Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Awkward Mom vs. Doctor-wifing

We were on the interview trail this past weekend. And I say we, but, of course, Awkward Dad is the only one who has to interview for reals. The rest of us just tag along like a travelling sideshow; loud, garish, and kinda horrifying. I am pretty sure the people interviewing Awkward Dad were expecting a one man show because they put us in the most expensive, nicest hotel in town. We walked through the lobby and all I heard was my own panicked breathing and Awkward Dad repeating "Don't touch anything. Don't touch anything." over and over like a mantra. The mantra of parents everywhere. The mantra that doesn't really work. Super Toddler touched everything.

So, our trip was eventful for many reasons, not the least of which were numerous illnesses for yours truly, a snow storm, early birthday celebrations for Super 1st and Super Baby with my mother, and a lot of Slim Jims. That last one is only ever eventful for whoever has to clean Super Toddler afterward. Or sit downwind of her. However, the most eventful part of the trip was probably the interview itself. Of which I know nothing, since I wasn't there and was instead ailing in a hotel room and watching endless Love it or List it. (I'm a lover, myself.) But I was present, and not yet ailing, for the Saturday night dinner with the potential coworkers, so I'll tell you about that instead.

Now, I get pretty nervous anytime I have to doctor-wife and, as a result, avoid most occasions of doctor-wifery. When we first moved to Ann Arbor, I tried to join a playgroup that was for spouses of medical residents. (There was like 1 father. Like at 1 meeting. Like once.) So, I called it the Doctor Wives, mostly to myself but sometimes out loud. To Awkward Dad. While throwing things. At our first park playdate, this happened:

Me: Hi!
Doctor Wife 1: Hello. So, what's your husbands year?
Me: Oh, umm, we just moved here.
Doctor Wife 1: Oh, an intern. (She managed to make this sound like a disease and then she walked away.)

Doctor Wife 2: Hello!
Me: Hi!
Doctor Wife 2: So, what's your husband's speciality?
Me: He's a psychiatrist.
Doctor Wife 2: He's a fellow?
Me: No, he's an intern. (I was all proud to have just learned this term, thought I'd use it.)
Doctor Wife 2: Oh no, Sweetie. He's an intern right now, so he's studying psychiatry. He isn't one yet.
Me: Oh. OK. Well, he's studying psychiatry then.
Doctor Wife 2: (waves at someone over my head and then leaves.)

Doctor Wife 3: Hi!
Me: Hello there.
Doctor Wife 3: So, what's your husband's speciality?
Me: He's an intern. What's your husband's speciality? (I finally learned the script at this point.)
Doctor Wife 3: He's ENT.
Me: Oh, an EMT. That's nice.
Doctor Wife 3: (clearly insulted) No, he's ENT.
Me: Oh. Ummm. What's ENT?
Doctor Wife 3: (Shocked) Ear, nose, and throat.
Me: Of course, so sorry. You know, I think Super Toddler is tired. We should go.

Super Toddler was not tired. I was.

No one once asked me my name. My children's names. My interests. My thoughts. My passions. My opinion on the weather. If I had the time or a spare kleenex.

I was asked my husband's speciality and at some point I might have been asked the ages of my children because moms like to ask that, regardless of situation, status, or sense. I was so confused. I felt like I had wandered into a meeting of the Women's League. In 1954. I was all alone in this new place and terrified that this park encounter was going to be my reality for the next 5 years.

Spoiler alert: it wasn't.

I have grown as a person since then, and I have grown in my motherhood. I am no longer a new mom, but a seasoned mom of four. I no longer attend doctor wife playdates because the time of their meetings didn't work for me. Why are you laughing over there? Oh, OK, yeah, you got me. I just didn't want to go. I developed my own groups of friends and it has been fabulous!

Once in awhile, I get dressed up and attend some thing for Awkward Dad. I don't love it, but I do it and attempt to look halfway adult while trying not to drip wine on myself and wondering why they can't serve real food at these things. Mini-this and baby-that and bite-sized whathaveyous. How about a "many-bites" chocolate cake? That would interest me way more than all this doctor talk.

And I don't think it is really the actual doctor talk that bores me. No, it is the status-jockeying that annoys me. I mean, come on, don't we moms get enough of this at the park? You know we all do it. You know what I mean, and if you don't, check this out. It explains it pretty well. I'll wait.

Good, right? I mean, not good, but they hit it on the head there. And I deal with that stuff all day long. I don't want to try to be the best doctor-wife on top of it. Because, the thing is, I am going to lose. I suck at doctor-wifery. I love my husband and I love that he is a doctor because it makes him happy, but most of the time, I totally forget that is what he is. He is so much more than his job. And I am so much more than his job.

So, it is with more than a little trepidation that I walk into this dinner. Trip into the dinner. (Haven't worn heels in awhile, Friends.) This utterly beautiful women steadies me and then pulls me into a huge hug.

Utterly beautiful woman: Are you Erin? I've been looking forward to meeting you! And your husband, of course.

Me: Really? OK, hi.

UBW: Hi! Sit down! Want a drink? Do you like your hotel?

Me: Yes, and yes. It's wonderful, but a little fancy. I'm terrified the children are going to break something.

UBW: I am sure they won't, but even if they do, it's just stuff. Tell me about the kids. What are they like? Got a picture? Here are pictures of my children. And my grandchildren. By the way, they have an amazing apple pie here.

Me: Is it bite-sized?

UBW: No, it's full sized, full fat, and it's fully fabulous!

And so, it went. And more utterly beautiful women showed up. And some men. And some were doctors themselves and some were wives and I can't really tell you who was who because we talked about everything in the world except doctoring. And doctor-wifing.

I could get to like it here........

Might be bad at doctor-wifing,
but I am a champion cat-cuddler.


  1. YEAH!!!! Good to hear that once a doctor is out "into the world" he/she can discuss real life and real interests and real pie. - Catherine

    1. I am for anything that provides pie discussion.

  2. Erin - we call them "faculty recruiting receptions" in the chemistry department at UI and I just adore them. (Can you see my tongue in my cheek?) Keep one go-to totally black outfit just for this stuff and remind yourself how beautiful you are in it. Works like a charm! Nancy