Working from home can be an isolating experience. Especially if you are shy and bad at making friends like someone I know. So for a while now, I’ve turned to the Internet for “help.”
When I got engaged, I found gazillions of blogs dedicated to wedding planning, dozens of which I followed faithfully. After I got married, I turned to the blog world again for advice on wifehood and nesting. So when I had the Big Realization that I am now a Doctor’s Wife and finally acknowledged the implications of that life change, I started looking for blogs that could help me through it.
Slim pickings, my friend. At least so far.
But what I did come across was something I hadn’t really thought about (see my first post about being a total idiot and thinking life would never change) – which was the stereotype related to being a doctor’s wife.
I get it, stereotypes exist and they’re not going anywhere. Putting people into neat little boxes of “You Are the Same” can be a big help as you navigate life. (Accepting the fact that Freshly Cleaned Apartments Will Not Actually Be Clean When You Move Into Them is one such helpful stereotype. It made me pack the vacuum cleaner and the bleach spray last in the moving truck, so that I could unload them first and give the place a thorough cleaning before we moved all our stuff inside. Plus, it prevented me from fainting dead away when I saw someone else’s hairs PAINTED into the baseboards of the bathroom.)
But if you discover anything useful as you get older, I think that Stereotypes Are Not Always Right is right up there with Flossing Really IS Important.
But I was a little surprised to discover that being a doctor’s wife comes with its own set of stereotypes. I guess I never encountered those stereotypes growing up, since my mom is a doctor’s wife. Or maybe I let them slide in one ear and out the other because they didn’t fit my own experience.
Anyway, it seems that doctor’s wives are supposed to be snotty, snooty, high-society types who don’t work and instead spend all day heading up charities or shopping at Gucci or directing the household help to wash the dishes. At night, they get all gussied up in their Valentino gowns and play the gracious hostess at fancy dinner parties or schmooze the other doctors at fancy galas.
Then there’s the other stereotype. (Talk about a 180 from stereotype #1.) Apparently, from my very extensive perusal of the Interwebs, doctor’s wives are also supposed to be frazzled moms who can’t control the household on their own, who resent their husbands and their jobs and the hospital and the patients, and who wind up losing their husbands to some big-knockered nurse who tends to him at the hospital.
Wow. Sounds like fun.
Now, in my real life experience, neither of these stereotypes is true.
But what freaks me out? Is that I can understand why they WOULD or COULD be true.
First of all, if you’re lucky enough to be wealthy (Note: Not all doctors are wealthy. Certainly not first-year residents.) you probably do have the luxury of not working if you so choose, and perhaps spending your days ordering “fall jewelry” at Cartier or getting massages at the spa. I don’t see a problem with that at all. And if you’ve got a gala event to attend, OF COURSE you need an amazing ballgown to wear. Plus, sometimes people who have less just assume that you’re snotty… or would prefer to believe that you’re snotty than admit to being envious.
Then there’s Stereotype #2…
My parents raised me to be independent. For the most part, this is true. I can spend time alone, I can entertain myself, and I can pursue my own interests. My happiness isn’t dependent on my husband.
But still… I adore my husband. I love spending time with him. And I do get lonely – more often than I like to admit. So I could definitely see the potential for resenting the thing that takes him away from me.
Plus, consider me the top candidate for Frazzled Housewife. Internet, I am NOT neat. Clean, yes. But sloppy as all get out. (Which explains all the boxes even though we’ve been living in our new place for over a week now.)
And – while this makes me feel a little vulnerable and silly and pathetic to admit – I do worry a little bit about the nurse thing. Not that my husband would ever cheat on me. He is a good and loving husband, and I truly believe that he would never do something like that. Nonetheless, I know that working closely with someone can create Deep Feelings. And even the kindest, most loving husbands can be affected by that.
The fact is, being a doctor’s wife brings up worries that I am not quite sure how to handle.