Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Playing A Good Offense

The definition of insanity, although I didn't look it up, is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. I feel like the hamster stuck on a wheel expecting to arrive at my destination eventually. Silly hamster, you aren't going anywhere.

I think I have enough experience on the wheel to make a conclusion. It has been there staring at me for the longest time, but I have finally put the pieces together with a solution. Eureka!

What's the problem that gets me all worked up?

On long stretches of call I have noticed that I get very irritable with my kids and with my husband, and anybody else who is unfortunate enough to cross my path. No one is happy during those long and/or frequent bouts of call.

Oh, please don't think I am weak. Instead I prefer to be called tired, worn-out, over-worked, in need of a mental health day. Funny story. When I was working I had an employee come up to me and ask for a mental health day. Being the person I was at the time, the words that came out of my mouth were "yes", but the words going through my head were "yes, you probably do have some mental health issues, but no, stay and suck it up - we all do it". So young and naive and mildly judgmental.

The truth is, we all need mental health days, and the reasons we need them are all very different. Call the day off whatever you want, but time away from the rigors of the everyday are good for the body, mind, and spirit.

And then today while thinking of another friend, it came to me: If I know what sets me off why don't I plan for it ahead of time? Why didn't I think of this before? Seems like the sensible thing to do, and if I were managing my life like I would a business I would have plans in place to deal with disturbances before they showed up on my doorstep.

Just thinking about my solution is like a ray of sunshine. Now to see if I actually do it.

Why the hesitation? Well because I have thought of this solution before, I just never put it together with the calendar. And for all the times I have thought of it, I haven't done anything about it. I have come up with excuses before.

What's my offensive plan? 

I am going to look at the calendar and plan for it.  My husbands call schedule is published a month in advance. I can see the bottlenecks on paper before I have to experience them. What is a bottleneck in my world: 3 or more call days in a row. When you are committed to 14 days of call a month this scenario happens frequently. Where there are bottlenecks I can schedule to get a break for myself by asking for help or paying for help.

Usually I am always playing defense and by the time I realize I need a break, it is too late. Too late to find someone to relieve me. Too late to feel like calling anyone. Too late to make a difference. It is hard to find help at the last minute when you are pulling your hair out! But utilizing the calendar I can make sure I get the break I need to be a happy person, wife, and mama.

Its a beginning, and that's something.

Excuse me while I take a break to look at the calendar.



  1. Woohoo! What a great idea. I'm in the middle of a bottleneck right now, which means a test week for my 2nd year med student hubby. We have 2 boys ages 6 & 3. They miss their Daddy and are tired of me. Don't tell them, but the feeling is sort of mutual. Oh, and we homeschool. I may follow your lead and schedule some me time and hp before the next bottleneck. Thanks for a great idea.

  2. Call sucks period. No matter how long the stretch of days it lasts or when it happens. So you are not alone if you get cranky. At least you recognize it!

  3. Sounds just like planning a vacation around our "time of the month"! Great idea!! I should do something like that too. I can see it on paper, but I seem to be like that at the end of every week, because even if he isn't on call, he's still gone quite a bit and I begin to feel completely disconnected.

  4. I stumbled upon this blog after a LONG evening of arguing with my wife about her job. She is an Internal Medicine physician. We survived med school, residency, fellowship. We have 2 kids (9 and 13). I struggle with similar issues as you do from reading your blog. Maybe I should blog about being a doctor's spouse from a male perspective.

    1. I think your idea to start a male perspective blog would be a great! You are certainly an underrepresented group. If you do, let me know I would love to read along.

  5. I thought I was the only one that thought this way. I always feel bad for getting cranky with everyone. I swear the neighbors know when he's been working a long stretch...must be bc they hear me yelling kids in the yard. I feel guilty hiring someone (live away from family). It's so hard to find someone for a couple hours, I couldn't on a school night bc they need me and then the weekend they want to go and do something fun...As a family.


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