I woke up to an email yesterday that I couldn’t seem to shake all day. It wasn’t what the email said because it was rather poised and honest. But it upset me and it was like reality smacked me in the face yet again. What was that reality? I wasn’t able to do my job because my husband was called to do his.
This wasn’t something I realized or even knew would happen when I married my husband. I didn’t plan on him deploying right away. I didn’t plan on getting pregnant right away. I didn’t plan on staying home after having our son. All of those things just happened. I didn’t know how much I would grow to love blogging. And even more importantly, I didn’t know that eventually blogging would become my job. Which I’m so thankful for because it allows me to work from home and take it with me whenever the Army tells us it’s time to move.
I’m also thankful for the flexibility that comes with blogging. Because to be quite honest, I’m not sure how I could ever have a “traditional” job and have my husband do his. I know there are a ton of military spouses out there who hold full-time traditional jobs but with my husband’s specific job in the military, it would make it close to impossible. Long hours, random calls, weeks away at the drop of a pins notice. With the kids in school and numerous extracurricular activities, I have to be there to drive them to and from and keep them on a schedule. I have to be the one sitting on the sidelines or wiping their tears when they fall down. To tuck them into bed, make their lunches, explain to them that Daddy isn’t coming home again that night and to be their constant in a world of chaos.
It’s a lot to handle. And while I wouldn’t dare compare my life to that of a single parent, it’s hard to do everything for everyone when my husband’s away. With two kids, four pets, a house and a job, it can be a challenge to have all my ducks in a row. I’m human. I’m not perfect and sometimes, everything except for my kids has to be put on the back burner. Do I get to workout? No. Do I respond to emails in a timely matter? Not always. Do I forget to fill the water dishes for the pets? Sometimes. But I’m doing the best I can.
I’m not using my husband being away as an excuse to slack off. Because if you know me and know how passionate I am about my job, you know I wouldn’t ever do that. But I’m being honest. Sometimes work has to come last. Period. It’s not meant to come off as unprofessional or half-assed and if it’s going to be half-assed, I own up to it, ask for more time, or just flat out say it. Which again, I’m thankful for a flexible career that allows me to do all of that.
Most military wives don’t want special treatment or want anyone feeling bad for them. And while I can only speak for myself, I can say I definitely don’t want special treatment or want anyone to feel bad for me. Understanding? Compassion? Maybe. Everyone has their own struggles but when my husband leaves, it’s an emotional, mental, and physical struggle. It’s exhausting. I’m trying so hard to hold it together for the littles that sometimes I forget to hold it together for myself. But everyday is a new day and I manage. Because I don’t have any other choice.
The truth of the matter is that sometimes, my career has to take the backseat to my husband’s career. And while sometimes it can be frustrating, I’ve just come to accept that if I want to have a career period, it is what it is. And while I don’t expect people to understand exactly how challenging it can be, I’m writing this piece to give you an idea. I really don’t like being called a “military wife” and prefer just to think of myself as a woman who married the man she loves, who happens to be in the military. But at the end of the day, that’s the title society has given me. And in that case, it’s important for society to know that military wives struggle to have careers while taking care of families and everything else along the way when their spouse is gone.
I always make it work and I always finish what needs to get done. But if I’m a little scatterbrained, don’t text you back, don’t respond to your email right away, or forget a special day or deadline, please know that I’m doing the best I can. I’m only human. And sometimes, I can only do so much.