Home > Dreams, FTIAT, Love, Parenting, Work > FTIAT: The Nitty-Gritty Life of a Med Student’s Wife

FTIAT: The Nitty-Gritty Life of a Med Student’s Wife

sisters nowRachael (The Ramblings of a Would-be Writer) is my just-younger sister, my Silver Star. She’s a little late to the FTIAT shindig, but for my Big Little Sister? I’d extend just about any party. And, hey … for this once, it’s not even a pity party!

Sharing her thanks on my twentieth bloggingversary means I’m compelled to also share a relevant blog excerpt from 18.5 years ago:

A boy asked her out last week and well, let me tell you, he’s got the Big Sis’ seal of approval! He’s at that wonderful awkward stage that all teenagers seem to hit… you know, that one I’m still not past. 🙂

Recommended postSurrounding Yourself with Good: How We Chose Our Children’s Godparents

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The Nitty-Gritty Life of a Med Student’s Wife

So, as most would no doubt imagine, being the spouse of someone attending medical school while raising two small children (one and three years old, respectively) and working full time can get a little stressful. And while there are days that I ache with every fiber in my being, where my head feels like exploding, my chest thumps the ‘can-I-really-do-this-and-keep-my-sanity’ heavy thump of near-implosion, and my eyes droop from too little sleep – with all that being true – I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I don’t know what the next four years will bring as my husband completes medical school, but I do know this – I will be by his side, lifting him up just as he has lifted me up so many times before this. Why on earth would I consent to get on this bus headed toward crazy-town? Well, the reasons are pretty simple: (1) I love him and want to see him happy, and (2) I am so thankful that he’s doing it, because he’s showing our kids that it’s never too late to find what you love.

I am thankful that after years of pursuing a career he thought he should being doing simply because he was good at it, he found the courage to pursue a career he knew he’d love. I’m thankful for the light in his eyes when he’s talking about medicine, the laughter that is back in his voice, and the joy he takes in discovering and sharing the new things he’s learning. Sure, sometimes I don’t have the energy to listen really well after a day of waking up with the baby multiple times in the night, taking the kids to school at 6:45 a.m., getting the dishes in the dishwasher, the laundry going, then starting work, making lunch, picking the kids up, feeding them healthy (mostly) organic foods, entertaining them and getting them to bed (which usually takes until 10pm, since a certain three-year-old believes night-time is an evil prank we’re playing on her)… But I am so thankful for it, and I’m thankful for the times when I do have the energy and that I get to learn little bits and see him so alive as he gets to share a piece of his world with me. I’ve never been more proud of him. I’m sure I’ll say that many more times in the years to come.

I love that he’s setting the example for our children that if you believe in yourself, anything is possible. And in doing so, he’s also showing them that pursuing what you love isn’t all rainbows and pancakes. You have to work for it. He didn’t get in on his first application, and although he felt demoralized, he kept at it. He got into a wonderful school (and got the news that he was waitlisted the day our son was born, and found out a week later that he was in). In pursuing your dreams, you have to give up a lot, and there will be days where you forget who you are and why you’re doing it, but, you can do it. And it’s worth it.

The road has been and will be rocky, don’t get me wrong. If there’s anyone who’s supporting a family and medical student through school who says that everything is fine and dandy, and they’re walking on perfect clouds of cotton candy – well, I call bullshit. These folks may need to talk somewhere safe and privately, because they probably need someone they can be honest with and a shoulder where they can have a good cry. Or, for their sanity, they may need to pretend away the hard times, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. The spouse has to lift a lot of the burden of every-day things onto their shoulders to ensure the student has enough time to study, in addition to being a father and a husband. It can feel thankless. That’s just the truth. But, in all honesty, there’s a lot of give/take and rolling with the proverbial punches that goes with the territory. The routine constantly changes, which throws the newly found balance into flux, but, and I can say this honestly, we’re getting the hang of it. Finally!

We’ve learned to let go a little more, to give a little space, to assume the other person’s mis-speaking comes from a place of tiredness mixed with good intentions, and to schedule at least ten minutes for each other a day. It doesn’t sound like much, but in the chaos of parenthood and school and work, those ten minutes are priceless.

I’m thankful for the time my husband takes away from his studies to have some dedicated family time. I’m thankful for three-year-old daughter who tells me very seriously, “Mommies work and daddies study. That’s what makes them happy!” Because I am happy. Even when my nerves aches, my head is splitting, and I’m on my third night in a row of entertaining the kids solo, and the house is a mess, the dishes are piled in the sink, on the counter, and the laundry is heaping – I am happy.

Plus, as he just finished his first year of med school, guess what my would-be-doctor got me to say thanks for all that I’m doing?


It’s a litograph t-shirt with the entire text (in translation from the original Old English) of Beowulf. It made my nerdy heart burst with happiness, and the sweet words he said while he gave it to me made the gift all the more precious.

He knows me very well. 🙂 So, I can say, I’m thankful for my husband, who helped me find myself all those years ago, and who is now giving me the opportunity to return the favor.

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  1. June 24, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Oh, so many feelings! I love how incredibly positive and supportive you are in this challenging phase, how you see the immense good through the fatigue and grind!

    My husband is a doctor, and we got married right before residency, and I had two kids during his program, also worked, also was exhausted! Now that he’s been working (like, done with training working) for nearly five years, all the stress and difficulty really have faded into the back (or maybe I’ve suppressed the memories, there’s always that…).

    Best wishes to you on this journey, and I wish you much love and energy, support and continued positivity.

    • June 24, 2015 at 11:02 pm

      Thank you so much, Rivki! It is so incredibly challenging, and I’ll admit there are days when I question myself. The hardest part was really uprooting my family to move to a different city. In those initial months, I felt so very alone, especially as my infant son was sick all the time. Now, I know the city a bit better, I’ve laid down my roots, my kids are acclimated, and my husband I have actually grown closer from the experience. 🙂 Thank you again for your kind words and your well wishes – they are much appreciated!

  2. June 25, 2015 at 7:02 am

    “Mommies work and daddies study. That’s what makes them happy!” 😀

    Parenting: that’s how you know you’re doing something right.

    • July 2, 2015 at 10:45 pm

      Aww, thank you, Alice! It often feels like we’re just winging it, but I gotta say, these little critters certainly have won our hearts. 🙂

  3. June 25, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    I’m so happy for N. that he’s working toward doing what he wants to do. You are an awesome wife and an awesome mom! I don’t know how you do what you do. I’m glad you are growing closer and hope you continue to do so. You are both such great people and I am glad to have you as a sister and N. for a brother. It’s amazing that he’s been a part of my life for almost 2/3’s of it. 18.5 or so according to d.’s recent blog! Love you guys

    • July 2, 2015 at 10:53 pm

      Thank you, M! I am so happy, too. The beginning was pretty rough, especially while Rand was an infant and staying home with me. We’re sorting out the hiccoughs, and his constantly changing schedule (as you are quite familiar with!), always throws a wrench into things, but we’re getting there! And the time is amazing, eh? We started dating February 1997, so yeah, about 18.5 years. We’ve officially been together for more than half my life. 🙂 I’m glad you’re my sister

  1. June 23, 2015 at 9:48 pm
  2. July 7, 2015 at 12:49 pm
  3. January 6, 2016 at 6:01 pm

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