Sorry I've been MIA. The moving process is underway and it has been crazy!
A few days before Brandon got the call from the Air Force, I started writing a blog post about some career decisions I was making. I had been putting off my plans for a long time, waiting on the Air Force, but my GRE was going to expire soon and I wanted to get grad school figured out before that happens.
I worked until the last three years. I started a babysitting business when I was 11 (I was slightly obsessed with The Babysitter's Club) and I continued to babysit throughout highschool. I worked all through college, on top of taking a full load each semester. When we graduated college, I worked (sometimes two jobs!) until Brandon started travel nursing. For us, one of the big perks of travel nursing was that I wouldn't have to work and we could spend more time together. . . something we really needed.
But I always planned on going back to work when we stopped traveling. I enjoy working in my field, and I love school. I want to get my Master's degree (at the very least!) and have a challenging, stimulating job in the field that I love. I worked my butt off in school so that I would have the grades and preparation to be able to do just that.
A few days ago, I was at my Mom's house working on some paperwork for Brandon, and I mentioned going back to school for my Master's degree. She very gently asked, "When are you going to have time to do that? You already have a job. You're doing it right now."
Just to be clear, my Mom is not one of those women who believes the only place for a woman is in the home. She also worked for years until she decided that working a different shift than my Dad and not being home with me just wasn't working for her or our family. So, she became a stay at home mom. She actually tried to go back to work several years ago, but a few weeks into her new job she found out that God was blessing her with a huge surprise-- my baby brother.
The thing is, Mom is right about me already having a job. Right now, being Brandon's wife really is full time work. During these three weeks that he has been gone, I've been "working" 8-16 hours a day. I have a lot of responsibilities: paying the bills (both for here, and for the Kansas City apartment we moved out of), doing paperwork, setting up TMO, preparing our house for the move, selling our house, selling everything we don't want to move, supporting Brandon by writing him letters and being available any time he gets a chance to talk, applying for base housing, researching/scheduling vacation plans (that's the fun part!), packing, taking care of our dogs, handling adoption/immigration paperwork issues, etc. Yesterday I worked from 7:00 am to 11:30 pm, only taking breaks for meals. With him being gone, I have all of my normal responsibilities + his normal responsibilities + house selling responsibilities + moving responsibilities. Obviously, it won't always be this way. . .
. . . but while I won't always have the house selling/moving stuff, it will come around every few years. I'll also have to take over all of his responsibilities every time he gets sent on TDY or deploys. I'm sure there are additional responsibilities and volunteer opportunities on base, which is something I would really like to be involved in. Plus, we are obviously hoping to have kids soon, which will change everything.
I feel very torn. I want a career. I want the challenge and stimulation that working in my field would provide. I justify it by saying that it would be great to contribute financially to our family. . .
. . . but is that even true? Yes, I would be bringing home a paycheck, but not a huge one, and when you consider all of the extra expenses of my working and going to school (gas, eating out more, childcare and/or private school, housekeeping, etc.) I'm not sure that I would be contributing at all.
It's a huge internal conflict for me. What I want (a career) vs. what I believe would be best for my family (staying home). But if I'm not content staying home, then it's really not best for my family. . . because "when momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."
Obviously, it's a personal decision for everybody, so please don't think I'm making any kind of blanket statements or judging what is best for you and your family. But for me and my family, I believe that the best case scenario would be for me to be truly content and happy staying at home. As long as Brandon is in the Air Force, my career will have to play second fiddle. Since we will probably be adopting a kid or a sibling group vs. an infant, bonding/attachment will be a bigger deal and it will be even more important for me to be home for at least the first year or two. And I know how Brandon feels-- he will support me 110% whatever I decide, but he really loves having me home. It takes a lot of stress off of him because he knows that I can handle all the paperwork and household duties, and we both love the extra time together. When we both worked, we rarely even got to have meals together. It's definitely nice to wake up and have breakfast together every morning, and to go to bed at the same time every night.
I have a job. A full time job that I'm pretty dang good at. I just have to decide if I'm okay with it being my only job.