Yesterday I spent three hours writing a really sad and boring post about how medical school is making my life hard and then promptly deleted it because a) who cares and b) everyone has hard times sometimes and we are fine.
Two years ago I wrote a post about marrying a student that chronicled Austin’s sudden decision to become a doctor to our situation in the beginning of medical school. It is not an overly unique story. He was a bio major turned graphic designer turned 26-year-old guy getting married who was pretty bored at his desk job. The return to school after such a long break wasn’t easy, but he did it. We moved four times, twice with a newborn, and here we are two kids later, living a student’s life in a sleepy town in Pennsylvania.
I still get emails about that post, probably because so many of us have chosen to go back to school while also trying to start a family. It is tricky business.
He is at the end of his third year now which means he “works” every day on various rotations. Work means no pay, keeping your mouth shut, and sometimes holding open a skin flap. Right now he’s on trauma surgery and his next day off is two Sundays from now. It is bad, but not as bad as it will be two years from now when he’s in residency and working 80 hours a week for minimum wage. And really it will never be great. He will never be one of those dads who is always home by 5 and has every weekend free. He will be a dad working Sundays and late nights and every other holiday. He will be a dad who will definitely miss soccer games.
I joke that medical school is “the other woman” in our marriage, but really it is less of a joke and more the reality of coming to the end of a really long day of parenting and wishing your co-parent could take over so you can hide in the bathroom and take a quiet, peaceful shit.
I knew it would be hard, but sometimes the weight of it is very heavy, prompting me to feel very sorry for myself which is both unflattering and tiring. The moment I let those sad-faced demons in is the moment I begin to unravel. When I feel myself becoming the kind of woman I said I’d never be–ungrateful.
Here’s the thing: there is a time to let yourself feel overwhelmed and upset and quietly curse by the recycling bin and there is the time to remember how many other wives and husbands and moms and dads are working long hours and late nights and Sunday mornings. A time to remember that I am just one of many women (and men) staring at the clock and doing bath time and bottle time and dinner time alone.
It is hard work but it is good work. We are not alone.
And the good news is that the glass always ends up being half full even after Claire Dane cries and ugly breakdowns. Austin and I are in love even though he leaves his shoes all over the house and I leave my postpartum hairs all over the bathroom sink. He is a good dad and I am a good mom despite our big egos and impatient personalities. We can do hard things.