When B started down the path to earning his M.D., we knew we would be living on my paycheck and my paycheck alone. Thankfully, when I finished grad school my earning potential did substantially increase (I work in marketing communications though, so don’t get too excited) and we crunched some numbers to discover that we could cover our living expenses (though not even close to tuition) with my income. YAY! Less debt down the road. I would be bringing home the bacon, makin’ paper, earning OUR keep! I was awash with a strange combination of empowerment and terror.
But then the pressure started to set in a bit.
Women nowadays are not quite there, but are on their way to being on equal playing (if not yet paying) field as men. Growing up it was engrained in me to work hard, be responsible for myself and to strive to be financially independent. Now, I am acting as CFO of my small family – figuring out budgets, paying our taxes and trying to make our purchases strategic. I am hyper aware of what our grocery bill costs per week and prepare myself for the little gut-punch of when our mortgage payment is deducted each month. But it’s exciting to see our little life and think, “I’m doing this! I am keeping this ship afloat!”
That said, there are definitely times that I wish there were two paychecks coming instead of one. I don’t particularly love my job, and on rough days feelings of resentment can threaten to creep in. It can be especially hard when your car has 140k+ on it and your friends are now purchasing “forever” homes. Which is a ridiculous concept, but I digress. Our couches are hand-me-downs and have holes in them and both of our vehicles are well over a decade old. But in the grand scheme, things seriously are not that dire. I dare to say our lives are pretty darn good.
Here’s the tradeoff. We could still be living in the South, me working a different job I didn’t particularly love and B doing research that doesn’t fulfill his career ambitions, both making money and nearly debt-free, with new cars and new furniture. But if I’ve learned anything in my still relatively short professional career, you don’t want to hate the work you do every day. And “what ifs” are something I don’t want to have collected and have to sort through in my final days.
B has no insecurities about gender roles. In fact, he’s had a great sense of humor about me racking in the green. Example: for Valentine’s this year, he got me these gorgeous roses.
His card to me said something to the effect of “I bought you these roses and this card with your money. Happy Valentine’s Day!” In a recent conversation with Moxley (Oh please, don’t you dare cast judgement. As if you don’t converse with your pets?!), B explained to our pooch that while he is the top dog in terms of actual canine status in our house, that Manda is actually the Top Dog “cuz she makes all the money.” We can laugh about it and recognize that most med students are in similar financial states. I also know in a few years time the pendulum will swing in the other direction and B will be the top earner. We will get to share the making money pressures. And I say pressures because as Biggie Smalls once wisely surmised “Mo money, mo problems.”
But, in the meantime I must say, it can be fun to sing, “The shoes on my feet, I bought ’em! The house I live in, I bought it!” and have it be true.
Who needs to know if said shoes are from Target? 😉