April 20, 2016

I can't stay home all day, I can't stay home all day, I can't...

At least twice a year, I get all introspective and start to wonder why I do what I do. Why do I work when so many military wives don't?* Granted, a lot of those military wives have kids they are taking care of all day long, but a lot are stay-at-home-wives. Why not me?

There's many reasons why I keep working...
#1 It's nice to be able to use my degree.
#2 My degree has been paid off for years now and I've required no extra certifications, so my salary is just my salary. I'm not working to pay off loans.
#3 It helps me stay sharp (this sounds dumb, but it's true)
#4 It doesn't make me depend on Scott's schedule. If he's gone for days at a time (or, you know, months), I have other things to focus on.
#5 I didn't have a job, I guarantee you I would stay home most days and studies have shown it's good for people to leave the house (right?).

The downsides are that my schedule doesn't always fit with Scott's and I can't really travel when he's not here. A lot of military wives go home, to wherever home is, during deployments. I've never done that.

That doesn't mean I haven't entertained the idea of taking on the role of army wife full-time. I actually miss a lot of gatherings and get-togethers because of my job. Most of those things are during the day. And when I'm forwarding FRG emails at 6am, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to just not have to do that.

Drinking hot chocolate out of my mug from Germany. Sent by Scott during his travels last year.

Here's an example...an acquaintance posted on Facebook about how she got everything in order for her husband's change of command.  I'm not knocking the SAHM gig (eh, maybe I'm indifferent toward her though), but I, too, prepared for my husband's change of command ceremony. 

In case you're wondering why Scott didn't do this stuff himself, the change-of-command ceremony refreshments, etc is usually the responsibility of the family and Scott was busy with the actual taking command part. He was working 15-18 hour days.

My day(s) went like this:
I took a day off work so I wrote sub plans. 
Then I went to Costco by myself after work and bought hundreds of dollars worth of food and drink
(this was the week before Christmas...that should set the scene for Costco). 
Then I got up super early the next morning (ceremony was at 10am), drove super far in morning traffic to the Dunkin' Donuts and spent hundreds of dollars more on donuts and coffee. 
Then I set it up mostly all by myself, spent all day hanging around his office, talking to people, etc. 
That night, I had to go to an army Christmas party.
The next morning, I got up and went to school, cleaning up both a mess from the students and getting a terrible report from the substitute. Exhausting, mentally and physically.
I believe it was also Christmas party day at school, so there was so much to do that I think I've honestly blocked a lot of that week out.

Another example of being a working army wife: 
I dropped Scott off for deployment #2 at 1am on a Thursday night, back in December 2011. By 8am, I was in my classroom, putting math problems on the board and trying to stop crying before the students got there. 

Obviously I don't know how long we'll be in Colorado or where we'll go to next. When we talk about it, the possibilities seem endless. I could tell you the front-running locations/jobs, but it changes daily. It's extremely unsettling to not know, but it's also exciting. I came to a peace a long time ago, not knowing what's next. I'm okay with it. When I mentioned that I was already bored with Colorado (granted, I do tend to bring boredom upon myself...as the great Betty Draper would say), Scott asked why and I explained. I ended with We (I) haven't even been here for two years. You've conditioned me to constant upheaval. This just doesn't feel right. 

For which he apologized and that wasn't what I was looking for. I've changed SO much in the last 7 years. My whole outlook and viewpoint have adapted to whatever it is now. And sometimes I don't even know what my outlook is, which is kind of scary. I do start to fear that I won't be happy anywhere. I mean, is that what it's coming down to?  Would I like to live closer to family? Yes. Am I afraid to move back to the east coast after 6+ years of living west of the Mississippi? Yes.

Regardless, being a working military wife has its plusses and minuses. Plus: the time goes by A LOT more quickly. Minus: when Scott sends me a message asking what I'm doing at 8am, I'll send him a picture that looks like this:

Good, bad, or indifferent, it is what it is. I'm obviously not the only working army wife, but being in the minority is an interesting feeling.

*After 3 bases, this is the trend that I've noticed. I realize many military wives work. I just haven't come across very many. 


  1. It's so hard when your teaching schedule doesn't match up with your husbands, and I'm guessing that's made even more difficult by your husband being in the military where there is little to no flexibility with his scheduling of things too. I admire you guys for pushing through and making things work--I can't imagine it's easy, but I'm glad that you have a schedule and routine that helps keep you busy and satisfied :)

  2. I honestly can't imagine not working at something...I think I'd tend to be like you in your approach to this.

    Do you think it makes a difference in not encountering a lot of these other working spouses because you live off base, or is it common to live off base?

  3. I think I'd be the same as you if we were a military family - I can't imagine just sitting at home and not having somewhere to go every day. I had a VERY short stint as a "stay at home wife" shortly after we got married and it was fun for a few weeks and then I was bored out of my mind, not to mention SUPER lonely. Plus, I tend to be a money-driven person. Unless I had a kid, I'd always have that nagging "But I could be making money..." feeling.

    I do have to say though, with Isaiah's schedule the way it is, I wouldn't mind having just a part-time job. His days off and mine are completely opposite right now and it drives me crazy because we literally NEVER have a full day off together.

  4. I've always worked, except for when we were overseas. I couldn't get a job, though I tried for over a year. I ended up volunteering because I needed adult time and to use my brain. The kids were little while we were there, so I did stay busy. There are times now though, when I get fed up with my retired husband who doesn't work. He can do whatever, whenever and always forgets that I just can't up and go with him. I have a job. Yes, most days I'd love to be able to do whatever with him, but I work and I'll continue to.

  5. i obviously have no idea what it's like to be a military wife, i was only a military girlfriend for a few months and even then i was on the other side of the world, but i am not sure i could stay home if i was in your position. i mean, i am thinking i'll stay home when we have kids, but i think that is different. but i don't have kids so what do i know. i was unemployed after my visa ended, granted i didn't have anything to do army wife wise, but it was the most miserable time of my life.. but like you and betty draper i think i might have brought some of that on myself.

  6. I work from home and I'm glad I do. With a school aged child, I genuinely don't know what I'd do with myself all day long without something to do even if it does sound incredibly appealing most days. I (sort of since I'm not a military wife) understand your dilemma.

  7. I can't imagine the military lifestyle. I suck at being away from Angel, and I'm grateful I don't have to do it. My Dad had a job where he was away from home minimum 12 weeks out of every year (not 12 weeks together, usually 1 or 2 week trips)...and I purposefully married a nurse because nursing is not a travel job. I would get bored too, if I were alone. I've never really prioritized my job since getting married--I was still getting my education for the first couple years of our marriage, then I spent a year working in China and loved every minute...we worked at the same school and were together every day, but we taught different grades so all of our students were different...and here I don't have a work visa so I can't get a real job on that, but just stay busy taking care of some of my best friends' kids all day and teaching them how to read and awesome stuff like that and I love it. There's been an opportunity or two come up for me to change my visa and get a real job here--but we only have one car, and I'm not sure my income would really justify the expense of being a two-car family here, plus, Angel works mornings, evenings, and weekends--sometimes 6, sometimes 7 days a week. His regular time off is 12-4 p.m. on weekdays...any normal job would have me working on weekdays...and at this point it's just not worth it to me. If I'm taking care of kids then at least we're at home at the same time in the afternoons! And when we do have our own kids I'd love to stay home and just keep doing what I do, only with kids that actually belong to me instead of being borrowed. :)

  8. Oh, definitely MOST wives don't work. And you wouldn't believe how often I've entertained getting a job because the SAHM gig is a drag sometimes. It's easier when my husband is gone all the time and I have the kids to take care of... and it's a season in life. Things change, right?

  9. My sister-in-law is super intelligent, graduated Magna Cum Laude (or is it Summa Cum Laude?...whatever required a higher gpa, that was her), but she chose the SAHM role. I remember one time her saying that she questioned that choice because she thought she was getting dumber! HAHA. She got involved in a lot more activities with the school and her church.

    This was especially funny to me because I posted last night something on Instagram about wanting to be a stay-at-home cat mom :)

  10. Some days I loved being a working Army wife when I was at Vanderbilt, other days I hated it. Some days I love being a stay at home mom to Eloise, other days I'm tired and frustrated. We just have to do what feels right in each phase the Army throws at us. I will say, I have seen some "stay-at-home-wives", although I've never been one, do a phenomenal job giving back to their community in very productive ways that those of us working or raising kids may not have time to do.


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