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Lives of Doctor Wives: Doctor Wives

Friday, July 23, 2010

Doctor Wives

Will you please allow me a mental spew? I couldn't sleep last night and all of these thoughts about the blog wouldn't leave me alone.

Philly is a town with a lot of colleges. As such, I've met quite a few wives of residents and med students. I tell them about this blog. I think it is a great source of information and support. Quite a few times, I've gotten the proverbial eye roll. I wonder why this is.

Does it seem self-serving to have a blog specifically for spouses of doctors? Do they think we get on here and write about how special we are because we are married to a doctor? Or get on here and talk about all of our money and cars? And why don't we talk about those things???

I'm proud of my husband. I'm proud of what he has accomplished and what he has been though. And I have amazed myself at what I've been able to endure as the wife of a doctor. Why can't we talk about those things without sounding vain, conceited, and self-promoting?

It seems that most of the wives on here are still in the trenches of med school and residency. Do we stop needing support after residency? Does it get so much easier that the need to find other doctor wives dissipates? Maybe it is just me, but I would LOVE to hear from wives who are done with residency. What was it like getting that first paycheck that was bigger than your yearly income as a resident? What exotic location did you travel to when money wasn't a factor? What thoughts crossed your mind when you moved into your dream house and furnished it without hand me downs? What was the first car you bought with leather seats, navigation system, power-everything? Did you cry tears of joy when you wrote your first 5-figure check to a charity that has touched your heart? How does it feel to look at a menu and not make decisions based on prices? Is it tons of fun to go shopping for clothes in brand-name stores and not the Salvation Army? And why can't we talk about these things without feeling like we are bragging??? Personally, I want to hear these stories. I want to hear what the light at the end of the tunnel brings. While I'm living in a crappy house, not even able to afford eating off the dollar menu at McDonald's, it might be kinda nice to hear what I have to look forward to!

Also, I've been thinking a lot lately about wives divorced from doctors. Did his career make an impact on your relationship? Was it aggravating as heck to go through the years of med school and residency and then divorce when he finally started making money? Were you still able to live comfortably off of alimony or did you need supplemental income?

See what my brain does to me at 2 am??? Am I the only one out there who thinks about these things?


Blogger Stephanie said...

brought me to tears... great post.

July 23, 2010 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger Amanda E. said...

Awesome post---agreed totally.

July 23, 2010 at 11:56 AM  
Blogger Emily Kathleen said...

What a great post! I completely agree with you! I am so proud of my husband (a third year med student), but getting through med school is tough, I'm sure residency will be too...and I can't imagine that he will suddenly stop needing my support after residency. I would love to hear some stories about the light at the end of the tunnel!

July 23, 2010 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Great post. I, like you, am grasping for that glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. My husband is in his last year of a 5 year residency. When we got married (at the start of residency) I thought "5 years, I can do this." Now he wants to do a fellowship. "3 more years, ok, I can do this." I just keep hoping it will all be worth it. And it's not just about the money - although that would be nice. :) I rented a movie from the library today that cost me $1 and I really stood there for a long time contemplating whether or not we could afford that. sigh. One day at a time, ladies. We can make it through!

July 23, 2010 at 3:42 PM  
OpenID Lauren said...

I completely agree with your post here. We wives endure a hell of a lot going through medical school and residency with our husbands and it is the FURTHEST thing from easy or rolling in money. We need support and encouragement and someone to tell us what life is like on the other side, and I don't think that should constitute as bragging. In my world it's called: keep on keepin' on because things do turn around for the better one day.

July 23, 2010 at 4:40 PM  
Blogger Melisa said...

Hey, Kathi, the Wingspouse! Can you set us up with some more post-residency wives? We love your insights. How about some more? :o)

Thanks so much for the feedback, ladies. This is one of the scarier posts I've written. It is always tough to put yourself out there like that.

I'm being convinced more and more that these perceptions I'm worried about portraying are self-perpetuating. The other people on this blog know exactly what I'm talking about. So, if someone else happens to look upon this blog and think, "Oh look, another self-absorbed medical wife", well, by jolly, they have NO CLUE what we've been through to get here!

July 23, 2010 at 5:16 PM  
Blogger Jeni said...

I'm so glad I happened upon this blog a year or so ago. I think medical wives NEED each other and need the support from each other. No one else understands what we go through or what it's like. Non medical wives have some sort of romanticized idea of what it's like to be the wife of a doctor and can't sympathize, let alone empathize. I love hearing all of your stories and situations. It makes it all easier to bear. If I tell family or friends that medical school and residency have been hard as a wife and mother I sort of get looks like, "Sure, but your husband will be a Doctor - you'll be rich in a few years." or completely unsympathetic comments like that. Only we can fully understand the sacrifices we make and what we all go through to support our husbands. It's hard!

July 24, 2010 at 12:34 AM  
Blogger PsychPhDGirl said...

My boyfriend just graduated from internal medicine residency and started his first job as a hospitalist at an academic hospital a few weeks ago. Our financial situation is going to be a little better this year, but he has a bunch of credit card debt from med school that he needs to pay off so it's really not like we'll have that much more money. It is nice that he doesn't have to work overnight anymore and he gets about every third week off. But it has been stressful for him learning a new system at a different hospital and he is still anxious before going to work. Hopefully it will get better as he gets more comfortable with the paperwork...

July 24, 2010 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger Mandy, The Mother of All Chaos said...

Thank you for laying this all out there. As the wife of a 3rd year med student and trying to decide which specialty to shoot for, money is one of those taboo topics that we feel noone really wants to discuss in a real way. They need to do something they love to do and have a passion for, but this is also a business decision... you leave medical school with at least a hundred grand and most often more in debt, and we personally have 4 kids who will start college when he is done with residency, so we need an income that will provide for debt, family, college, retirement, taxes (yikes!), and a decent enough life to be able to offset the crazy schedule and make it all worth it.

So- anyone who wants to share the toys, the vacations, the new furniture or house, the rewards- we all need to hear that there is a life beyond ramen noodles and it is OKAY to think about what a career will pay when making these decisions.


July 24, 2010 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger TheFamousStacie said...

Melisa- I'm glad you fantasize about the good things~

I find that I sit around imagining socialized medicine forcing us to fake our own deaths and hiding in a foreign country to get away from the frickin' sick crazy med school debt.

I am too afraid to peer down the tunnel looking for a light. I'm spinning around in darkness begging the light to please find me.

All I can hope is to find joy in the journey and if I'm lucky there will be a bonus of financial security at the end.

I agree, I would love for someone to post about how they walked into the department store and bought what looked awesome on them, not what was on super clearance.

July 25, 2010 at 2:15 AM  
Blogger Behrmans said...

Sadly no one really talks about the good. I have no idea why? Maybe they are just living the good life and don’t need the support that we need now. When we lived in Grand Junction all the doctors had very positive things to say… they loved their job, they had family time and making good money. We were told that a lot would be determined in the practice that you end up going into. My OB/GYN decided to have one extra doctor on hand. All of the doctors in that practice saw less patients (than the norm) and had a family life. They also made a little less but were still taking home 6 figures. My OB/GYN scheduled his family time, kids plays, soccer games, etc into his daily schedule. So he made it to every one of them unless someone went into labor and he was on call. Clients didn’t need to know where he was. All they needed was to have a appointment scheduled and for him to be a good doctor which he was.

The kids Pediatrician also told us that the practice is not where you make the money but at the time it was in real-estate. There are positive things in the life of a Doctor but it depends on where you put your heart and the options that are available when they are actually practicing. This is the good that I have heard from Doctors themselves.

My OB/GYN also said that when he first became a doctor he became obsessed with the money so he was putting in tons of hours. Something happened in his life and he changed focus and loves his life now.

July 25, 2010 at 11:36 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Love this post. Wish this blog was here when my husband was in residency...

We are in his final year of fellowship (PGY 8!). He is interviewing for attending positions. The priority is more so for protected time as opposed to salary so that we can finally enjoy some time together.

Thankfully, we've been okay financially throughout the course of this journey (I work full time and have a pretty good job). It's funny, I don't look forward to the big house and fancy cars and eating out. I just want my husband to be there to see our daughter grow up...

July 26, 2010 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger Melisa said...

Thanks again for the wonderful feedback, ladies! Don't worry, we found some volunteers to share the good. I can live vicariously through them. :o) Don't forget to post your questions to them so they know what you want them to write about.

July 26, 2010 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Mrs said...

My DrH says the economy improves when he becomes an attending, thanks in part to my calling to stimulate the economy with his salary. But that was the old me. Now that we have kids, and I think back to all the spoiled doctors kids that I have met, I know that I will have to live by example and restrain my inner diva if there is any hope at all of having children with an attitude of gratitude and the heart of a servant.

September 3, 2010 at 6:42 PM  
Blogger feisty said...

A friend who's married to a MD told me there's a higher rate of divorce in the medical professions. Surgeons definitely rake in more $ after residency...than....say....family MDs or ER MDs. But usually there's the debt to pay off. My husband has always been very humble and we are on the same wavelength regarding money....save, save and save some more. I will say in my foggy-brain (3 year old and 4 month old) that one luxury I definitely am grateful for is that I can go to the grocery store and get that mango or 2 packages of strawberries (organic or not) and not have to worry about the pricetag for those. I will splurge on produce and that really is a blessing, IMO. Paradoxically, however, if there is someone in our relationship who has a tendency to spoil....er....give in discipline-wise to our kids, it's my husband. I wasn't raised to spend lavishly (not that was the real intent of the original post....) so I don't go and splurge. I think the real luxury for us anyway, is having the security of savings and being able to enjoy a nice supper out or a show or whatever and not having to budget for it. But remember, neither of us are big spenders so our situation is probably different than yours.

December 29, 2011 at 3:44 PM  

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