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The Loony Bin

August 10, 2012

The Medical Mistress

Last night, Thomas and I had an ugly fight.  For several weeks, we have known that we had an important appointment with Andrew that we needed to attend.  I arrived at the appointed time with Andrew and we waited.  The appointment began and Thomas never showed up or contacted me to let me know that something had gotten in the way.

Honestly, I am used to medicine being the priority in our family … this time though, it really annoyed me because his excuse was that he “got busy at work and forgot” and it had felt so important to me for him to be with us.

When I pointed out that he could have taken time off for this, he became defensive.  “My job is important”. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this and it won’t be the last, I’m sure. We were both tired and not feeling well though, and the angry words between us filled our home with gloom.

I left and met a medical spouse friend for coffee.  I knew I could complain  about the sacrifices that I’ve made through the years and how I feel that he doesn’t appreciate or respect all that I’ve done to make his career possible and she would nod and agree with me.

The man at the table next to me interrupted us.

“I’m a doctor.  I have worked extra hard and longer hours so that my wife could be a stay-at-home mom instead of working.  I have taken extra patients and worked longer days so that she could have the house she wanted, the money to sign up for expensive camps for our children, and to give us a vacation each year.  I came here tonight because I am frustrated that she threw it in my face that I’m not there enough for the family.  She doesn’t appreciate how hard I have worked to give her what she wanted.  She thinks I sacrificed our family for medicine.  She things I’m arrogant.  If I don’t self-promote on the job, I don’t look as competent and I don’t get the referrals and professional respect.  I can’t win!”

I honestly … had nothing to say except  I’m sorry.  My friend actually looked at the floor the entire time.  The truth is, I’ve never really looked at it that way and now I feel a little ashamed.  I have complained a lot about how medicine has gotten in the way of our marriage and family life and I have takned for granted that this job also has provided us with a nice home and many amenities.

I’m definitely feeling contemplative about it today.  Medicine is the mistress in this marriage … but am I in bed with her too?

  1. wow. That must have been humbling. But I don’t know if I totally agree with him. Sometimes I think that the Dr. husbands say they work so hard to give their wife “all that she wants” when really what she wants is his time. He’s trying to make her happy, and maybe she thinks that she “needs” the material things, but money can money really buy happiness? It doesn’t seem like it. What do you think?
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    Comment by Amber — August 13, 2012 @ 8:27 pm
  2. I don’t know, Amber. I think with societal expectations what they are, it’s easy to fall into the ‘bigger, better, more’ trap. Money doesn’t buy happiness. I do believe that. It does mske things easier when you have children who want lessons, instruments and new designer clothes.

    I drive a van that is 2003….I have never purchased clothing from Macy’s ….. I drive my kids to school in my jammies…..but a lot of med spouse peeps I know are much more refined and have more expensive tastes! Lol

    Comment by ~me~ — August 15, 2012 @ 11:33 am

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