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Lives of Doctor Wives: Survivor Stories: I Need Help Accepting Help

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Survivor Stories: I Need Help Accepting Help

It is quiet, and I am alone.  This is rare!  My kids are asleep, my husband is out catching up with a buddy from residency, and my parents left on a short road trip this morning.  As a 37-year old woman, I am once again under my parents' roof, for the longest time since I left for college.

The circumstances are fine:  we are having a home built a few miles away, our rental wasn't available anymore, and my parents were literally down the street from the house we were renting.  They have graciously let our family of four fill up their home until our new one is complete.  My parents and I have always enjoyed a healthy and loving relationship, and they adore my husband and the kids--their only two grandchildren since I'm an only child.

All of you know this medical journey has many twists and turns that yank families this way and that.  Many of you have either considered or decided to live with parents or other family members temporarily or even permanently.  Since we have been here with my parents for about four months,  I've been learning a lot about my family.  One of the more surprising things I've become aware of has to do with me, and with something we talk about often as doctors' wives.

"We can do hard things"--this is a phrase I see a lot of in our discussions on the LDW page.  Having been married to my husband since just before he started medical school in 2001, I've taken pride in the variety of things I've done in his absence, out of necessity.  I might not have a perfectly tidy home, my kids don't always get along, and I don't always handle things with the grace and strength I'd like to, but I feel satisfied and content when I think about being the wife and mom that I am.  I suppose I get a certain amount of dignity from fulfilling my role to the best of my ability.

It probably shouldn't have surprised me, then, that having so much help at my fingertips might seem a little strange at first.  All of a sudden, our cat's litter box and food had been freshened before I even had breakfast; dirty dishes by the sink were washed, dried, and put away before I could make a second trip back from the table; my kids' sheets were being laundered before I could get to them; items I'd forgotten on the grocery list were in the fridge within hours.  My parents are pretty darn amazing, and they obviously show lots of love through acts of kindness.  It is wonderful, and I am grateful.  To be completely honest, though, it has really been hard sometimes to just say "thank you" and keep going.

Prideful me feels guilty, inadequate, even lazy, for not doing it all.  I have been doing all of these things for years, so why should I stop now?  Do my parents think I'm struggling, and that's why they do so much?  Am I not clean/diligent/organized/patient/able enough to accomplish all of these things?  Pride is pretty ugly, isn't it?  It hurts our own hearts and those around us, too.  My eyes have really been opened to my difficulty in accepting help!

I'm working on it, though.  I am practicing gratitude.  When someone does something nice, I simply say thank you.  I am remembering that as my parents do so many things to help me, I am freed up to be more available to my kids and husband.  Or, when the kids play intently with their grandparents, I am freed up to make dinner or take care of a phone call or e-mail.  It's a situation that truly has the potential to bless all of us.  It's great for our kids to see us do hard things, but I think it's just as important for them to see us accept help graciously.

I am wife of nearly 13 years to an ENT physician, who is in his fourth year out of training.  We have a son, age 9, and a daughter, age 4.5.  We are looking forward to moving into our new home and settling down for as long as we can, and we are also enjoying where we are right now!

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Blogger Sarah McKenna said...

$50 B&N gift card

June 23, 2014 at 7:15 PM  

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