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Lives of Doctor Wives: What I learned about being a doctor’s wife from being a doctor’s kid

Friday, November 7, 2014

What I learned about being a doctor’s wife from being a doctor’s kid

What I learned about being a doctor’s wife from being a doctor’s kid

by: Emily Roberson

My mother is a cardiologist. She started medical school when I was two and finished

training when I was 13. When I started dating my husband, everyone in my family

laughed - “Why would anyone do this twice?”

Many years later, we’ve survived med school, residency, fellowship and now the first

few years as a practicing physician. We have three kids and a happy marriage, and

the lessons I learned as a doctor’s daughter have served me well as a doctor’s wife.

So here they are:

1) It doesn’t matter what day you celebrate on, just that you celebrate – The

year I turned 16, my mom had to work on my birthday. My dad and sister and

I went out to dinner. We told the waiter it was my birthday and I got cake.

Then the next night, my mom was working, but we tried to go out anyway.

She didn’t get done in time to meet us. We told the waiter it was my birthday

and I got cake. That weekend, my mom was off so we went out to dinner as a

family. We told the waiter it was birthday and I got cake. You see where I’m

going here – instead of a birthday, I had a birth-week (and a lot of cake).

Bonus tip: Have your birthday cake and sing in the morning before and

work, so you aren’t waiting for the doctor to get home.

2) Nobody wants to be at the hospital on Christmas – When I first married

my husband (when he was in medical school and still had Christmas off)

his mother was worried about how we would do Christmas Dinner. How

would we organize it with the two families? Would she need to change her

traditional time? I had to laugh. We have one family Christmas tradition. We

open our presents and eat Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. If my mom has been on

call, we wait till she gets home; if she’s working, we do it before she leaves.

The rest of the day is eating popcorn, watching movies and playing with your


Bonus tip: You don’t have to celebrate on the actual day. Thanksgiving

Dinner tastes just as good on Saturday.

3) Don’t call a million times asking when they’ll come home – when they can get

home, they will get home – Sick people are inconvenient. They don’t follow

schedules. They don’t care about your dinner reservation. If you don’t want

to lose your mind, you have to remember that your doctor wants to leave the

hospital. Just sometimes they can’t. My sister and I used to page my mother

endlessly to ask when she would be home. Now, I understand that this only

made her irritated and delayed her return. I’m a grown-up now, so I really try

not to call.

Bonus tip: Bring a book or magazine if you are meeting your doctor at a

restaurant. That way you are not that lonely woman waiting at a restaurant,

you are that independent, interesting woman with a full life... waiting at a


4) If it’s really important to you, schedule it for a day off – My mother is famous

for underestimating the amount of time it will take her to do something. She

would say, “I just have to round, I’ll be done by 1:00.” So we would make

plans to go to a movie at 2:30. Of course, 90% of the time, she wouldn’t be

done and we’d be waiting at the theater. The lesson I got from this is that

if something is really important to you, tell the doctor and get it on the

schedule, early.

Bonus tip: Sometimes this doesn’t work, there are always emergencies, but

you shouldn’t stop trying.

5) Be the cruise director – When I was growing up, we went camping. My dad

packed us and organized us and got us out there. We picked my mom up

when she got off work and took her with us. When you’re in the woods,

staying in a tent, you have to interact with each other. Maybe camping

isn’t your thing, but something is. It is really easy to get used to the doctor

being gone and to forget to make it fun when they are home. Don’t wait for

vacation; plan special times as a family.

Bonus tip: You are going to be the one organizing everything, but know that

your doctor will probably come in and mess up your planning. My dad always

complains that my mom repacks everything he packs – don’t stress it... It will

be a funny memory someday.

Those are just a few of the lessons I learned about being a doctor’s wife from being a

doctor’s daughter.



Blogger Tasha Dale said...

I love this! My mom was in medical school and residency too, from when I was ten until I was seventeen, and while I definitely didn't plan to go through it twice, being a doctor's daughter was great preparation for being a doctor's wife. What great post!

November 9, 2014 at 4:24 PM  

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