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How to be a Good Grad School Wife

How to be a Good Grad school wife

Whether it’s pharmacy school, med school or law school, any graduate program can be challenging, especially for the spouse! For the past four years, Gavin has been attending pharmacy school at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and these last few years have been rough in some ways, but incredibly rewarding in others. Graduation is quickly approaching and we are anxiously waiting to find out where we will be going for residency, but that’s a post for another day. Today I want to talk about our experience in pharmacy school and how we survived together. 

How to be a Good Grad School Wife

How to be a Good Grad School Wife

Communicate:

Decide beforehand the different roles you will each play in the relationship. We decided that in order for Gavin to do the best he can, he will need time to study and work hard. I always knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom, so the housework, grocery shopping, taking care of babies, etc would mainly be my responsibility. That didnt mean that I didnt expect him to help when he was able to! Communicating schedules and expectations was KEY to less stressful days. He needed to let me know when tests were so I could be sure to pick up the slack and I needed to let him know when I needed a break. 

Find an Outlet:

Whether you are working or staying at home with the kids, finding a creative outlet was a MUST for me. I started up a business out of my home and not only did it give me the outlet I needed, it provided opportunities to get out and interact with locals and the extra income wasn’t too shabby either. Know that hubbs will also need an outlet. Obviously you’ll want him to spend all his extra time with you, but not only will he be attending school, he may be working (at one point, Gavin had TWO jobs as well as school… What can I say, he’s a go-getter!) he may be involved in extra-curricular activities (when he applies to residency and jobs, he will be able to put down that he was involved in different student organizations to spruce up his resume.) he may just need to go play some basketball with some buddies (sitting and studying all day is physically taxing on your body.) Just make sure he knows when the Bachelor is on so you can watch with your friends. 😉

Make Friends:

For your sanity, it’s crucial to make friends. I wrote a post on how to make mommy friends here. There will be days where you just cant do it all on your own and your friends are the ones who are able to help you out when your spouse is stuck at school taking tests or studying all day. They are the ones you will enjoy outings and adult conversation with. They are the ones who become your family away from family. 

Take Interest: 

Knowing about the program your partner is in, keeping up with tests and schedules, asking about students and professors shows your husband how much you care and support him. It’s your future too! 

Dont Compare:

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy” and I have found that to be completely true. Grad school is it’s own little world and it can be hard not to compare yourself to your high school buddies who are already working in the middle of their careers. Some may be having kids, some may be buying or building their first homes, some may have just bought the new shiny truck you’ve always wanted. The truth is, you most likely will be on medicaid and receiving food stamps, live in a little apartment and can only afford to go to the movies once every few months, you will have to live modestly and there is nothing wrong with that! It’s just a small blimp in time and this too shall pass!

Budget:

To go along with the above statement, budgeting is very important in any relationship, especially when you’re taking out thousands and thousands of dollars in student loans. Decide together how to live within your means and stick to it! Gavin and I budgeted a very small amount of money every month for him, the kids, the house and for myself. I would do a rough envelope system where I’d put cash in separate envelopes so I could physically see how much I had to spend. These are the budgets where I’d pull money to use on diapers, new clothes for the girls, household items like cleaning supplies and repairs, some months we had to make slight adjustments but over all it was a huge asset in helping me maintain a budget and keeping loans as low as possible. 

Date Night: 

Make sure to budget in a weekly or monthly date night, because you will need that time together. It doesnt have to cost much at all, just plan on that time to reconnect as a couple, away from kids and school. I’ve compiled a few ideas of date’s you can do at home after the kids fall asleep. Check them out in my post here

Dont Complain:

There WILL be days that are rough, but you both need to keep a positive attitude and know that you’re in this together. It can be really easy to complain about how often they are gone, or how many nights are spent on your own binge watching Netflix while your spouse is studying late into the night. It can be lonely so make sure you communicate with one another your individual needs but do it in a way that doesnt sounds like you’re complaining. 

Enjoy This Time:

These last few years have been such a great experience and I’ve learned so much about our marriage. I honestly would do it all over again since I’m sure we will look back on this time and long for it again. We’ve made eternal friends, brought our THREE babies into the world during this time, and grew closer together than I thought possible. Sure, we’ve hit snags and had to learn how to work around them, but it’s been worth every penny and every minute of it, because we did it together.

Gavin, I am so proud of you. Can you believe it’s already been FOUR years?! I’m excited for our next adventures together. Thanks for putting up with me and my crazy ideas. Love you to the moon and back. 
How to be a Good Grad school wife

{First day of Grad School. Lunchbox and all!}

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