It really is a small world. While blog shopping one day (as my friend Lauren calls it), I came across another medical wife's blog. As I usually do, I scrolled through the most recent pages to see if it interested me. It did - you could tell this girl liked to write -- so I kept scrolling and came across a buzzword: "Louisiana". I didn't think I would know this person until I found another buzzword: "Jewish".
My Jewish friends and I like to play a little game we call Jewish Geography. If someone tells me they live in say, Jackson, Mississippi, I can usually list 3 or 4 Jewish friends and they will know at least one of them. So I knew I would know (or at least know of) this girl.
Sure enough, after a little blog stalkage, I realized I did know this blogger, Drew. More specifically, her husband. In fact, her husband and I started a club together in college, and Y listened with great interest while Dr. J described his process of getting into med school.
Okay, anyway, enough about exciting coincidences. Here's Drew:
Doctor's wife: two loaded words that combine to create a title that most people really don't understand. Truth is, most people will never understand all that goes on behind those two words because it's something you have to live to understand. I can't tell you how many times I've been introduced to someone and they find out I'm married to a "doctor" (who's still in training -- but no one seems to hear that part).
Cue the many responses that just tick me off:
"Oh, how wonderful for you!"
"Well, that must be nice."
"Good for you!" (Really?!)
Yes, I am very proud of my husband. Proud that he knew what he wanted and achieved it. Proud that he put in the thousands of hours that becoming a doctor requires. However, I didn't marry him for the money that people assume we have (which FYI, we don't have and will not have for a very long time). I didn't marry him because I wanted to stay home and play homemaker all day while he brings home the bacon.
The reality of our situation is that residents make just enough money to pay their student loans and pay for food and basic essentials. There isn't much left over after all that. That is the face of our future for the next three years while my husband works for next to nothing when you calculate out all the hours. So no, I didn't marry a Doctor for the money or the "stable/secure" lifestyle. After all, what's stable or secure about Match, the notorious lottery that assigns you a residency by running a complicated algorithm? What's stable about applying for fellowships all over the country (depending on how competitive your spouse's specialty) and then picking up and moving for the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time since beginning medical school? Nothing. Medicine today is not stable and depending on where you do end up putting roots down, even doctors can struggle to keep up with the expenses of everyday life. Sounds like so much fun, right?! Yeah, right.
After all of the introductions are done, the next question out of people's mouths is always, "Oh, and what do YOU do?" "You" is always said with this tone that says, "I don't really care but I already see you as housewife/babymaker". People, I struggle with this question but my passions aren't as clear cut as my husband's. I never had the THIS is what I want to do with my life moment. Truth is, I enjoy a lot of things and I'm good at a lot of things. I love art, design, color, history, marketing, public policy, and so much more. The only things I can say that I hate and that I suck at would be: math, excel spreadsheets, foreign languages, and college finance courses. Really.
I started college as an art major and loved it. However, I felt I needed more, so I moved over to art history and business. Then, I was just business/poli sci. Finally, in my junior year I realized this major hopping wasn't getting me anywhere and I settled with a general degree just so I could get out of school and figure out what I wanted without the pressure of grades, counselors and well-meaning faculty who were convinced I was "meant to be x,y or z".
After college I worked retail, I worked as photographer, I worked as a nanny and I started blogging. I had no idea what I wanted. Today, I work as a social media and marketing intern for local business and I L.O.V.E. it. I wake up and want to go to work. I'm dying to get on my computer and create our next mailing campaign, line sheet, or dream up more marketing avenues. Even my husband has noticed the change and even said, "I can really see how much you enjoy this job and you deserve this." People, I almost fell over in shock! I've gone from having an evasive answer to the "What do you do" question, to having a confident response and feeling like I'm doing something worthwhile. I'm now certain that I am more than just the woman behind the busy doctor. I'm more than the housewife, homemaker or mother. For me, having an identity and a career path that is not my husband's is essential to my well being and our relationship. For whatever reason, I need and want more from myself at this time than just being a wife. I need to know that I made my own small contributions to this crazy, wonderful, messed up world.