I shared months ago that the next Residency Forum would be a discussion of careers, specifically confronting the question, "Can a doctor's wife have a career?"
I think it deserves to be spoken about in an open way.
So, can a doctor's wife have a career?
Obviously, the answer is YES, of course!!
And here comes the counterclaim: I'd confidently say that what career and the cost involved is the what this question quickly leads to.
I'll just throw this out there -I have no idea how to start this discussion. There's just too much to discuss, and the fear of leaving something or someone out makes me cautious to continue. That being said, consider the following paragraphs a continuum of babbling thoughts as I consider the weight of my career choices and how that relates to our marriage and future goals.
To give you a bit of perspective of where I am coming from and the struggles I have with this topic, let me peel back the onion a bit. For those who are new around here, here's a quick snapshot:
We've been married for three and half years and Kyle is a second year resident in ENT. I work full-time as a program manager and run a photography business. We don't have any children, except if you consider our pup Maizy (which, let's be honest, she's pretty much human.) My take on the subject is solely from what I've experienced and observed from where we are now. (i.e. 10 years down the line my take on this may be vastly different.)
I will be straightforward: the strain of working outside the home and having a husband in residency is palpable. Very palpable. (I would imagine working in the home is no different)
I grew up with hardworking parents, so the idea of not working (outside of the home) never crossed my mind. In the last year, my thoughts have begun to change on this subject. Thank the medical world for that one. Simply put, the reason it works for us right now is 1)I have a relatively flexible job. I can leave to meet the cable guy or pick up the car from the shop or go in late because we lost power. All of those examples may seem silly, but they are all inconvenient and time consuming, and let's face it - someone has to take care of business. 2) I enjoy working. 3) My career keeps me challenged and relevant. 4) We only have us two to take care of. My work is fully aware that my job needs to be flexible, and although I don't think that my work should suffer as a result of my spouse's job, sometimes that is unavoidable. It's no one's direct fault, just a product of the system.
I really love both of my careers and take pride in the work I get to do. I also take pride in the work that Kyle gets to do. But, if my day job required me to work 60+ hours a week, our lives would look much different. We would most likely be hiring everything out (including simple things like mowing the lawn), our friendships would be scarce, time with our family limited and our relationship would show the cracks of two strained individuals. Our "making a life," would be different than being able to live it. It's not hard to see glimpses of that now as there are many times that juggling it all seems impossible.
My mind has been mulling over all of these "what about..." thoughts for quite some time. What am I willing to sacrifice to have a career outside of the home? At what cost? What gives?
Truth is, it would look different if my husband had a 8-5 job. He doesn't. It would be ignorant of me to think that I can do it all. I can't.
At the end of the day, our priorities in life shouldn't be a successful career, but successful careers (however one would define that) should be the byproduct of having the right priorities.
When we said "I Do," I was accepting everything of him and he of me. Including our career aspirations. We made a decision to live our lives together, fully knowing that there would be many compromises along the way. I want to be clear that this discussion isn't to come down on husbands for working hard and often. Kyle is providing for our family and for that, I'm thankful and humbled by his incredible work ethic. Yes, my career may currently be in the back seat relative to his, but when I look at the things that matter in life, I can hardly complain about that temporary compromise.
Hearing other people's perspectives, life experiences and decisions certainly makes this conversation, ah, a conversation. Especially when it comes to a topic so personal and sensitive. If you're interested in writing about your perspective on the issue, please let me know.
In the mean time,
What are your thoughts?
Do you find that your husband's career has affected yours?
Have you found that your career has taken a backseat to your husband's medical aspirations?
Looking forward to the conversations to come :)