Saying "I Do" to a Physician

Physician's Money DigestFebruary28 2003
Volume 10
Issue 4

I 've frequently used this space over the years to write about my physician-dad, and the response from my readers has been very positive. What I've done with less frequency is write about my mother, Joan Kelly.


Money Digest

As a great mom and loyal physician's spouse, she's worthy of much praise. I'm inspired to write about her now for several reasons. February is her birthday month (and mine). Also, this issue of has a special feature on physicians'spouses and the vital role they play in the maintenance of a financially and emotionally stable marriage (more later).


Every one of my readers knows the long hours and real sacrifices that doctors must endure. Most thoughtful physicians will readily acknowledge that their families endure these conditions as well. I know—I lived it.

Countless times, I saw my father put his patients'interests before his own. So by direct connection, my mom also sacrificed. And she did it with such spirit, good humor, patience, and love that it still inspires me today—some 20 years after her death. She certainly had plenty of experience living with physicians. Her father was a doctor, as were 2 of her brothers.

Mine was your typical large Irish-Catholic, Jersey Shore family growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. I'm 1 of 8 children—5 girls and 3 boys. Just consider the challenges of raising 8 kids—5 in the first 5 years of marriage—while your husband is on 24-hour call. For that alone, she deserves speedy entry into the Mom's Hall of Fame.

From an early age, my mother taught me that my dad had a special calling in life. "Your father's job is to take care of people,"she would say. Through his tireless work ethic, my dad instilled in me the importance of duty and responsibility, but it was my mom who really showed me how to be a good person. I think about her every day.


For more on the wonders of physicians'spouses, I ask readers to turn to page 30. You'll get some thoughtful financial and personal insights from a group of Colorado doctors'wives. Using this magazine as a guidepost, the group started its own financial club in which they do some investing and discuss economic issues unique to being married to doctors.

The group's founder, Jenny Burton, is full of energy and smarts. Her writings prove she knows the pluses and minuses of being married to a doctor, and yet she would not trade her life for anything. She reminds me a little of my amazing mother—except my mom didn't have an MBA.

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