Growing up, I was never the girl with a set life plan. I did not know at age three what I wanted to be when I grew up. I always had more of a loose vision – finish high school, possibly go to college, travel the world, get an amazing job in a fabulous city, and have tons of friends. Eventually, I’d meet a great man, we’d fall in love, and get married. Some time after that, we would have babies. Those babies would attend an amazing day care/preschool while I continued my successful career.
And then, as it does, life interfered with my well intentioned, if somewhat vague, plan. I met this cute guy. Who happened to be a Marine.
And the rest, as they say…
When we met, I was living and working outside of DC making bank for my age. He was a young Marine supporting himself and his daughter. I made more than he did and had far fewer bills. I was quite enjoying myself – random vacations with girlfriends to awesome places because we could, all kinds of new clothes, plenty of restaurant meals and happy hours out with friends. This was all just fine until I quit my job and moved to North Carolina to be near him.
I couldn’t find a job.
So I spent a year in North Carolina unhappily putzing around – volunteering, going places with my new daughter, cleaning the house, etc. In less than a year we got married and moved to Hawaii. I started applying for jobs before we’d left the mainland, I got lucky and was hired. Until now, we hadn’t both had jobs when we lived together. It was a bit of an adjustment, especially since our daughter was in preschool and we had to get her out at a certain time. It was also tricky when she had events, or he had work things that I ‘should’ go to, or (and the most frustrating) when he was gone and I had to do it all alone. Thankfully, my husband never made me feel bad when I couldn’t make it to things, but he didn’t have to – I felt bad enough. It was stressful. But we made it work.
At this point, I realized why so many military spouses choose not to work, especially those with children. It is HARD. It’s hard to pack up your career every three years. Heck, it’s hard to have a CAREER and not just a ‘job’. It’s hard to juggle schedules when you’re married to a person whose ‘boss’ does not comprehend the meaning of a work schedule. Still, I wanted to work. Because of our situation, we had several serious talks early in our relationship. One was that I wanted to go back to work after I had babies, and he agreed.
That was before I was actually pregnant.
To be honest, I had always slightly judged most stay at home moms. Not that I didn’t think it was work – I wasn’t that stupid. But I couldn’t wrap my brain around why a woman would want to spend all day at home with a baby. I did not bust my butt through four and a half years of college to not put my degree to some use! (Let’s not talk about the fact that even in my post college career, I didn’t use my degree…) I could not imagine how it would be a fulfilling situation for the wife.
And then…I got pregnant. And I could not IMAGINE going back to work after I gave birth. I thought about it for a long time and came to the realization that not only did I just not want to go back to work, but it would be so much easier for our family. It took me a while to work up the nerve to tell my husband that, but he was okay when I did. I told him that at this point in my life, it was more important for me to be a good mother and wife than a good employee.
I wanted to be the mom who was on all the field trips and made treats and helped in class. I wanted my husband to not have to worry about anything when he got word that he had to work late, or leave the country, or anything else the Marine Corps could throw at him. I wanted to be there for all those little things that a baby does when they first arrive. I wanted to be a stay at home mom.
I’m anxious about a few things – money, crazy babies, maintaining a social life – but our oldest daughter is now in soccer, Daisies, and is going to start ballet soon. I also get to be there for all her school events. All things she couldn’t do if I was working. My husband no longer has to worry about most aspects of home life, which makes his days much easier. And I get to be there for all our youngest daughter’s milestones. So while I’m scared, I’m excited.
I’m sure it will be an adventure… and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.