Both Sarah and I have long appreciated the smart comments on our blogs from reader “Gillian.” This practicing physician and mom of four has great insights on issues of work and raising a bigger family. So we decided to see if she’d come on Best of Both Worlds to talk about her strategies.
She said yes! This week’s episode features her insights. Dr. Gillian Goddard practices endocrinology in New York City and lives in the suburbs. She addressed the question of timing children during medical training. With four kids, her answer turned out to be “all of the above.” She went to medical school at a slightly older age. She deliberately chose a school that was open to non-traditional students. Since her husband is a bit older and was established in his career it worked for them to have a kid during medical school (and then during residency, fellowship, private practice).
Goddard and her husband split things fairly evenly, which she says happened because of something that might have seemed unfortunate at the time. Her residency coincided with the Great Recession about 10 years ago, and her husband was underemployed for chunks of this. Because she was working so many hours, he wound up taking over a lot on the home front. So he became comfortable with that, which still influences how they do things now, as her life has calmed down and his has ramped back up.
The family employs one sitter-housekeeper, and hosts an au pair. This “stacking” of childcare/home support gives them the hours they need to both work, exercise, stay involved in their community, and spend time with their four children individually. Goddard notes that having only enough childcare to cover working hours is a rookie mistake that she made at one point, but has since learned to avoid. If it’s financially feasible, having a bit more can actually buy you the ability to spend more quality time with your kids. This is an idea that I really hope sinks in more broadly.
Goddard sings the praises of the Cozi app, where the family keeps track of all their events. The upside of the app is that au pairs can be added and removed relatively easily as they come and go every 1-2 years. Having the family schedule all in one place means coverage need not be a huge ordeal.
I really enjoyed this interview, so please give it a listen! And also let us know what you think about the listener question. This listener writes in that life is really feeling like a grind. She has no time to exercise or do anything…but she works 40 hours with a 1-hour commute, meaning she’s gone 50 hours. With 168 hours in a week, someone sleeping 8 hours a night (56 per week) would have 62 for other things. So why does this schedule feel so difficult? We talk about the importance of having more support on the home front, and that this might be a wise place for this family — who was presented as having two well-paying jobs — to invest resources.
As always, we appreciate a review/rating on Apple podcasts! And please tell a friend about Best of Both Worlds. We’re definitely looking to grow our audience.