What are your responsibilities while your husband is at school this year?
A day in my life makes me tired and may make you tired just reading about it! We added our 4th boy to our family during the summer and a puppy at the beginning of the year, so that even added to the workload. (Our 4 boys, Malcolm is 9, Quinn is 7, Winston is now 5 and Sterling is now 10.5 months and our puppy, Brody, is almost 6 months.) My "days" would start out by waking up the big kids and getting them fed, dressed, everything put together, so that they could get off to school, where Matt would drive them if he was on his was to school, or I would. Then I get to feed a cute and precious baby and entertain the 4, now 5, year old. Then the rat race begins, laundry, bathroom scrubbing, dusting, vacuuming, dishes, tripping on hundreds of toys, picking up hundreds of toys, organizing, bill paying, errand running, meal cooking, dog trainer, pooper scooper, vet appts, dr appts, kissing boo-boos, comforting, breaking up wrestling matches. Those are just a few of the things I do. What doesn't a mother of 4 boys do!?!
What did you do differently in year two to support your med student?
I didn't do anything really different this year to support Matt. I felt like we did pretty good the first year. I just tried not to vent to him my frustrations of the kids and housework too much (which was difficult as I've struggled with some post partum depression). That might not be the best thing to do, and he doesn't like it that I do that. I try and handle things, as best as I can, before putting any more stress or burden on his full plate. His first priority is his family, but getting this education is what's going to provide for his family in the long run. I tried to keep our bedroom (where he does the majority of his studying) quiet and somewhat clean (definitely not always clean) so that he could focus and want to be home as much as possible. The moments we had together, we tried to make them the most meaningful and stress free, so that he could enjoy the limited quality time he had with us.
How did you prepare for rotations?
I'm not good at seeking out information. So everything I knew about rotations, came from Matt, which let's be honest, really wasn't a whole lot. I told Matt what my priorities were, and pretty much left it up to him. We discussed locations a few times, and I'd let him know what I thought. I didn't play a huge part in the process. Matt's happiness is number 1! If Matt's happy, it makes me happy, which trickles down to happier kids, a happier life. So I wanted Matt to do what would help him achieve the success he wants most.
If it was possible, I didn't want to move. We have kids in school, we've moved around a lot already, and will have to move more in years to come. One less move and more stability would be nice. We live in a beautiful home, with wonderful neighbors, in a culdesac, with a great yard - all things that my kids need, and I love. So in the end, Matt was able to get a rotation in Corvallis. He will commute, and we can stay put. Our kids can feel like life is as normal as possible. Honestly, if we didn't have older kids, Matt would have tried for a different rotation, but Matt's priority is his family. I'm pretty blessed that he feels that way.
What was the most difficult part of year two for you?
The most difficult thing in year two would probably be the amount of stress that Matt had. It was definitely a harder year for him, for many reasons I'm sure. He had to put more time into studying. I know I added to the stress, as I struggled with some post partum depression. He sometimes felt the need to love and comfort me, when he needed to be studying instead. But thankfully we both survived and got through it and love each other more for the love and support we've given each other. Another hard thing, was again, money. I felt like this year was harder financially than the first. Part of that is this second semester, where they had to pay test fees for boards.
Any advice for first years?
My advice for first years, pawn everything you own and keep the cash hidden away in your freezer for future bills. :) Budgeting and frugality is what will get you through this year. Ask your hubby what fees he'll have so you can consider that too.
Make the most of your time together, all the little moments, especially if you have kids, they need those little moments with their daddy (or mommy). I don't expect to have Matt be of any help around the house. I want him to come home and take those moment with his kids, not cleaning or helping with household duties (not that I don't want that!). So keep your expectations low with what you're hubby can help with and what time he'll have to give. If you absolutely need something extra, asking lovingly is what I've found gets me what I want. Haha!
Just encourage him, let him know how great he is, how handsome he is , how proud of him you are, how you believe in him. Little things like that help anyone feel worth more. Good luck!
It's great to know we're ending class study and halfway through this phase. Yay!