Monday, May 10, 2010

Guest Post:: My Husband was Invited to Girls Night Out

About a year ago, I was sitting in my living room with my husband after wrangling the kids into bed when he made the announcement.  “I just got invited to girls night out” he said, with a little hesitance in his voice – like he wasn’t really sure if he should tell me.  “Huh?” I said, sort of half listening as I zoned out to Access Hollywood, my secret indulgence that enables me to block out the craziness of the day.  “I just got an email inviting me to girls night out in two weeks,” he repeated.  I tore my eyes away from Billy Bush and stared at him.  “So, what are you going to do?”  I asked.  “I’m not going,” he said, “you should go.”  And we stared at each other some more.

This pretty much sums up the awkward relationship we’ve held with our peers ever since my husband and I decided he should stay home full time with our kids while I battled my way through my pediatric residency program.  His teacher’s salary was not enough to compensate for two full time daycare slots and patchwork additional child care that we would have needed to piece together to keep our children clothed, fed and guarded while I worked ridiculously bizarre hours at the hospital.  So, we decided that he would stay home.  It was a great decision - one that has allowed me incredible piece of mind.  Our children (now 5 and 2) have experienced a relatively “stable” life despite my unpredictable schedule.  But it has not been without consequences.

For one, my husband is REALLY good at being a SAHD.  I mean REALLY good.  Painfully good.  In-your-face-you’re-inadequate good.  I am so thankful for all he does, but there is a small part of me that sometimes wishes he could be a little less good.  About two weeks into his SAHD stint, he had arranged for a multitude of activities for our daughter – music class, playgroups, swim class.  And he has kept the momentum going - over the past three years, he has managed to integrate himself and our children into a wonderful community of friends in our town.

Contrary to my anxieties, the other stay-at-home parents (99.99% moms) have welcomed my family into playgroups, playground meet-ups and a wide array of other activities.  Hence the invite.  I’m sure the email was intended to be inclusive of my husband in an opportunity to get out and socialize away from the kids.  Instead, it paralyzed us in a moment of uncertainty.  Did the women involved in “girls night out” want an opportunity to bash the working parents and commiserate about stay-at-home parenthood?  Did they want an opportunity to gather with other women in the community, regardless of how their days were spent?  Should neither of us go?  Both of us?  Do they think my 6 foot 4, rarely clean-shaven husband is a girl?

In the end, my husband and I gave up on trying to figure out the intention of the group.  He knew that while he was able to finesse his way through a life of being a SAHD in a predominantly SAHM world, he could not stomach being involved in a “girls night out”.  I realized that I wanted the opportunity to be with other moms – working or not - and to develop friendships despite inevitably feeling the occasional sense of being the odd one out.   So, I went.  And I have to say I am grateful to my husband for forging me a space in a great community of friends who are willing to deal with our unusual set-up.  This works for us.  Secretly, I’m hoping that his next invite is for a manicure and facial at the local spa…


Pedimom is a pediatrician in a private practice in New England.

6 comments:

  1. Love the post. My husband is also a stay at home dad and the arrangement has worked out perfectly. He thinks he got the good end of the deal because he gets to stay home, and I think I got the good end because I get to go to a job I love.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post! I am so envious of your situation. I work part-time, so 3 days, I am a doc with a crazy life too (though less crazy than my husband's), and 4 days, I am the SAHP. I recently said to my doctor husband, "Sometimes, I want to be the guy!" meaning the one who goes off to work with nary a care about beating the clock to get the kids, worrying about how to be at swimming and ballet at the same time, etc, etc. If you have a really great SAHD in your life, swallow your pride and be grateful!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post. My husband is also a really good SAHD. He has been lucky to form a dads group of other SAHD's. They have a Dad's night out once a month.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am an MS3 and while my hubby is a SAHD for our boys during the day, there is no rest for me as I still do the cleaning, bills, laundry, most of the cooking, and putting the kids to bed (if I am home at bedtime). Night out? Thank your lucky stars. Really. What I wouldn't give for some help in all the other areas of having a family and maybe some fun once in a while.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have always been secretly jealous of the support that my doctor friends receive from their husbands who choose, even if briefly, to be a SAHD for their young kids. Those who do it well get much peace of mind.

    My SAHD, when my kids were younger, was my nanny.

    Now that I am transitioning to single parenthood, I am plugging in lots of support for my kids in addition to me and my ex - their former nanny twice a week, stable babysitting, and a new summer driving nanny for activities, who is also helping me out in mornings when I have to travel to another hospital this week, since she is finished with her college finals. Luckily I am in a position where I can now afford it all.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a great post, and perfectly highlights the social barriers of being a female physician. I'm a physician, my husband stays at home. Fortunately, he is social and has managed to be friends with many of the SAHM of our kids' friends. But, understandably, they can't really develop the close friendship that one might with a same-gender friend. I would feel much more threatened if my husband had a female close friend who was a confidante, than if he actually had a sexual fling with someone. It's the same way that I don't develop close relationships with my male physician partners or with male nurses. But then, trying to hang out with the SAHMs is often a painful experience for me. Good for you Pedimom for enjoying the girls night out!

    ReplyDelete

Comments on posts older than 14 days are moderated as a spam precaution. There may be a delay between submitting your comment and its publishing. Thanks for commenting!