21 May 2012

Yr 1 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Maren

Q: Give us a little background of your family, your education/work, and where you came from before moving to Lebanon.

A: I'm mostly from Portland (OR) and also from Rhode Island and a few other places (I won't admit to TX, but it's true).  I have family throughout OR, WA, and UT, but especially in Portland.  I went to Brigham Young University and graduated in Spanish Translation with social science minors.  I lived in Central America as a volunteer for 2.5 years.  1.5 of those years was as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

My husband, Jared, went to chiropractic school in Portland before this, so that's where we moved from.  We have 3 precious children 'cause we just can't seem to resist babies.

Q: What are your responsibilities while your husband is at school?

A: While Jared is at school I am a full-time mom with a lot of socializing and service mixed in.  Never thought I would, but I LOVE IT!  I've found a lot of wonderful friends through church and through the Complements Club.  Usually Jared comes home at lunch time and from 5:00-7:30pm (that's our rush hour-- dinner prep, dinner, clean-up, bedtime).  We spend our weekdays trying to fit in naptimes, exercise, feeding, playdates and playgroups, cleaning, argument-mediating, delicious-food-making, babysitting, fulfilling others' needs, mess-making, mess-removing, story-reading, skill-learning, and a reasonable amount of hygiene.

Q: What resources did you find in the community that are supportive to you and your family?

A: The Community Services Consortium has been helpful, as has the county health department, the library, and Samaritan Health Services, oddly enough.

Q: What did you find was the best way to support your husband while he was studying this first year?

A: The best way I seem to be able to support my husband is to not take it personally that he studies so much.  He wants to do well so that he feels good about his efforts, and I had to get used to that idea for a while because he didn't study much in acquiring his other degrees.  I also have to remind myself that since he's home so little, the highest priorities for his time while he's home is not helping around the house, but being a dad.  And I also have to remember that it's only fair that he get time to decompress, just like I would want if I were him.  When things get bad and he's stressed out and the whole family is feeling neglected (read: I am feeling neglected) I cope by either hanging out with friends, trying to hold out until a moment when it's reasonable to ask him to just take a break and forget the test because I'm more important in the long run (can you tell I've practiced how to phrase that?), simplifying things (take'n'bake pizza is okay every once in a while), or keeping busy with other projects. 

Q: Did school become stressful on your relationship at any time? How did it effect the relationships he has with other family members and friends?

A: Overall, school has not been any more of a stressor on our relationship than various other circumstances were in the past, so I wouldn't say that this has been a uniquely stressful experience or something that has very negatively affected our relationship or Jared's relationships with other people.

In fact, the choice to do medical school has had a very positive effect on our relationship. Because Jared is finally doing something he felt really directed to do, and because he feels this can fulfill his potential more than he has in the past, he is happier and more at ease than he has been in a long time, and that has had a domino effect on the rest of the family. And because Jared recognizes the sacrifice we are making for him to do this, he tries to keep his priorities straight and be the best husband/father he can be. So, you never know-- med school might end up being the best thing that ever happened to your family!

Q: Any advice you would give to new medical student wives?

A: Really, the best part of this change in our life has been our social life here in med school.  We have a lot of awesome people around us that we wish we had more time to get to know, both from church and from Complements Club, as I mentioned before.  I would highly recommend getting involved in these groups to any newcomer.  There are other community groups that offer great opportunities for friendships, service, and fun, too, so it's just a matter of getting involved!