Archive for the ‘Stereotypes’ Category

This is the most frequent “compliment” I receive.  Within a few short weeks of my husband starting residency I discovered that I was part of a stereotype that I didn’t even know existed.  I was now supposed to be rich, snooty and out of touch with reality.  I was supposed to hire a nanny and spend my days shopping for designer labels, working out with my personal trainer and staying current with my Botox injections.  I should be unapproachable, have no understanding of a “paycheck-to-paycheck” lifestyle, live in a huge house and drive something along the lines of an Escalade.  I didn’t know that I was supposed to be filling this image for people, so I dared to walk around being friendly, anxious to make new friends.  I was open about the fact that my husband was a doctor and all of the hard work he did to get there.  I was excited to be able to afford a mortgage payment, to go out to eat for something other than mexican food, and to have a husband raking in a $37,000 salary for 80 hour work weeks.  We had hit the big-time!  

Unfortunately, my excitement seemed to only be shared by those in the same position.  I found myself relating easily to other “doctors’ wives” and to those I knew before I was a doctor’s wife.  I eventually became very guarded about my husband’s profession.  I wanted to keep that “secret” for as long as possible when I met someone new.  All of my husband’s hard work had almost become a burden on me.    

Fast forward five years later.  Family Man is in an established practice.  The salary, the location, and the number of children has changed, but the stereotype has not.  The first person I met at our new location approached me after finding out my daughter’s last name.  Our girls were in dance together.  She asked me if I knew Dr. Family Man.  I said “Yes, he’s my husband.”  A look of shock came over her face.  I will never forget the next thing that came out of her mouth.  “The doctor is your husband?  You don’t act like a doctor’s wife!”  I gave a half-smile and said “Well, I am!”  We started talking as we would pass dropping our kids off at dance.  We sat together and talked at the recital rehearsal.  She would introduce me to her friends (she’s lived in this area her whole life) and she would tell them that I was married to Dr. Family Man, but that I don’t act like a doctor’s wife.  One day I asked her what she thinks doctors’ wives are supposed to act like.  She told me they are usually “awful.”  I told her I had met quite a few awful people and very few of them were married to doctors.  

Today I sit here hoping that someday the profession of being a doctor will regain the respect that it carried as few as 10 years ago.  Along with that I hope that those who are married to doctors are seen for the people they are, not the stereotype that they fall into.


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