Tips for Surviving PA School with Kids

Tiffany Mendoza

Hi, my name is Tiffany blogger, wife and PA-S mommy of two toddlers. When I started PA school, I had a 5-month-old and a 20-month-old . We moved 300 miles from Fresno, CA – the town where I met my husband and where we had our two babies – to Loma Linda, CA. I am currently in my second year of PA school. I want to share 5 practical tips that help my family and I make it through these difficult 2 years.

1. We prioritize quality time:

Quality time as a family is probably our top priority outside of school (for me) and work (for my husband). Making sure we spend face to face time with our kids is one of the most important things to us individually, and collectively. Practically, that means that the dishes go undone some days and the laundry piles up when I have a string of tests or long hours in the clinic. We end up eating out many nights per week and when we do cook, we try to let the kids help us so that they feel like they got some personal time with us that day.

2. We are flexible:

My children spend quite a bit of time at Grandma’s house while my husband works and I’m in class, clinic or studying. There are a lot of things that I said I do not want my kids to do, like watch TV or have an ipad, but being a student requires me to be on my computer quite a bit – and I realized – it’s not the end of the world if my kids watch a show while I study. We learned to let go of the concept of perfect parenting. For our sanity, we exchanged it to being “good enough parents” and I think we are better parents for it.

3. We let go of gender roles:

My husband comes from a traditional family. One of the big things Pancho and I had to do was let go of gender roles. His father worked and his mother was the prototypical stay at home mother – she cooked all their meals, she cleaned the house every day…she was home. But my husband and I share the dishes, meals, cleaning, shopping, laundry, and bathing. Honestly, in my didactic year, my husband did most of the household responsibilities.

4. We accept help:

When I was a brand spankin’ new mom, I was a little prideful and insecure in my new role to say the least. I declined when people offered to help me out because naturally that meant I could not do it on my own. Having a second child broke that down a little bit and starting PA school smashed that pride into a million pieces.

Let me say this loud and clear for the people in the back, if you are going to attend PA school with kids, you have got to accept help.

I purposely chose a school close to my family. My parents help me out with my kids so much. We spend most weekends at my parents house so I can study. My kids love it, it’s free, my parents love it, and I get to study. They also stay the night with my parents one night per week. On that day, I study at home and get my house in order (do laundry and a little more thorough cleaning).

5. We communicate:

Communication is something we are always working at. We try to talk each day about the kids, about us, about the house. One of my favorite parts of the day is when we recap the funny things the kids said and did. We talk about what they ate, about their poop, their naps, their likes and dislikes, and everything else. Usually this is only a few minutes long, but it means so much to me – and I think it really helps Pancho and I stay on the same page. We FaceTime each other and the kids a few times per week and send photos & videos of the kids.

I hope these tips were helpful!

There are so many different ways to be a PA and a mama, just like there are many ways to parent. You will find your own “way” likely through trial and error. It’s a big adjustment. But if you’re reading this and you’re a mama, I already know one thing about you, you are resilient! Just like motherhood, you find your own way and you make it work.

My name is Tiffany Mendoza. I graduated from California State University Fresno with a degree in Psychology. I worked as an ER scribe for 5 years and as an ER tech for 2 years. I am currently a second year in PA school at Loma Linda University. I am really passionate about motherhood and medicine. I think I have the best two jobs on the planet, being a mama and being a PA (at the end of 2019). 

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