhere so that I always have access.  This includes shopping lists, to-do lists, upcoming events, etc.  There are some great free iPhone apps out there to help with this!

My husband and I use a shared Gmail calendar were we each add any work, school, and family commitments.  That way we are always (well, usually) on the same page as far as what’s going on for any given week.

What kinds of things do you do to “relax”?
I love to play games with my kids, although they are still young enough that they don’t have the attention span for anything complicated.  Go Fish, Operation, Candyland—bring it on!  I love seeing them master a new game!  I also enjoy cooking; I cook dinner almost every night and I really enjoy making something wonderful from a bunch of discrete ingredients.  Also high on my list is kicking back on the deck with my husband and a glass of wine after dinner while the kids play.

Do you feel that your experience as a mother has made you a better doctor or future doctor? If so, how?
Absolutely!  I’m more sensitive to the needs of others.  I’m a better multi-tasker.  I’m more efficient.  I’m more focused in stressful situations.  I’m more comfortable with other people’s kids and more empathetic to the struggles of other parents.  Gross bodily functions don’t gross me out anymore.  I’m more confident in my decisions.  Most importantly though, I won’t be worrying about when I’m going to find time to start a family—I’ve already been through that major adjustment!

What advice do you have to the women who want to pursue medicine with children?
  1. Live to serve God in everything that you do, and thank Him often!
  2. Be honest with yourself about your expectations.  You can’t do everything and be everywhere, so are you willing to cut corners with the less important stuff?
  3. Your family always comes first.  Period.  Medical school is temporary; your children will always be your children.   With that being said, it’s ok to set boundaries and expectations so that you are able to meet the demands of your coursework.
  4. If you are married, the health of your marriage must be a priority.  It’s easy to forget how difficult it is for a spouse who isn’t a medical student to be on the outside looking in.  

Are you a physician or medical student mom who would like to share her story? Send me an email at

Copyright 2013 The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D. | Blog Design by Shiny Magic