I Need A Wife

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“Mommy, we want daddy to be more like you and you to be more like daddy,” my son said.

We were in the car on the way to school discussing who was going to be picking them up that day (it might be daddy) and that daddy would be making them dinner as per our usual.

“Yeah, mommy,” my daughter sniffed, “be more like daddy. Don’t be like you.”

My heart hurt. There was nothing I could really say to that. My kids recognize that gender roles in our family are different and they do not like it. Short of quitting medicine, this is the way things are, the way they will be.

A mother who practices medicine HAS to have a “wife”, someone who is in charge of the minutia (like birthdays, activities, homework, laundry, dinner, groceries, etc.) and who can be flexible in case of emergencies. I am blessed that I have help. There are tons of working mothers who have no support whatsoever.

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103 thoughts on “I Need A Wife

  1. My heart feels for you. Whatever career a woman has, she would do well to have a wife. I always wanted one, too. It helped when my husband went part-time (as a high school teacher, to a 3/5 teaching load.) But it didn’t fix everything. OTOH our son is sturdy and flexible now, as your children are, too.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. They’ll adjust, Victo. I always earned more than my husband, so he was the one who took care of the girls during the day – getting them to and from school, making lunches, attending school events, drying tears, etc. I felt like the worst mom ever sometimes, but we did have a house to maintain and food needed to be put on the table. It all turned out just fine – my girls love their dad and they also love me, and they’ve turned into perfectly well-adjusted young women. Each family has to learn what dynamic works best for their situation, and each family is different. There’s no law that says moms and dads need to stick to specific gender-related jobs if they’re both capable and willing to raise their kids.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The children will realize how important your work is and that you are doing your best to balance family responsibilities and your medical practice. It is probably difficult now for them to grasp but they will understand soon enough. Thank goodness you have help.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I can certainly see why a statement like that would tug at your heartstrings. As you said, you are incredibly lucky that you have the help. Your children will understand “life” when they’re older and will appreciate the working system in which they were raised.
    I’m not sure there are tons of representations in current media which reflect families where the mother is more of the primary worker outside of the home, but definitely gender roles and family dynamics have changed drastically even since I was a child. (I hope that makes sense-it’s after 1:00 PM and I’m just getting up and having coffee.)
    This isn’t much of a consolation, but I work with families where one parent is totally out of the picture and the primary caregiver isn’t employed but still has no time or interest invested in rearing. It sounds like you’re doing a great job.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow that is a tough nut to swallow…I work out of my home office (but I did not always have that luxury)…sort of guilt ridden early on. With a lot of help from my parents and in-laws (and still do), I was able to amble onward. No easy answer, you are doing the best you can possibly do!!! Have a great weekend-want to attend a birthday party with 37 screaming 5 year olds??? Cheryl LOL

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  6. You know, all it will really take for them to realize that they have it pretty good would be for you to get home from your long day, tired, and have to cook them something to eat. When they are still hungry at 7, 7:30, 7:45, and dinner is still not ready, they might just appreciate the normal way of things!

    You are very lucky. My husband works at home and while he would kill us off with his cooking, he does take care of tons of stuff that wouldn’t get done otherwise …

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  7. Over the years, I’ve learned all parents, maybe more so mothers, have this constant debate society asks us to participate in. Over the years, I’ve seen all sides, lived several as a child and as a mother. It’s absolutely not fair to have children’s expectations added to the mix.
    I cringe similarly when my kids want their father when they’re hurt, or how they like he wakes them without light, but meh…In the end, we have to do what’s right for us, while doing right by them.
    You’re doing it right. They’ll adapt.
    (Besides, whose kids are everything they want them to be at all times? But you’d never say that aloud. “Why can’t you be more like ___?” Never, do you? See?)
    Just food for thought.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. In light of what I am about to release on my own blog as a follow-up to the rant of a few days ago I want to respectfully acknowledge your viewpoint, although I do not share many of the ideals. I absolutely understand your desires to be a part of those everyday moments with your children, but you are also giving them a gift that I hope will plant seeds for them to question roles and expectations prevalent in our society as they grow and find their own voices.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. If it’s any consultation, and I think I speak for most if not all your readers, we are very glad that you’re like you! ๐Ÿ™‚ โ™กโ™กโ™กโ™กโ™กโ™กโ™กโ™กโ™กโ™กโ™กโ™กโ™กโ™กโ™ก

    Liked by 2 people

  10. You are a great role model for you children. I am sure you struggle more with this than they do. Maybe by the time they get married, the old stereotypes will be gone and they will see nothing in role gender. I hope so.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We seem to be stuck in our evolutionary roles no matter our desires. It is fascinating that your children recognize that. My mum worked and my grandmother looked after me. I complained incessantly about this ‘not being normal’ but in many ways I was loved and looked after better than all the other families in our neighborhood. On a lighter note, polygamy works both ways…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. For some reason, children that age often have a hard time seeing beyond stereotypical gender roles. There are adults who seem to have that difficulty also. Hopefully your kids will grow out it, and one day appreciate the contributions both you and their father have made to their well-being.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. After more than 30 years as the proud feminist/primary bread-winner (the only breadwinner for 10 of those years) I’m planning to accept my husband’s offer to become semi-retired and work from home in a few months. It’s kind of scary. But then, I remember being a stay at home mom for three whole months while on maternity leave, and it how was like a slice of heaven. Now, I’m surprised to feel a little excited by the idea of being a “housewife.” Keep enjoying those days off. There will be more of them in the future, because the days are long, but the years are short.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My family is similar – I work crazy hours on a regular basis, but my husband generally works from home. This means he takes care of picking my daughter up from school, running errands, cooking meals. He’s out of town now and tonight my daughter actually had to train me in how daddy handles dinner, bath time, bedtime. It used to really bother me but I’ve trained myself out of it. Lately I’ve been wishing again that I could be more present in a traditional mom kind of way… Finding that balance can be so hard, I can only imagine how difficult it is with the unbelievable schedule of a physician.

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    • The unpredictability is the biggest issue as a physician. As I was saying in the post before, you cannot really schedule emergencies and invariably one will ALWAYS occur when I need to be somewhere for my kids. Murphy’s Law, I guess? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  15. The daughters of working mothers are more likely to go on to be successful career women and having a positive role model is such a gift. We are lucky to have the financial gains that come with medicine to pay for treats and outsourcing housework. I tell my kids repeatedly that the reason they get holidays and nice things is because mummy has been to work. It’s so hard, I pray that my children aren’t damaged by my absences from their life. At least we have a job we love. They’ll understand one day. Like when they are 40!

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  16. I have a friend who is a Lawyer and she said almost the same thing about five years ago. After a bit of thought and a chat with her husband she went in and spoke with the senior partner and they agreed that she would work one less day a week for a year to see how it worked. She dropped 20% in salary and claimed a 100% improvement in her life. After she drops the kids off to school she does some of the “the minutia (like birthdays, activities, homework, laundry, dinner, groceries, etc.)” and also started taking some art courses at the local art school. She reckons she’s busier than she ever was but a lot happier and so is her husband and her children.

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  17. I just have to say something to you, my mom was a nurse, she then became a director of nursing, I was about 8-10 years old. She then became a VP and in the end when she retired, she had 2,000 people she was in charge of! she was gone to meetings early mornings, was out of town giving lectures, attending meetings! My dear father kept the house moving and was the mom/dad! I did miss my mom many days but I learned how to cook, take care of a house hold and became very well organized. All things that would help me in my struggles in life. I admire my mom so much to this day, she always did what she could and I knew she loved me first! So, just from a daughter who had a dad who was in charge, I would not change it and have always been so proud of my super strong mother!!Love Lynn

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  18. I wholeheartedly believe that your children also see the incredible team you and your husband make! They thrive on that feeling of safety and love your teamwork provides, regardless of you does what and when! And the benefit of seeing how the two of you love, invest in, and communicate to always meet the ever-changing needs of the family is priceless. It lasts a lifetime.

    But I very much understand the pull on your heartstrings and what your heart wants or longs for.

    Kay๐Ÿ’œ

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    • Kids this age are fickle. This morning I made Rosemary Parmesian Waffles for breakfast. At first they said they must be awful because they were not brown like daddy’s whole wheat waffles. After trying them, finally, I was told (and I quote) “Mommy, these waffles are three times better than daddy’s!” Then, after scarfing down 1 1/2 waffles at lightening speed my son realized that there was a bit of green in there from the rosemary and flipped out, refusing to eat another bite, ever. “Mommy, daddy’s waffles are so much better after all!” My daughter then joined in on the hunger strike.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Everyone needs a wife!
    I was lucky enough to be able to stay at home when my children were growing up – that doesn’t mean I didn’t work and I would have loved a wife so that I could pursue other things much more interesting and rewarding and respected.
    And I do realise the demands of your job make this all the more difficult to juggle.
    After I was divorced I went to see a psychologist to help with my own and my children’s transition time – he said “relax in the knowledge that ‘Mum’ is always going to be wrong, don’t even try to be the perfect Mum, they don’t exist” – it helped me at the time and in years to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Oh, this makes my heart hurt – and it’s not even my experience. You’re obviously an amazing person they want to spend time with ๐Ÿ˜‰ but would they say they same thing to Daddy if he were the physician? I hate how society finds more and more ways to make us feel guilty. At least your ‘wife’ supports you. Best to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. My youngest daughter, who came back from George Washington University all fired up about gender issues would be delighted. (Evil laugh)
    Don’t let your kids get into your head. Otherwise you really are screwed for the rest of your life. Kids will attempt to control every single aspect of your life, if you let them. Heed them not. Love them plenty, but like I/we always told our daughters: “A family ain’t a democracy”. Now, for the past 25 years, my wife has been able to do what she loves: high-end research in Chemistry. Since I had my own company, I put my offices close to school and home and generally picked the kids up for lunch (and many of their little friends). When I was stuck in a meeting, our live-in maid would pick the kids up. Walking distance. and She is now more of a second mother to the kids, Part of the family.
    Anyway. Don’t beat yourself up. Good you can get/afford help. You don’t need a “wife”, you just need an assistant. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you my friend, I just figure what you can be going through. I once did a survey (opinion research) on Mexican women. The main point in all levels of society was the double job: office then home. Most my clients were women (60%) top female executives, very successful, but they couldn’t make do without the maid. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Interesting article. Couples share the domestic roles, but at times, one does much, that’s your case. Since you know how busy your wife’s professional life is, it gives you the satisfaction to do more to satisfy the needs of the children. Your children have seen your great services to the family, and wish mother could do the same. They should understand Mummy’s situation and be happy Daddy is always there for them.

    Liked by 1 person

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