This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Lives of Doctor Wives: September 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Dealing with a disappointing move

It’s that time of year again.

The time of year when so many of us pack up our lives and move for our spouse’s career. Any move can be stressful, but it’s an especially rough undertaking when you’re less than enthusiastic about your new location. Doctors’ wives are often in a unique situation in which we have very little choice about where we relocate to—thanks to the infamous Match.

So if you are finding yourself trying to settle into a new home after a disappointing move, you are not alone.

If I am being completely honest, I can tell you that I was more than a little disappointed when we saw our Match results in 2013. My husband, the soon to be doctor, and I would be married exactly a week after the Match ceremony and I had been hoping on starting our marriage out with an adventure. I had hoped we would Match somewhere new and exciting, somewhere outside of our home state and med school state of Ohio.

When we opened our envelope, not only did it say we would be staying in Ohio, but it was the residency was in the one city I did not get to visit on my husband’s interview trail. It was the one place on his rank list that I truly had overlooked and was not expecting.

Looking back, I shouldn’t have been so surprised. The program was placed pretty high on his rank list. Whether it was wishful thinking or ignorant oversight, I’m not sure, but when we found out we would be moving to Akron, Ohio I was shocked…and less than enthusiastic.

In the following months as we prepared for our relocation I became even more apprehensive. The city wasn’t ideal for finding a job in my field. It was a half hour closer to my husband’s family and 2 hours farther from my family. We were having trouble finding a place to live. The reasons to be disappointed in our new home just kept building up in my mind.

Then I realized it: I wasn’t really giving what would be my home for the next 3 years or more a fair shot. I was focusing on the negative and my outlook on our new hometown, as well as the opportunities it would provide, wouldn’t improve until my attitude did.

It is amazing to me to think that two years have already passed. I can’t tell you that it has always been easy or that I loved our new town in every moment, but I can say that I am very happy there now.

I want to share a few of the things that helped me deal with my disappointing move, as well as few things that—looking back—I wish I would have done from the start. I hope some of these tips can help someone else who is learning to love a new location after a move.

My tips:

  1. Make your new location your home.
  2. In our medical journey, I have always said paraphrased the old adage "Home is where the heart is" because for me it is more accurate to say "home is where my husband is." While some days that may feel like I should make the hospital my home, it helped me to remember that our new town was home now. It helped me to quit referring to our last city as "home". I couldn’t start loving and thinking of our new location as my home if I was continuing to think of and refer to someplace else as my home.
  3. Make your house your home.
  4. We bought our home, a condo in a suburb of our new city. There is a lot of debate about whether buying or renting is better in residency. I can’t speak to which is best and think it is a personal decision for each couple, but for me it has allowed a lot of freedom to invest my energy and emotions into our house, making it our own. Even if you rent, I would suggest doing what you can to make your house feel like a home. If you can’t make big changes or even cosmetic adjustments to flooring, wall colors, etc., try to find the areas where you can make it yours. Hang your favorite pictures, go thrift shopping or yard sale-ing to find new pieces of décor or furniture that will help you feel more at home. For me, the more I could make my house, or things in it, into a "project" the more invested in and connected to it I started to feel.
  5. Go exploring.
  6. Safety first if you do this! However, I do recommend taking a good look around your new city. Find what it has to offer. Where are the fun places to visit like museums, the zoo, restaurants, etc.? Where are the best shopping areas? Are there any neighborhoods you would LOVE to live in if you ended up staying there long-term? What is downtown like? Is your city more white-collar corporate focused or blue collar industry focused? It is also helpful to know, but maybe not visit, where the more dangerous parts of town are. Getting to know your city helps you learn to love it. While a lot can be found out behind the screen of your computer, I suggest taking field trips and physically exploring when and where you can. Remember, stay safe!
  7. Get a pet.
  8. Okay, I know this isn’t for everyone, but if your personal preferences, living situation, and budget allow, I definitely suggest getting a pet. I’m a big supporter of dog rescue organizations, but go with what is right for you. A pet helps you by providing both company and something to automatically love about your new city—its where you got Fido/Fluffy/Benedict Cumberbatch! We rescued a hound puppy a year into our residency and it was the best thing I did after moving. It forced me to get out and go on walks in our neighborhood, which helped me meet a lot of our neighbors—the cute puppy as a conversation starter was good too. He makes me feel more comfortable when my husband is working late at night or all night. If my dog isn’t worried about that noise, it is probably okay. He keeps me company and gave me a purpose before I found a job in my field.
  9. Get involved.

Whether it is getting a job or finding someplace to volunteer some time, I recommend finding someplace to get connected in your new city. If you have kids, maybe it will be something at their school. If you can’t get a pet but wish you could (or even if you have one) maybe you can find a humane society or rescue group to volunteer with. Maybe there is a group at the hospital, either of other wives or a volunteer system. If you are involved in a religious group, see if your place of worship needs help in any way. Nonprofit organizations like museums, theatres, food banks, or shelter houses are always looking for volunteers. Finding some place to give your time, for pay or as a volunteer can help you feel connected to the city and see first-hand the value it holds and great people that live there.
What I wish I had done:

    1. "Borrow an Egg"
    2. I live in a very safe neighborhood. I wish I would have gone around to my nearest neighbors’ homes and introduced myself in the first few months of living here. I envision it like you see on the TV, with a 50’s style housewife bringing a pie to the neighbors and letting them know that she lives next door now. I don’t know if I would have brought pie, but I do know it would have been nice to get to know my neighbors early on, and just to know there was someone next door that I could come to in case of an emergency... or in case I needed to borrow an egg.
    3. Stay in town.
    4. This relates a lot to #1 in my tips, but I wish I would have spent more time staying in town early on. I went to visit friends in our last city pretty often in the first few months of living in our new city. I know many of you won’t have this chance because your move is much farther from your last city than mine was. I’m not saying to never visit friends either. I just wish I would have spent more time staying in town and getting to know my new home instead of keeping my heart so focused on our old town.
    5. Play pretend.

While sometimes it is comforting (and realistic) to keep in mind that residency is temporary and living in this location may also be temporary, sometimes it can add more stress knowing you’ll just be picking up and leaving again (relatively) shortly. I wish I would have allowed myself to pretend that this was forever, or at least to let go of my focus on it being temporary. I know in the beginning I was less willing to fall in love with my new city because I knew it wasn’t "forever." If it helps you, let yourself pretend it is forever. Sometimes we need to let go of counting down the months and days in order to let ourselves be happy in our current situation.
I hope some of these tips help you. If nothing else, I want you to know that you’re not alone. Many of us have been through a disappointing move. There is hope. I, for one, have come out on the other side, happy and enjoying our home. I hope you will too! And remember, even if you don’t end up loving your new city, you love your spouse and as long as you are with them, you are home.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, September 14, 2015

Premed Perspective: Be the Rock

I was stuck while writing this blog post.
I’m not in a very positive place, and I don’t want to be a downer to readers…. But this path isn’t always ‘easy’ or ‘pretty’. While some individuals are blessed with a smoother process, others may not. We just happen to be one of those others. Not that a bumpy road is at all new or unfamiliar to us. We have always had to overcome and persevere. Add any other motivational growth buzz words into that as you’d like…. It’s us.

Our lives represent one giant motivational poster.

It’s crap.
To be perfectly honest, we just are too stubborn to give up and go to plan B.

After turning everything necessary for med school applications into the AACOMAS website, Hubs was hit with a problem with getting the military to send some of his credits in. It’s some acronym that I hadn’t heard of until this problem came up.  After a back and forth of about a week and a half, finally AACOMAS said to ‘just delete’ the military stuff and don’t worry about it since it was a non-necessary part of the application.

It would have been nice to know that before we wasted almost 2 weeks calling and emailing.

Hurry up and wait.

We are now entering week 4 of verification of transcripts. We had everything together back at the end of July…. It’s the middle of August.
Such is life.


THAT is what gets you through this process.

Don’t take no for an answer. There is a light at the end of this long, 8-16 year tunnel.
Do your thing. Motivate and push your partner.
Remain the bright and confident rock.
Get it done.

Then go have a nice, quiet, frustrated cry in a steamy hot bath.
Add some Epsom salt and essential oils to top it off.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, September 12, 2015

We graduated from medical school last month and I feel more lost than when we started this journey four years ago. Contradictory, my husband feels more stable with the start of his residency upon us.

After two years into medical school life changed for us. We moved two hours away to complete our third year of rotations. And thus the crux of where my journey of being off-track began. I was a teacher and expecting my second child in August during third year. Finding a job in a new location and asking for maternity leave; just didn’t look good. So, we decided I would stay home. That was a decision I really wanted to happen. When I left my career I had moved into administration and it was beginning to be quite a struggle with taking care of the home front. So, I took homemaking on by the horns and vowed to become the best June Cleaver ever (dang type A personality).

I did what I knew best, I got involved….I got all of us involved. Each day was a full schedule. I thought to myself, "If I just keep busy I won’t get board." At the time I thought being a stay-at-home mom meant I would become boring and be sitting on the couch and eating bon bons all day. The kids and I ended up burnt out. I wasn’t a nice mom, I didn’t have emotional or physical time for my husband and I resented our decision for me to stay home. I had to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to be a stay at home mom. How did others make it look so fun? So easy? So full of worth?

From then on we cut out several activities. I kept our afternoons free at home so I wouldn’t be rushing in and attempting a hot meal exhausted and at the end of my rope. We just stayed home when my husband was off and did at-home activities. Things started looking better, I felt a relief and started to enjoy being home. So, that is how people made it look good; they embraced and made a flow for their family.

Then enters medical school to throw us for a loop again. We had two options for fourth year; the kids and I stay in a town we just moved to while my husband was gone for six months or we move to MI with my family and see my husband. So, this AZ based family scoured the REI annual sale for winter items and headed to the Midwest.

Living with family with two very active boys was a whole other adjustment within itself. We were so grateful for the ability to save money and see my husband, but I had to learn how to be a stay at home mom again. In a new environment, no friends, no playmates, no activities, no church, and no feeling of community and not even in our own home. I did my best to keep my boys in library time and we ended up joining a gym, which saved my life, but life was defiantly different. Instead of playing with my kids I constantly followed them picking up after them. I held my breath when they played inside because I was afraid they would break something. I was exhausted of just surviving.

Now, fast-forward to today; we are in our own home in our new town. As soon as we moved in we began renovating, painting, unpacking, you know the usual excited new homeowner things. We are in our own space in a place I know we will be for at least four years.

But why am I not happy? Why am I not over joyous with this victory over medical school and matching in a residency?

We sat and did our budget the other day (non joyous answer right there) and we decided I had to bring in some type of income. Specifically to help with the overhaul we did on the house and just to give us an emergency fund again. So, I took the bull by the horns again and updated my resume and pulled out my references. But I had no where to go, I had no place to land….what have I done in two years….what am I doing with my time? Oh sure I could get my teaching certificate in MI, but when I left education I was in administration and I am not sure I have it in me to climb the ranks again and go back to teaching in a school system.

I found myself asking, "Who am I" and answering "I am a wife of a doctor" and it made me mad. I am a wife of a doctor who has sacrificed her career, her things, her feeling of a community, of things I knew all to help my husband fulfill his dream. And you know what, I was kind of angry with this for a week. Like drink a bottle of wine angry. I don’t know if it was the five moves in four years or the feeling that I have been just barely making it by and for the first time in my life I didn’t know what to do next.

Then, my husband got an email and asked me to take care of it. And it dawned on me…I am a wife of a doctor who couldn’t have done it without me. All those moves, all those new cable set ups, quotes for moving, packing of boxes and still making a homemade dinner (most of the time), yeah that was me.

Then, I even thought I have two young boys that I keep alive every day and one that is starting to read…because of ME.

I know it is so easy to get wrapped up in what you have said good-bye to in order for your husband to become a doctor. But at the same time look at what you have learned to embrace. I am not afraid….of anything really, nothing. Any change, any upset I know I can handle…because I have handled A LOT. What I have realized is that I am not identified by my career or my income (or lack thereof one).

So, what am I? I am a wife of a doctor who loves her doctor and her children more than anything.

Celebrate the small success, don’t dwell on the good-byes and embrace the change!

To all you doctors wives out there….YOU can do this and YOU can find out even more who you really are in the process.

NAME: Stacie Johnson

PROFESSION: A practicing wife and stay at home mom

(Oh and P.S. I have started watching children to help with our budget. But I always ask myself "What do I want to be when I grow up?").





Labels: , , , , ,