Thursday, April 19, 2012

dreams and responsibilities

A few weeks ago, my mom and I were comparing our recurring, stress-inducing dreams about high school - "the one" that we have as adults, every so often. (Is that normal for everyone?)  She said her dreams always involve a big exam that she has failed to prepare for.  My dreams always, always start out wonderfully.  I am at school, excited to be there again, and to be with friends.  Then, I realize with a sudden and stressful jolt, that I cannot remember my school schedule.  I rack my brain, trying to remember what class I have first.  I wander the halls, watching everyone around me slip into busy classrooms.  I peak into a few, trying to find a familiar face or hear someone call me to join them.   I have absolutely no idea where I am supposed to be.  And I do not want to be late.  (I loved school.)  I return to my locker and realize that I cannot remember my high school locker combination (and believe me, I try hard to remember it).  I eventually go to the office (sometimes - if my dream happens to last that long) and request another schedule.  Sometimes I make it to a class and feel that I am in the right place, but the anxiety returns as I remember that I am not sure what class I should be going to next.  I am in an absolute panic for the duration of the dream.  Every single time I have it.

As I talked with my mom, I wondered if this dream could be due to my infrequent (but nonetheless real) deliberation about choosing to stay home with my children, rather than enter the workplace. (That is normal too, right?)  But as I have thought about it more, I wonder if this dream is also due to being married to a physician.  His crazy schedule has me on constant pins and needles.  There is no regularity.  I have no idea what time he will be home.  I know people have commented on here about a shared understanding that the physician's career is the #1 priority in their family.  But, I just can't live like that.  I have to have some sense of balance.  I also remember someone telling me when my husband started medical school that I would from then on be known as "the doctor's wife" rather than "Liz" or "the public health professional".  And, no matter what I do, will it ever be as important, or "recognized" as my husband's accomplishments and experiences?  Maybe my frenzied searching for my "correct" classroom, or the feeling of knowing exactly where I should be, is due to my insecurity about who I am, what I want to be known for, and what exactly I should be doing each day to reach my goals.

I'll have to think about that more tomorrow, while I do loads of laundry and dishes and use a magic eraser to scrub walls covered with crayon drawings done (emphatically) by our 2-year old, C.


Lillian Angelovic said...

I think dreams are less about concepts and more about things from everyday life. Much more likely your dream is directly related to the daily stressful things such as laundry, dishes, and scrubbing walls. As parents I think we tell ourselves (when we are awake) that the stress of those things isn't such a big deal because it's not on the same "level" as a working professional - say, maybe, a doctor? - but when we are asleep our minds remind us that crayoned walls can induce panic-level stress as well. They would in me!

KSmith said...

I think you nailed it on the head.
While you can drive yourself insane trying to figure out what defines you, the reality is that you will be known as "the doctor's wife" in some circles, "Cloe's mom" in others, and "The Queen Bee" in your own.
If you want a doctor husband that has regular hours, start a business and do everything but the doctoring. Your hours will be around 80 per week and the stress will be through the roof, but your husband will have mostly regular hours.
Just thought I'd offer an alternative.

Jen said...

So I can't comment too much on the dream other than I have "the one" when I'm stressed.
I can say though- I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who continues to debate the "to work or not to work".
I had Alex, left my career to stay at home and moved across the country for Nate to start dental school all in 4 months. Before I knew it all anyone talked about was dental school and sleep schedules. I didn't think I'd ever find my identity again! I used to like going to the hospital just to feel the excitement and like I belonged somewhere (weird I know).
Anyways, I have nothing profound to say other then, you aren't alone and it's nice to know I'm not either :)