Nathan Wei, MD

Dr. Wei is a father of four and a rheumatologist who’s been in practice for 30 years with the Arthritis Treatment Center in Frederick, MD.

How many children do you have? I have four kids, ages 26, 23, 21, and 15.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about being a dad?  How out of touch men are. Here’s an example: When my wife was pregnant with our first child, I took her to theMutterMuseuminPhiladelphia. It’s filled with oddities, most of which are deformed fetuses. My wife was pretty upset with me!

I think that most men have no idea what’s going on in their wives’ bodies—or in their minds—during pregnancy. A guy might tell you he’s in touch with his feminine side, but he’s really not.

Fortunately, it gets better with second and third pregnancies. I was much more understanding and accommodating of my wife when she was expecting other second and third babies.

What’s the one bit of advice about fatherhood you wish someone had given you earlier? Kids’ childhoods pass by so quickly, and you’ve got to cherish these times. People told me that when my kids were small, and I remember thinking You’ve got to be kidding. I’m exhausted, and I’ve had it up to here. But they were right. Now that my kids are older, looking back on it, I can tell you those were the best days of my life.

Career, marriage, kids…How does a guy stay sane? When you go from having two kids to three, you go from playing man to man to playing a zone.

When you have three kids, things become exponentially harder. You have to do a lot more planning. It also becomes more difficult as children get older because they’re all involved in activities—and often different activities. Time is at a premium.

If you haven’t used a planner or day book, it’s time to start! I also sit down with my wife about once a week to go over the schedules. What’s key is you can’t just look one week out. We look at least a month out so that we’re not both scheduling things for the same days!

Something that has really helped me is to always make my health and my family the priorities. Your health is so important because you can’t be there for your family if you’re not here!

To keep my family the priority, if there’s ever a conflict between professional life and family life, it’s no contest, I will attend the family event. It’s as simple as that.

Dr. Wei’s Q&As

My wife is pregnant with our first baby, and I’m so worried that something will go wrong. If it does, how do you cope?

I’m so stressed with work and home, it’s hard to keep my cool. How do you do it?