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Lives of Doctor Wives: Married to a Medical Student

Friday, April 18, 2014

Married to a Medical Student

During my husband's first year of medical school he had a required meeting at school. I remember being slightly annoyed that day that he was at school a little longer than usual. He brought home extra cookies from the meeting for me and the kids. Instead of being thankful for his thoughtful gesture I was irritated. Irritated that he was away from the kids and I "hanging out with friends having fun...eating cookies". Oblivious to my irritation, he mentioned that they also had soda at the meeting. Pepsi. My favorite! But there were none left over otherwise he would have brought me one. That did it! I was officially annoyed that he was out having "fun" while I was at home taking care of our kids. Did I mention I was pregnant with #3 and slightly hormonal?! That I was the one working and taking care of the children, the household and arranging childcare and trying to settle our family into a new home in a new state?! All while he was off eating cookies and drinking soda with his friends:)

Clearly medical school is not the same as fun and games with friends. But in my mind I had made that connection from this one little incident two years ago. Lets just be clear, medical school is a lot of work. Hours and hours of studying. Boring, tedious studying just trying to keep up. Always feeling like you are behind and don't measure up. It is mentally challenging and exhausting. The vast amount of knowledge a medical student needs to gain has often been compared to trying take a drink out of a fire hose. And I think that is an understatement! And yet two years later, I still struggle with this "cookies & soda" mentality at times. When my husband has been gone for impossibly long hours at the hospital working like crazy, I sometimes get resentful instead of grateful that he is willing to sacrifice so much of himself for our family and his patients - present and future. Instead of being the "soft place" for him to land at the end of a hard day, I am often bristly and short with him. Resentful at times that he gets to go out and have "fun". Thankfully I married a man with not only very tough skin, but he is understanding and forgiving as well....very forgiving as I am a slooooow learner:)

There have been a few times throughout these past two and half years that my husband has had to gently remind me that he doesn't like being away from the kids and I so much and that it isn't all "cookies and soda" while he is gone! What?! He isn't just sitting around joking, having a jolly time with his friends? Shocker, I know.

My husband has also been the one to realize that in order for our family to survive this medical training journey (trust me it is a journey!), it is important that I do things for myself. That I take the time to do things I enjoy that do not revolve around him and our kids. Sure these things have to be scheduled around him and his crazy medical school schedule, but we have made it work. That is why once month regardless of how busy he is, I have an evening of sewing with my girlfriends. Also this year I joined a once-a-week women's Bible study that has childcare included! We have made it a priority for me to get away with my girlfriends every once in a while - for example craft weekend with my mom and best friend and another time my good friend's overnight bachelorette party - even though that left him home with 3 kids when he should have been studying for his boards exam! He has also been trying to convince me to get a gym membership so I can get "me time" more often. But I just can't commit to that as it seems way out of our budget:) For now I enjoy jogging with my kids and hiding in my room with a good book (once my husband is home or after the kids are in bed). Both of which feel like "me time"!

These medical school years are long and hard for BOTH of us! And it is easy to lose sight of what WE are working towards, especially now that I am home full time with our kids and he is on rotations at the hospital for many, many, many hours. I will tell you one thing though...it ain't all cookies and soda...for either of us! I like to believe we have found a good balance. I do all I can to love and support my husband and make his life a tad easier. I plan special family activities for when he will be around and I NEVER complain to the kids about his absence or even insinuate that he should be home with us. I gladly...okay mostly gladly...make homemade dinners and make sure he has packed lunches every day. I want him to want to come home to us. And he makes sure I get the breaks I need. Breathers so I can recharge. So I can keep on keepin' on. It is a balancing act. And sometimes we breakdown. But we keep on trying. Working together. Cognizant of the fact that it is all too easy to become resentful of the other person. To falsely believe the other person has the easier role. That the other person is just sitting around eating cookies and soda while I am working like a mad person.

A little bit about me: I am non-practicing PA (worked up until the birth of my last baby) now a
stay-at-home mom to our 3 young kids! We are deep in the medical school trenches as my husband is a MSIII currently finishing up his 8 week surgery rotation. I blog (frequently!) to help keep sane and to keep life in perspective - that and it kills sometime while my husband is away. It helps:) To see this post (with pictures of the fam!) and more hop on over to my blog @ www.longdaysarchives.blogspot.com

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