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Lives of Doctor Wives

Thursday, July 11, 2013

We went out to dinner last night with a great friend who've I've known since we were girls. We were best friends growing up and she was in my wedding, and we were both in the pharmaceutical industry when I worked. I've stayed home for 8 years now and her career has taken off, she just had her first baby but is a working mom. At dinner, she and DH talked medical stuff during most of the dinner. I felt discouraged that I had nothing to offer, I'm "just a SAHM" :( Feeling sorry for myself. I'm happy for her, but I see where I could have been.......Advice? (Adapted, identifying information removed.)
Many medical spouses with kids are stay-at-home parents, because of the irregular and engulfing demands of medical life. It does smart to feel marginalized, for sure. I've seen eyes glaze and had conversations falter at hospital events when I say, 'I stay home with our kids." And it's an easy thing as a SAHM to feel like we're standing on the side of the road watching the traffic whiz past while we slowly, slowly wipe noses and slowly, slowly teach manners. Remind yourself that, as much as you may feel like your life is 3 inches wide, it's not really different for them to talk about their 3 inches of medical territory. Their inches may sound more impressive, but as her baby grows older and she's out of her depth, your hard-earned mastery of your 3 inches is going to be pretty darned impressive to her. Status is relative.

I combat the Just A Housewife by nurturing opinions about things beside medicine and motherhood. I listen to new music, read a lot (A LOT), cook and keep an ear to the tracks about local restaurant/food industry business, keep abreast of current events and local sports... I don't like being caught with nothing to talk about, since I don't have the default fall-back of work. I think this probably makes me MORE interesting, rather than LESS. Work is a naturally limited topic. Medicine talk is only really interesting to medical people, but everybody likes a good recommendation for a new band or restaurant, right?

I will confess, too, that I have some ego about my mothering & housewifery. I take a lot of pride in doing this job well; like every other career, it is not something that everyone can do with skill and passion. When I apologize implicitly with my tone and attitude, others respond in kind.  Conversely, when I present pride and accomplishment, people respond to that. A little swagger never hurt any mom.


Blogger laurenj said...

"A little swagger never hurt any mom."

Best line ever. And great advice.

July 11, 2013 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger SeekerofGrace said...

Excellent advice! This needs a tag. :)

I had to "grow into" my role as a SAHM after leaving a busy and successful career for medicine and motherhood at roughly the same time. It's taken a few years for me to be proud of my role and to define myself by what I DO, not what I "used to do".

Great post!

July 11, 2013 at 1:31 PM  
Blogger E B said...

It is a trick to feel valued as a SAHM, to be sure. And a trick to feel at home as a SAHM. Parenthood is a major adjustment - a paradigm shift. A change you can't understand until you take the leap. Kudos for keeping your mind fed. That is one of the things I value most as a SAHM myself. If I just put a little time into filling my own emotional needs, I am a better parent. My only advice is "Choose your love; love your choice" but with work in place of love, not that they can't be synonymous!

July 11, 2013 at 7:01 PM  
Blogger Janice said...

Great advice! It took me a couple of years to learn to love being a SAHM and realize I could pursue any interests I had, like painting and reading, and still be "interesting" to other people.

July 12, 2013 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger Sarah Westover McKenna said...

Nice thoughts!! I often feel like what I am doing it humdrum day-to-day, but I am actually proud to tell people I have chosen to be a SAHM. Swagger Mamas unite!

July 12, 2013 at 1:59 PM  

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