Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Wives I Knew....

I don't know where I picked up some of the stereotypes of doctor's wives I have, but I know where I didn't get them.

I grew up in a small rural community. We lived on the same street as two doctors, one a ER doc and the other an anesthesiologist. My parents were not in medicine. My parents didn't go to college. Our families couldn't be more different, and yet were weren't.

I remember when I found out that my friends dads were doctors, that they must be lying. In what world does my family live on the same street with doctors? They didn't have big fancy houses. They didn't drive new cars. Their mother's weren't super models. They wore the same clothes I did. They were just like me.

When we first moved to this community, the anesthesiologist family was living in a trailer on the land where they would later build their home. After it was built, I remember visiting their home and being a little disappointed that it wasn't over the top amazing. It was nice, really nice. But it wasn't the kind of place I thought doctors lived.

I can recall two times that I was aware we had real doctors on our street. The first was when my dad nearly cut off his thumb on a band saw, and the ER doc was at home to put it back together. He was stitched up on their dining room table. I remember my mother telling me she felt horrified that they were doing this on their dining room table. They didn't mind at all.

The other time was when the anesthesiologist was present for my dad's back surgery. Other than that, they - and their families - were just like mine. They worked hard in their fields and ranches. My dad worked hard. Their children went to school with me, we were friends. We went to church together.

There was nothing special about them, and yet there was. They were amazing families, kind and generous. They were the first to show up with a loaf of bread, dinner when someone was sick, or offer their suburban to drive kids to camp. They were the ones who were letting the rest of us hang out at their house, and always had chocolates or cookies ready to be devoured. They were probably some of the best people I have ever known. What they were had nothing to do with their professional status. It is who they were. They were good people.

I talk with my husband often about what our future will look like. It is exciting and terrifying. I almost feel like if we don't have a big house, and don't drive nice new cars people will be disappointed. I know I have some crazy things in my head. This kind of thinking is what gets people in trouble.  Trying to create the picture that people expect to see. Instead of keeping up with the Jones's it is BEING the Jones's.

We are going to disappoint a lot of people if they are expecting something amazing from us, especially in the beginning.

I hope our future looks a lot like those I have actually known, and not like the people I have dreamed up from the most unreliable of sources. When people refer to us I want the "who we are" to come before the "what we have" and "what he does".

I have no idea how to do that. These are the big questions floating around my head at the moment.



  1. Oh, Jane! It makes my heart happy to hear other DWs talk about this. It is an amazing journey to be a medical spouse and it comes with so many blessings that we are privileged to share (once you get passed the whole paying back the school loans, etc. thing) ;-) I look at our "status" (*gag*) as a means to an end. An opportunity to be good stewards.

    It is so important to BE REAL. Be the real you. Ignore what you think people expect of you and be who God made you to be. Look for opportunities to be open. Share life with others and look at your doctor's job as a form of ministry. One of my favorite thing is to hear people say, "I didn't realize D was a doctor...he seems so normal!" LOL I love it when the job he does is viewed as a natural extension of his personality...caring towards others, meticulous in detail, hungry for knowledge, etc.

    I once had a friend tell me that I was "the most frugal doctor's wife she had ever met". I started laughing and told her that every time I make my own curtains or buy something on sale, it gives me the opportunity to use those resources to do other more important things in the world! {BTW, I don't think there is anything wrong with having nice things! We live in a big, nice house. We just try to use our blessings to bless others!}

    So, in conclusion of this ginormous comment...prioritize. Know that the most important things aren't things and work hard to be your true self even when you feel like you are disappointing other people, you are actually setting the example!! xo

  2. What a great story! My husband and I talk about how to not have spoiled kids with the income we will hopefully one day make. I think these families you knew growing up had the right idea.

  3. definitely be true to yourself and don't worry about what other's think or say. easy for me to do because i've been living like this for YEARS (and I've also been living with the opinions but it's good practice in the "I don't care what you think" department). There will be some things that make sense for you to splurge on and others that are not a priority to you. To each his own. We know ourselves and our big splurges are (after paying off loans) building our dream house (yes people will be green with envy), international trips, good schools for our kids and a solid retirement plan. These things take time and not everyone views our priorities as "wise" but to each his own. Enjoy "the life" whether it's buying that NOT ON SALE $200 dress you could only dream of a decade ago or buying your kids shoes when they need them instead of waiting for the sale to arrive and their blisters to heal. I'm sure people who know you know you are a good person before anything else.

  4. Thank you for this post. It really hit home. I grew up in a physician family and I always thought my mom was the most generous person. We lived so modestly that I truly believed us to be "poor" until I was in college, and started working myself. Then I realized how much my father made and was shocked at how we lived so humbly, never giving a flying firetruck about keeping up with the Joneses. :) Never play into those games!


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