Monday, February 13, 2012

It's a Rough Road: The Children of Surgeons

Being a child of a well-regarded surgeon is tough. These kids don't have a normal average childhood.

Now, please don't start writing me emails about how our kids are spoiled, because we now find ourselves in the 1% (Depending on who you talk to. There are so many different numbers out there). Doc H and I will be the first to agree; we do have spoiled children. Hands down. Full out. No contest. We agree. We're working to remedy the situation. Our kids do have almost every hi-tech gadget they want. (I say almost, because there are certain items Doc H and I draw the line at and they have to save up their own money- we're not complete push-overs.) But, hear me out, because I'm not referring to the tangible items.

Our children will never have the same childhood memories as many, normal, regular, average children from average USA will.

Not us... but wish it was.
Our kids will never have memories of their surgeon parent (SP - because I know you mommy surgeons are out there representing for all the SAHMs who could've been!)

  • coaching or being team mom
  • chaperoning field trips
  • attending every school event
  • being in the stands, cheering for them, watching after school games or meets
  • becoming great friends with other classmate's parents
  • attending practices
  • volunteering in the classroom 
  • knowing all their friends' name's

You know the made a goal and while celebrating with your teammates on the field, you look over to the sideline to see your parents clapping with delight and pride.  Or, there's also the flip of the made a horrible play, or you came in last place, but in the end your mom and dad were there to hug you and share words of wisdom to help lift your spirits.

No, these memories are highly unlikely for the kids of a SP which I think is so sad. Some of my stand-out childhood memories stem from those situations. And guess what? My memories are balanced between both my parents. Most children of SP will have these memories, but the scales will be tipped in favor of the non-SP.

I realize in today's world with many children coming from households where both parents work, most children may not have such dual parent memories. However, they will have memories of each parent being involved and attending such activities.

Our kids will not have those memories. They may have a memory that when recalled with family and friends may begin like this: "I remember the one time my dad came to watch, I ....." or "My dad never saw me run track for my High School, but one time..."

From my own personal experiences and observations, even children whose parents are divorced fare better in this particular department. Those kids will either have one parent there for them or both (!) as they each compete to be the "better" parent.

And I haven't even begun to touch on the expectations...


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  1. Don't I know it. Our children are just starting school and we have already noticed the differences. We would love to get our son involved in some sports that his dad likes. But it's not the same if dad can't be there to participate, encourage and support. We have to find other ways to get things done. I really appreciate your perspective!

  2. I'm so glad your reading and enjoying it! I love getting comments. Keep them coming!

  3. I know this is an older post, but had to reply as it is SO TRUE! My oldest son is a sports standout, and it breaks my heart to see the affection he has for his coaches, and the concealed jealousy for their sons.

  4. I find it really hard to plan get togethers with other families. Ladies who are not married to surgeons are very lucky because they can call their hubbies to pick up kids if there's an accident or mommy just can't do it ie sick in bed...but daddy surgeons just can't walk away from the patient they've opened up on the table. My hubby often begins to cry when he's worked such long hours and the kids have already gone to bed. It breaks my heart that he just aches to be with the kiddies but medicine always comes first.

  5. I am also married to a surgeon who has been in practice for 4 years now. We have 6 kids--two from a previous marriage and 4 together--10 (twins), 3, and 2. It is impossible for other people to understand how demanding medicine as a career is on your family. I can never count on my husband having holidays off or kids' school breaks. He can't just leave work for an hour to come to a school function and even if the game is at 6pm he might not be able to get out of work that early. I have stopped complaining to my friends because i have actually heard, "well, that is why he gets paid so much." The implication is that we can't complain how hard it is on our family. It is so sad to see the 10 year old twins look out at the audience of a school event looking to see their dad and always having to be the parental representative. I sometimes wonder if the other parents think I am a single parent....but our school has more than a couple doctor's kids....I was just telling my husband i feel like a single parent. Every day, on the phone, I have to tell him where the kids are what is coming up because he usually has no idea if they have a summer camp or lessons.


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