Housewife Confessions

A Doctor’s Housewife: A Life of Inconsistency

I have recently realized something very revolutionary. While I will never be capable of my husband’s job, he isn’t capable of mine either. My husband could never handle the inconsistency and loneliness (boredom, perhaps) that goes along with being a doctor’s wife. Before passing judgment hear me out, my husband is the love of my life… and I’ve very much enjoyed being his housewife (during my stint of unemployment)– but all jobs, including housewifery has its downfalls…

While he is in clinic, consulting with other doctors, I am home doing laundry… Alone.

While he is in the O.R., surrounded by medical students, nurses, and superior doctors, I am doing the dishes… Alone.

While he is rounding on patients, and meeting with families, I am cleaning the house… Alone.

While he is writing medical notes and dissertations, with other doctors, I am at home preparing dinner… Alone.

Sure, I get the occasional “I Love You” text from him throughout the day, and it makes me smile… and on other days I may have lunch with a friend… or a fellow Doctor’s Housewife…. but all-in-all, I am still home alone…. All Day.

Some days the only interaction that a Doctor’s Housewife has is with her husband; and he rarely understands the loneliness/boredom. Sometimes I tell my husband, “I’m lonely, I’m bored. I haven’t had anyone to talk to all day.” He replies with, “Neither have I, I’ve been working all day.” He doesn’t realize, though, that his day has been full of interactions, some professional, some personal…. The “how are you doing Doctor?,” from a nice nurse, or the “What do you think about this patient?”, from an attending doctor IS CONVERSATION… IT IS INTERACTION.

That covers the boredom, now for the inconsistency.

A doctor’s wife never knows when her husband will be home; additionally, she never knows when he will be called in to the hospital. One example would be my 26th Birthday dinner… We went to a Mexican restaurant with two friends, as we were being led to the table by the waiter my husband was called out to deliver a baby. How can I compete with that? I can’t get mad… I mean, it’s a baby. I understand that he has to leave immediately when he is called out, and I’m extremely proud of the job he does, and his dedication to it. But it still doesn’t make things any easier. We have officially adopted the premise that we must drive separately to events; movies, dinners, dates of any kind—just in case he gets called out.

Another aspect of the inconsistency is the dreaded Doctor’s Housewife questions: “When can I expect you home?”, or “What time should I have dinner ready?”. The answer is almost always, “I don’t know.” –truer words have never been spoken; he could be home at 6:00, or he could be home at 10:00– This makes having a warm and fresh dinner waiting on the table a very hard job.

The man I married is an amazing doctor, and an even better husband. He is the love of my life, and I’m thankful every day to have found him. But now I know what people meant (during the dating phase) when they said, “you’re with a medical student? I hope you know what you are getting yourself into.”

Someday, soon probably, I will go back to work. That may be a partial cure for the loneliness. But the inconsistency will always remain. When we have children there will be many missed t-ball games, missed recitals, missed dinners, missed Christmas mornings… and as high school approaches there will be missed mother-child-fights, missed proms and missed basketball games (you can tell, I hope I have an athlete). I just hope that my offspring can handle the inconsistency as well as I have. And I hope I can be the rock for our children that my husband has always been for me.

But at the end of the day, I realize. I have a husband, who works his butt of to support me, and to keep people healthy. He will be an amazing father, as he has been an amazing husband. He won’t always be there physically—but his love is always with me.

Yea, being a Doctor’s Housewife is hard… but well worth it.


p.s….and you may wonder, “if you have problems with your situation, why not get a job?”….. Ummm, yea– the history teacher job market is virtually nonexistent.

An old post re-pinged for the prompt Lonely.

14 comments on “A Doctor’s Housewife: A Life of Inconsistency

  1. Jane Murray

    Mother was a fine doctor’s wife. She volunteered for March of Dimes for over 25 yrs, did church work, spearheaded drives for clothes, food, the orphanage that was at Bloomington, and raised my sister and I, giving up nursing when we were adopted. I know for you this is a temporary status, you will again be a fabulous teacher. Any district should be proud to have you as an employee.

    • Thank you very much. I really appreciate the kind words. Being a housewife has grown on me, but being in the classroom is my true passion… I don’t think it will be long before I find myself in front of a class again. Until then, I’ll continue with this extremely spontaneous life.

  2. Female doctor

    Why not stop being a housewife and get a job that allows for your own interaction with people? Seems simple enough to me.

    • That is a valiant suggestion– and it’s empowering coming from a woman. However, the job market for teacher’s and political scientist’s is hard right now. I’ve been out of work since May (teaching budget cuts and pink slips)– not a very long time, but long enough to be frustrated by the lack of job availability. So “stopping and getting a job” is something I’ve worked hard to do… but no cigar. I’ve considered going back to school if I don’t have luck by the beginning of next school year.
      … and even if I had a job, the inconsistency still wouldn’t disappear– but there is nothing wrong with that.

    • It isn’t as if jobs can be garnered as easily as the media and politicos have made it out to be, even something part-time (especially for someone who is over-qualified and/or “over-educated”). Mrs. Mosley’s particular area of employ is, as she has indicated, saturated with candidates and limited in openings. School systems are suffering massive cutbacks, forcing them to let go of teachers and staff. Also, the concept of tenure is being dismantled in many areas of the country. There’s simply no incentive for good teachers to stay in a profession that’s treated so poorly.

  3. hi, i think you have expressed the inconsistencies of your life very well – loneliness – but one that is well worth it. advices of ‘why don’t you get a job’ – well you have one – you’re looking after the home – and the picture of you and your husband is beautiful.
    i’m not trying to jump on the advice bandwagon, but you could follow your passions from home – but maybe political science and history aren’t your passions any more?

    everything in life has a positive spin if we can look at it that way – even the cuts to education and thus no jobs around has enabled you to take more time at home – in your loneliness – to ponder, and write this blog!

    look forward to hearing more


  4. Pingback: Past, Present and Future: Learning & Mistakes | Ramisa the Authoress

  5. J.M. Hughes

    I know you wrote this piece a few years ago, but my feelings of social isolation and loneliness had me googling SAHM, Doctor’s wife, Lonely, and a few other terms, and I came across your blog. It’s comforting to know there are other DW’s out there that feel alone. As an educated woman, it was even more difficult to come to terms with a sense of not feeling accomplished, even if I worked my tail end off, day in and day out. My husband is a 15 year ER doctor (after 5 years of being tied to a pager and a practice), and we have had four children through it all. Our youngest is 10, and our oldest is 20, and one of them has autism. I’ve found that the loneliness gets worse over time, and after being out of the workforce for nearly 15 years (not to mention we live in a rural area where jobs are scarce), I’m qualified for nothing. I fell into writing, and I have five published novels, but I think it’s merely my way of escaping the reality of a difficult situation. I’m not sure it’s a healthy approach. Anyway, I enjoyed your post, and I’m glad you found your way back to the classroom. My circumstances wouldn’t have allowed me to work outside the home as I often had doctor’s appointments and such with our autistic son. Being a wife and mother is tough enough, no matter if you work or not. As a doctor’s wife, society places these “rules” on us, and it’s difficult to find true friends that understand the sacrifices we make (and our kids) so that our husbands can take care of the public’s needs.

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