I am a full time veterinarian, small business owner, Mom of two, and I am married to Chad, a stay at home spouse. I often dream of working less and being home more to do the domestic duties to my satisfaction. Many of us in the veterinary world experience this. We work too much, are never home, and when we are home, all we see is the “do to list” we never have time to do. I resent the time my husband has in the house, the time he has with the kids and the presumed time for himself.
There are days I arrive home from a grueling day in the hospital, only to find Chad lounging in his recliner and an urge to punch him the face comes over me. I succumb to feelings of resentment, jealousy, anger, and blame. How dare Chad sit in that flipping chair playing video games all day while I slave away at my animal hospital!!
Chad had an unfortunate boating disaster and as a result I have been thrown into his domestic role. I had prepared myself that it was going to be my opportunity to show my family that I could do all of it, the house, the food, the running around, and rock at my veterinary practice. It is my time to embrace all that Chad has been reveling in.
The view every evening I come home
After too many loads of laundry, uncountable loads of dishes, hauling kids all over Timbuctoo, food prep, feeding our zoo of animals, filling Chad’s ice machine, and a plethora of other minute details that happen in the daily running’s of a household, I am spent. I am walking a mile, sweet Jesus, and my dogs are screaming! I would rather be triple booked and short staffed.
You have heard it before, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Resentment creeps in when I am not filling my cup first, which quickly leads to burnout. I get angry that I don’t have time to do the things I want to do for myself and then even angrier when I have more on my plate that I think Chad should be doing. If I care for myself first, these small tasks of housekeeping don’t bother me, in fact I do them with love and embrace the opportunity to care for my family. The resentment that ensues over a dirty fridge has nothing to do with the dirty fridge!!
We assume that our clients know to call us if their pet isn’t getting better, but how many times do they wait until an issue is too far gone. If we had better communicated exactly what was to happen, we would avoid treatment failures.
Much of my resentment and our marital bickering comes from lack of communication. I preach client communication daily to my staff, yet I often fall short at home. I get upset with Chad that he doesn’t perceive the same domestic priorities that I do. The only way to combat the perception issue is to communicate. Chad is happy to do all my “honey do” items as long as I leave a list. This form of communication works for us. What isn’t productive is me waking up first thing and spewing off all the things that need to be done that day, especially when he doesn’t see them as priorities.
We all love to know we are appreciated. Flowers or treats from a client go a long way with my staff as a token of appreciation. According to Forbes, gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day. Say thank you. Make sure you tell and show your spouse how much it means that they are home taking care of your family and home.
Reciprocate when given the opportunity. Chad is elated when I do a load of laundry, change the dishwasher or bring home dinner. He is doing the most important job of all, raising our two beautiful children, and for that I am grateful.
As I take a moment to sit and just reflect, I find that I am spoiled beyond what I deserve. With Chad taking care of the home-front, I am able to pursue my passion and purpose work that truly fulfills me, caring for animals and their people. I make time for my self-care and fill my connections with family and friends. To know that my husband loves his role as stay at home Dad is immeasurable.