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Lives of Doctor Wives: To Those of You Who May Become a Doctor's Wife

Sunday, April 12, 2009

To Those of You Who May Become a Doctor's Wife

Sometimes I feel a little like this:

A good woman to be spouse of physician in training. Applicant should expect to take care of the following duties:
  • All housekeeping
  • All home maintenance
  • All car maintenanace
  • All Home expenses
  • Children (to include the following: feeding, bathing, playing with, entertaining, teaching, doctor's visits, playdates, sick children duties as well)
  • Grocery Shopping (this includes managing to stay under budget for the doctor who has certain tastes and expectations that will often put you over budget for each week. Plan ahead for this)
  • Planning all vacations, trips home
  • Planning birthday parties and house parties/social events
  • Attending social events alone or with only your kids
  • Sleeping alone in bed sometimes weeks at a time
  • Talking only to kids for days at a time when kids are ill
I happily accept all these duties including the big ones:
  • Giving up ALL control to the scheduling of your time...it must always defer to the physician husband. Whether it means that you must take extra days off from work to take care of your sick child when your husband still has 20 days he could take and you are completely out and/or not work at all...whether it means you cannot send out your son's birthday invitations without either giving your guests days notice or having your husband not be able to be there because he is on call...Whether it is because it is April 5th and you still don't know your husband's April schedule...
The list goes on and on...some things are more frustrating than others--but all mostly understandable and adaptable by us. We get used to it and it grows on us. Our kids tell us things like: "Mommy, I cannot play right now...I just got called out with my pager. I have to go to work. We can play in a little while." They too get used to the life. We learn to enjoy our husbands all that much more when they are available...and love them from a distance when their minds are consumed by their jobs. We learn that if we don't get a call back from our husbands because they are in surgery...that they will call eventually. We also learn to rely on ourselves all the more. We befriend other physician's wives for comfort and understanding...and we welcome any woman willing to commit to this type of life with open arms.

The life of a doctor's wife is one of ultimate self-sacrifice for the family that they provide for. We may not provide financially, but we do provide our families with everything else they could possibly need...warmth, care, and love. We are the dependable glue that holds everything together. (you can call me Crazy Glue, if you want to)

So, when I feel like I am drained and just another person who answered that job ad...I think and breathe and realize that I did sign up for it...and I love my life.

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Blogger Sarah C said...

That was a great post. I totally agree with you.

April 13, 2009 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger Melisa said...

Sing it, sista! Awesome job. Crazy Glue. haha! love it!

It is amazing to me how resilient my kids are with the situation. They had a really hard time letting Brad go yesterday, but they didn't cry, they just jumped right back into their lives. I'm not quite as resilient, but at least I didn't cry either. :o) We just keep doing what we have to do and somehow make it through.

This can be a tough gig, but it sure has been worth it!

April 13, 2009 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Tasha said...

Amen! I had no idea these were the job duties/qualifications when we got married. I knew it would be hard, but hard is sometimes an understatement. I'm still learning how to find joy in the journey, but I think I'm getting better every day. Thanks for the post!

April 13, 2009 at 12:46 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

You said it perfectly! I'm so glad I found others who know what it's like!

April 13, 2009 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger Cindi said...

I'm crazy glue too!
But being a doctor's wife is all I know...I'm just waiting to get good at it, haha.

April 13, 2009 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger TheFamousStacie said...

Do you have hidden camera's in my house??? My husband was a college freshman when we married without a clue about what he wanted to do. I guess through the "better or worse"clause, I signed up for it : )

3 kids and 9+ years later we are finishing intern year! this road is such a long one!

April 13, 2009 at 11:29 PM  
Blogger Kelly Schorr said...

I know I'm just beginning on this long hard journey but honestly not much in this post sounds any different than my life right now! My husband works full-time while I stay home and take care of our four kids! Obviously we are able to schedule a little better and he's not "on call" but it's not unusual for him to be gone first thing in the morning and then not get home until 7:00-8:30 and then be too tired to do much else! I think that having already been a stay-at-home mom gives me a little bit of a "heads up" if you know what I mean!

April 14, 2009 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

Sounds like the jobs I signed up for when we got married sophomore year of college. I always wanted to stay home with the family, so none of those jobs seemed out of place on my resume! hehe

April 14, 2009 at 5:24 PM  
OpenID joz1234 said...

Wow, Alexandra! You came in with your eyes WIDE open, then! I think the part of that list that I would not think would be on "stay-at-home Mom's list of things to do" would be the time away from husband part of it all. Personnally, I also don't see it as a stay-at-home mom's job to do all the outside/maintenance stuff...but maybe that is my own problem and how I was raised.

April 14, 2009 at 10:43 PM  
Blogger EthidiumBromide said...

I have to ask -- do any of you work???

By marrying a doctor, do you automatically have to sacrifice YOUR career??

I already do all the housekeeping, cleaning, cooking, planning, etc. etc., but we have no children. And I spend 80-90 hours/week (I often work more than he does) working towards my Ph.D. in biochemistry. Is it all totally a waste? Is there no such thing as a WORKING doctor's wife? Plenty of his fellow residents/attendings claim to have spouses who are both mothers AND have jobs... is it just a myth?

April 17, 2009 at 6:35 PM  
OpenID joz1234 said...

I think it is completely possible to be a working doctor's wife. It really depends on your relationship. I don't know how much you would be bringing in, but one thing that we ran into when I was teaching is that I was always the one who had to take off work (even when I was out of days) because he couldn't when the boys were sick. It was worse on his career to constantly be out with our son's constant ear infections than it was for me to be out more than 20 days that year. The next year I stayed home and my son had a slight intolerance to lactose causing him to have diarreah...I would have run out of my 10 days by October had I been working.

I would say definitely talk with him and make a plan on things like this because when it comes to having kids everything is up in the air. You never know when they will be sick and if you have them in daycare, they will be sick more often.

I know 2 Anesthesiologists who have hired a full-time Nanny who takes care of their kids in their house. This type of situation might be a good idea to keep the kids healthier and allow you to have someone with them if they are sick. Personally I want to be with my kids when they are sick, but we are all different.

Please don't think it is a myth...BUT realize that there is a definite reason WHY so many of us stay at home. When your husband has worked 20+ years to do something with his career, our ambitions tend to take a back burner...at least until our kids are older.

The other thing we consider is that my salary might put us in an even higher tax bracket one day and might be completely negligible. Personally, I don't have a passion for teaching that much. I am okay with being at home...and might go back to school one day for a masters degree...but who knows?

April 18, 2009 at 12:35 PM  
Blogger Melisa said...

EthidiumBromide: It might depend on DrH's specialty too. Some specialties offer the flexibility to stay home easily, others, not so much. It probably also depends on how far into practice he is and if you guys want kids and how many.

I stay home with my kids because I want to and I enjoy it. Even after they all get into school, I don't plan on going back to work. I would like to go back to school or do volunteer work. But there are many women who feel a strong desire to stay in the work force and have their own income. I am certain they can work out a solution with their husbands.

April 18, 2009 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Fantastic description!

April 20, 2009 at 1:03 PM  
Blogger Wildlife said...

I didn't sign up for that job but now I realize I have it... when I got married... at a pretty young age... I really did think we were going to do all of it together. I really did think that he would help with the laundry, and empty the dishwasher. What I have discovered is that I'm the one who does it 99% of the time. When he does do it, it's because he wants to do something nice for me... not because it is his home and he wants to take care of it. My husband doesn't expect me to do everything. He knows that I work full time and go to school full time. He just has a different standard of living than I do. If he weren't married to me, he'd live like many of his bachelor classmates do. He'd live on Chipotle, and Panda Express. He'd find a quaint study area in a library or coffee shop, because his house would be to messy to stomach. He'd drive to his mom's house and beg her to help him with his laundry when he ran out of underwear. The truth is, that I if I just said, 'I'm too overwhelmed, I can't do all the things I'm doing' we could both live the 'bachelor' life. I just cannot do that... I need a pleasant clean home. I need to widen my diet to include more than fast food, and pseudo fast food. I need to have my hamper emptied when it gets full. I need to have my toilet cleaned once a week. I need to change my sheets more often than bi-annually. Sure... my husband apperciates all that I do. He likes living this way better than the bachelor life, just not enough to do it himself. That's the difference between the two of us. Everytime I start resenting the 'little' he does around the house, I have to remember that the 'little' he does is simply for my benefit in his eyes.

May 29, 2009 at 4:41 AM  

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