I know that the majority of my posts are dedicated to the difficulties of being married to a resident doctor, but it's not always so dreadful:-)
My world often feels very small. Most of my daily interactions take place with 0-6 year-olds, or on-line. It doesn't have to be that way, I just allow it to be that way. For the record at least once a day I talk with a non-relative adult, and most days I do leave the house. (Although, with winter fast approaching those excursions may become fewer). Life really is what you make of it. I know I could do more, and some days I do, and I try to no criticize myself too much when I don't.
There really isn't anything unique about the trials of a doctors wife that cannot be found by wives in many other professions. I try to remind myself of that often. Take these careers for example:
Truck Driver: Often gone for 5 straight days during the week. Home on the weekends, and back out on the road. By virtue of the fact they they are on the road, they have a dangerous job. They work long hours, don't eat well (most trucks don't have kitchens:-), and don't get much rest. They miss the same things my husband misses
Attorney: Those guys work crazy hours, too! Depending on their specialty they may be working in a hostile environment, and with peoples lives (although not life and death). They miss their kids events probably just as often as a doctor. Their wives are probably at home doing many of the same things we are.
Military Personnel: Deployments for months or years. I don't think I need to say more, except I will. I've often thought that it would be easier if my husband were just gone so I knew I would be on my own, instead of hoping he'd be available and being disappointed when he's not. I would rather be disappointed that have him gone. Not to mention his life is in greater danger when deployed.
Firefighter: working 24 hour shift, often dangerous work.
Law Enforcement: Dangerous work (i.e. the bullet proof vests and hand-guns). At least when my husband goes to work I am reasonably assured that he will come home alive.
And the Doctor: long hours, unpredictable schedules. Really not that bad when you consider the others I just listed!
The main point I wanted to make is that regardless of the profession your spouse is in there will always be something that is unpleasant about it. I can't think of a perfect job that would guarantee marital harmony and adequate funds to meet the needs of a family. Life is about making choices.
I chose to marry a medical student. Before I met him I had some requirements that I was looking for in my potential husband. The first was that he had a job, and the second was that he didn't live with his parents. As a student he didn't have a job, and even though he wasn't living with his parents he was living in a home they owned rent free. Technically he should have failed the test. I am glad that I made the exception for him.
I chose to have a baby when it didn't make sense. We had only been married for a few months when we found out we were pregnant. Not a big surprise when you aren't preventing it. Our son was born the later part of MS3. Having a baby changes everything... that is true. I can't think of a single change brought on by having children that didn't also have a direct positive benefit. Sure having kids costs money, but they are worth every dime and dollar, and then some. I don't look at my son, or my daughters, and think "I wish I would have had an exotic vacation or a new car instead". Knowing that we sacrificed that and more for them makes them even more precious to me. They are our greatest achievement and investment.
I chose to not work when it didn't make sense to do so. My co-workers were baffled when I decided to be a stay-at-home mom and give up "money". There is so much more to life than money. Thankfully, I had saved some money knowing that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom that lessened the blow a little, but it was still an adjustment. Over the last 7 years there have maybe been 5 days where I thought I should have just worked a little longer. Only a handful of days. I don't regret my decision.
I chose to move with my husband thousands of miles away from our family. I didn't know at the time how hard that would be, but I wouldn't have stayed behind and I wouldn't have asked my husband to give up his residency to stay. Our families are wonderful and I miss them dearly, but we have learned invaluable lessons being away from their safety net. We have had to rely more upon each other, and upon friends. He is my best friend, I share everything with him (except this blog, I still haven't told him about this - but this is my only secret!)
I choose to accept his unpredictable schedule and long hours. I try not to complain (to him) about how long he works, or how many conferences he attends (wishing I could go), or how many meetings he has. He often expresses appreciation that even though he knows it is hard for me that I don't make it hard for him. We try to enjoy the time he does have with us.
I choose to support his choice of specialty. We talked about it in medical school, we talked about it during internship year, we've talked about it during residency. I support what he is doing. I wouldn't want him to do anything else. When I see how excited he gets about his work, I want him to do it. I know he wouldn't be happy doing anything else. His happiness is directly connected to my happiness and vice-versa.
I choose to support his fellowship. Even though initially I wasn't very excited about extending our training for another year, I know that it is important to him. I know he wants to be the best, and I want him to be his best. I trust that doing a fellowship will open more opportunities for him, and possibly for us.
I choose to drive older cars, skip vacations, buy 2nd hand furniture, and clip coupons to make what we have go as far as possible. I take pride in managing our household finances and taking care of our home. I know that the work I do doesn't have a salary, but that my work in our home contributes in ways that cannot be quantified by monetary values.
I choose to accept the years of training, incommensurate salaries, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt as an investment in our future. A future, that by all indications, should be bright and without want.
I choose to trust in a Heavenly Father who has plans for my life that includes blessings and experiences that I cannot fathom. I chose to believe that all the experiences we have had over the course of this life have been for our good. We haven't been given any challenge that we haven't been able to over come. I know that whatever the future holds we can handle it, of that I am sure.
This isn't the life I would have designed for myself... I couldn't possibly have dreamed this big. What an exciting journey it has been. I would have designed something safe, predictable, and certainly boring. In reality, easy is boring.
I have a wonderful husband who loves me, his children, and his work. I have my own little family that I get to teach, love, and influence. What an amazing life I have chosen to accept!