After 6 mos. of being a full-time dad I don’t think anyone could possibly imagine how difficult it is to be a full-time parent of a toddler unless they've done it themselves (for longer than a week or two). That being said, my wife recently attended a seminar in which they discussed the importance of understanding different perceptions of stress especially at home. Although surgeons may have to work under an incalculable amount of stress (and often with little sleep) in knowing that children’s lives hang in the balance and that there is no margin for error; everyone’s individual stress limit is relative to their own experience and personal threshold but no less in perceived magnitude.
I previously thought that very few people worked as hard as I did in the restaurant business. My dedication and sacrifice served as a source of pride for many years. Being somewhat of a professional masochist enabled me to develop a sense of self based on emotional co-dependence and giving up that which was most important to me: family, friends and the possibility of a long-lasting relationship. (The same things my wife sacrificed but with the greater mental and physical challenges… not to mention the longer hours and greater commitment that medical school and residency demands.)
“No one ever knows how difficult anyone else’s job ever is until they have to do it”. I’ve heard the adage at least a few hundred times before but it is the most humbling thing I've learned in trading my ego for closeness with my daughter...a joy few fathers ever have the opportunity to experience. I’m grateful for this blessing and the resulting humility.