Last week, my FaceBook status read, “I really, really need a wife.”
For those of you that don’t know me, I am a woman, married to a man. No, I am not trying to spice up our love life, and I have not changed my sexual preference. I am, in fact, a wife myself… in addition to being a mother and a full time academic trauma surgeon.
Two weeks ago, as I was sitting in my office trying to coordinate the schedules for my 3 nannies, arrange for the repair of our hot water heater, and prepare a manuscript about pulmonary embolism while taking trauma call, one of my partners walked in while on the phone with his wife. She was out running errands, and wanted to know if he needed more undershirts or socks for work. May sound little to some of you but me? I just sat there… dumbfounded and jealous. Here was a person who was #1 – out running errands for the family and #2 – anticipating the needs of another. In other words, she was working to make her husband’s life easier.
These past two weeks have been crazy, to say the least. Managing a trauma service with over 50 patients, a manuscript deadline, a broken water heater, a broken clothes dryer, a bathroom leaking through a ceiling, a 2 year old, a nanny who quit halfway through a 36 hour call, and, oh, did I mention my husband is in law school 2 and a half hours away and only home on weekends? Hello, Tums, meet my new gray hair.
Anyways, I flashed back to a zoo trip that I had with the aforementioned wife of my partner a few months ago. She is college educated, has three ridiculously cute daughters, and successfully survived her husband’s overseas deployment and frequent moves with the Navy. Did I mention she has some mad crafting skills? In short, I admire her. She is organized, hard working and has hobbies at which she excels. However, during our zoo date with our toddlers on one of my rare during-the-week days off, she expressed to me that she often felt like people looked down on her as a stay at home mom/housewife. Because she wasn’t doing “anything” with her life, her degree. Implying that her current roles and responsibilities had no real world value or worth.
As I sat at my desk stressed, frustrated, and not just a bit overwhelmed, I saw and felt all the worth, the value, and the privilege of having a “wife”. Someone to be there when it starts raining from the ceiling, to cuddle your child when he is sick, to remember to buy toilet paper so you don’t have to use Kleenex (ummm, totally hypothetically speaking, maybe), and pave the way for you to be the most successful you can be at work is no small thing. It takes your life from drinking from a fire hydrant to drinking from a nice, perfectly cool water fountain.
I can’t even tell you how much I would have paid to have had a “wife” for the past two weeks. That, my friends, is value.
And no, this person doesn’t necessarily have to be your legal female spouse in order to be a “wife”. This person could be your husband, your mother, your best friend, and maybe even your non-stay at home wife. Regardless of age, gender or legal status, this is the person who helps you live life a little easier… and this person is priceless. Now, please do me a favor. Go hug this person as soon as physically possible. I am guessing they have no idea their true worth, and no one likes drinking from a fire hydrant.