Friday, June 1, 2012

A Doctor's Wife: A Single Mom Who Can't Date

This is Part 3 of my Doctor's Retirement Dinner Story
To catch up click here to read Part 1 
And here to read Part 2

I was in a room filled with doc wives and we had just met. Just nearly a minute into our conversation, she (a surgeon's wife), very neatly and succinctly, described our lives in less than fifteen seconds...

"People always say, 'Oh, wow! Your husband's a doctor!' and they think we have this glamorous life. But really we live the life of a single mom who can't date. Don't we? Where's the glamour in that?"

The glam life- blogging from a yachtSource

I felt like she had just slapped me across the face or poured cold water over me to wake me up. 

She was a few years old than I. Her children older than ours. While her youngest just finished his first year of college, our oldest has just done the same. She had had more years to ponder and reflect on what it was like to be a doctor's wife. 

And she was right, because here are the facts about being a doctor's wife:

  • You will find yourself alone. A LOT.
  • You will need to list someone else as your child's ICE contact.
  • You will need to call someone else when your car breaks down.
  • You will take the garbage out.
  • You will have to learn how to fix the toilet from leaking.
  • You will have to learn how to fix the wireless internet/printer connection.
  • You will go to school meetings... alone
  • You will go to your kids' games... alone.
  • You will go to your kids' school functions...alone.
  • You will make a double date with friends and go... alone.
  • You go to bed... alone
  • You wake up... alone

In reality- I'm probably doing thisSource
You get the idea, right? Glam life, for sure.

What could I say to her? She was absolutely right.  My eyes fell to the ground as I internalized and silently wrangled with her personal philosophy of our doc wife lives. And there on the ground, I found the answer to her question. It was the only upbeat answer I could come up with to such a pallid and unsavory reality...

"I think it's in our shoes."

This is the final installment of A Doctor's Retirement Dinner. The rest of the night was rather uneventful and would make for a boring post. I lived it and don't care to revive it through writing about it. Thank you for hanging in there with me!


  1. Hate to say it, but much of the same goes for being a coach's wife. He ain't coming to rescue me when the bases are loaded in the bottom of the fifth. The only difference is, there's lots of beer at our house. For after losses. And after wins too.

    1. LOL! I don't think I'd want to be at your house after a loss! Bummer!

  2. I experience this and my boyfriend is only a med student but currently in the PhD part of an MD/PhD program. He's in a lab all day long and I'm in an office. It's so easy for me to text/email him whenever I want but, sometimes, it will be HOURS before he can respond. This drives me nuts but I know if he could respond quickly, he would. I'm learning to let it go more and more because I either have to, or I have to leave him. I won't do the latter because he's fantastic but my point is: sometimes people are like, wow! Maybe you'll marry a doctor, etc. And I've never understood why that alone sounds so great. It's not as glamorous as it may sound to others - at all.If I wanted to marry someone for money, I'd marry a banker - they can make a lot more money and are a lot more accessible. I know I'm in for a lot of unresponsiveness and a lot of seeing/talking to him at whacky hours. It's tough on me sometimes but I know it's just as tough on him because it's not like he wants to be sleep deprived and out of pocket all the time. You either deal with it, or you don't. Here's hoping he goes into research and not surgery!!!

    1. Is he by chance interested in derm? That would be nice...

      However, you already get the picture and the solution- You just have to let it go and make due without him. Not ideal, but what more can a gal do?

    2. He IS thinking about derm. He's also thinking about pathology. I think he's eliminated anything surgery - I hopeee!!

  3. And here's hoping he NEVER leaves his pager at home... :)

    1. Oye. Don't remind me. Hold on. I think I feel a headache coming on.

  4. Not a doctor's wife but that pretty much describes my life as a sports writer's life...and of course certain seasons football/basketball (august-march) are even more lonely.

    1. Yowza. Never thought about that profession and how it could impact family life.

  5. I worry about doing this to The Lawyer, but for now, he has his own work to distract him and I'm a bad med. student who texts and checks her email in class, so I still talk to him all day anyway. I do worry about my precious future babies and their daddy handling everything alone, though.

    1. But there's a difference isn't there? I mean, I know plenty of female surgeons who do it all. It's absolutely bonkers!!! I don't know how or even why they do it all. They always look half crazed, poor things. I feel for them. They've got it HARD!!!

  6. I have such mixed feelings about becoming a doctor's wife. This whole medical school process is hard, and I have no idea if it will get better or worse when he finally makes it. I think the best I can do is enjoy the time we do have & work on enjoying my independence.

    1. You are so right about that! I think a lot depends on what specialty he chooses.

      Definitely learn to embrace independence!

  7. Hey Robbie K... How 'bout, I AM the sports writer, married to the coach..

  8. I'm only a nurse's wife, but I could relate to this a bit. Including the fact that he worked night shift and weekends, and I was a college student for the first year and a half of our marriage, occasionally there were times when I literally didn't see him for a few days at a time, even though we lived in the same house. He works days now, which I am so grateful for!

  9. I've heard similar remarks of being married to someone in the military and it always rubs me a little wrong because they seem to imply that we should want to be out dating and so on instead of with our husbands. I think she could have left it at that it's not as glamorous as it seems and that she has to spend a lot of time alone/as the sole caretaker of her kids without the 'who can't date' part, but that's just me.

  10. {Kathy} Leaving church one day with our four kids, a nice lady observed my husband and I getting into separate cars to leave. We gave each other a kiss and he went to the hospital to round and I went home. She came up to me and said, "I'm so glad you met a nice man!"
    "What? That's my husband!"
    "Oh, I always see you two in separate cars and you alone in church....I thought you were single. That's great then. Congratulations!"
    That was a very sobering moment for both of us. We (he) changed the way we do things dramatically. If we look like we are single moms to the rest of the world, what prevents people thinking of us as single? What prevents us from thinking we are somehow "single"?
    That issue is huge!!!

  11. Great post as I've been discovering this the past oh year or so. Girlfriend of a doctor:-) He is applying for fellowships now. He seems to think it will get a lot better when he goes into fellowship but I have a feeling it may be just the same as residency in a matter of speaking. Truth be told I almost left a few times because the feelings of neglect almost got to much to bear but I have found a lot of comfort in reading blogs such as yours and even reading Medical Marriage.

    Just to know what I'm feeling is not uncommon and I'm not alone. We all love and miss our men that happen to be doctors by profession. So I know what you mean when people seem to think it's a life of all glam. It takes two committed people to hold a relationship together under those conditions.

  12. Great post as I'm discovering this side of the life of a doctors significant and I've experienced almost off the things on your list. Girlfriend of a doc here:-)

    He is applying for fellowship and seems to think it may get better once he goes into fellowship but I have a feeling it will be just as hectic.

    I also witnessed other people thinking its a glam lifestyle. I miss the man whom I love that just so happens to be a doctor by profession. It's difficult but I really find comfort in the these blogs and I'm also reading Medical Marriage. We are not married but I feel we go through similar feelings having to manage our time together wisely.

  13. married to a surgeon. its hell. and it never gets better. single parent who can't date. ha. thats exactly how it feels.....


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