Grad Life Voices: Making Sacrifices

Peter Hayes

written by Lacey, a current graduate wife

In the past couple years, my husband and I have learned the importance of working together in order for him to get through grad school. Most of his colleagues don’t have families, and sometimes it seems it gives them an advantage. We both agree that it is important that he focuses as much as he can on his work. I don’t want him to have to deal with the stresses of family life especially when he’s approaching a deadline. His schedule is crazy. I’d say most days it doesn’t bother me, but then other days I feel so alone.

About six months ago, I was just about done with all of this grad school stuff. I was working a job that I absolutely hated and after applying to job after job with no luck, I felt like I was trapped there. As much as I hated my job, it had its benefits. It was close to home, I got a lot of time off and although it wasn’t great, the pay was manageable. I would go through times where I would just tell myself to suck it up, but the job was so draining. Around the time that I quit, we started to have childcare issues. With both our incomes combined, we could not afford most daycares. We first enrolled our girls into a program that we liked, but the hours didn’t work for us. We had to hire a babysitter to fill in when the daycare’s schedule didn’t fit with ours. We found someone I loved and who was able to work with us on price. But then, of course, she moved, and we had trouble finding a good replacement for her. I think losing the provider that we loved was where things went downhill for me. I hated that I was dropping my kids off with someone I wasn’t crazy about so that I could work a job that I hated. I really felt I had no control over my own life. I was so unhappy and it was really starting to affect my life with my family.

Finally, we discussed my quitting. I opened up a shop online before the awful job just to see where it would go, and I used it while I was employed to help relieve stress. Since quitting, I’ve been able to focus more on it. Some months I make pretty good sales, but it nowhere compares to my old income. I’m a lot happier now and it’s been easier for me to be the support my husband needs. I miss being able to eat out whenever we wanted and not having to worry so much about finances, but I don’t have the stress from the job and childcare. My husband doesn’t have to work his schedule around dropping off and picking up kids. We don’t have to stress out about snow days and one of the kid’s billionth sick day. I will be honest and say there were times that I resented my husband because I felt I was putting aside my happiness for his career. I’ve always been an optimistic, happy person, but the job I had brought out a bad side. I’m happy to be doing something for me for once. I get to work towards my goals and I get to spend quality time with my girls. Still, it’s a short term solution, and I am currently on the job hunt again. I’m hoping this time around I will find something that’s actually rewarding!

It seems with this journey, we’re going to make sacrifices no matter what, and we have to figure out which are worth making. If we really knew what we were getting ourselves into, we may not have chosen grad school. I’m happy we did though. We may not be living a comfortable life now, but I know in the long run this will be worth it, and my husband will actually be doing something he enjoys and believes is important.

As a graduate wife, what sacrifices have you had to make?