So, tonight I was dedicating to working on my photography, but my mind got to racing about too many things, that I need to take a break and write them out. One, this one, is more to do with my military life. And I’m sure it’s a topic I’ve discussed previously, but it still bothers me.
It used to be, even until as recently as August, that when asked (by family, friends, small talk with strangers) “What do you do (for work)?”, I was ashamed to say, “housewife.”
But, that’s the truth. After moving out to where my husband is stationed, I could not find employment in an area of my experience – Administrative Office Work. I applied, I got one interview, but nothing came of anything. Because we learned by husband would be deploying, and at the time he was working full days (PT at 7am, then a full day of duty, and wouldn’t get home until anytime between 6 and 7 at night), I chose to not pursue employment, so that I could have my nights, what few hours we had before bed, spent with him; free of the added stress both of us working would have added (who would make dinner, keep the place clean, keep laundry caught up). I figured, while he is here, since he is deploying, I would dedicate all of my time and effort into making everything else in our lives go as smoothly as possible, so that he wouldn’t have all of the added stress on top of what the military solicits.
While it was a choice, it wasn’t without sacrifice – a second paycheck, the experience I would gain, the fulfillment of doing something for me/for us… And I don’t think people think about what it means, to some of us military wives, to be a housewife.
But it wasn’t just that I had nothing “impressive” to tell people about what I was doing for work, but that everyone expected me to have some kind of job, and therefore followed up my response with a flat “Oh.” It was the projection I was receiving that made me feel less-than, for being a housewife, for choosing to take a year and put my husband first.
So, no, I won’t be ashamed for going unemployed for a time. It is a choice I will never regret. And, no, I will not allow you (anyone) to allow me to feel bad about choosing to be a housewife temporarily.
I do not sit at home all day every day doing absolutely nothing – I know some housewives/military wives do, but I am not one of them. I prepare dinner for my husband every night, sometimes he makes his own breakfast, but most days I do it for him. Oh yeah, and my dinners are always homemade, and hardly ever made from a box or anything prepackaged. I make sure the laundry is caught up on and he always has clean clothes for his uniform (sure, I fell behind once or twice because he didn’t tell me he was on his last shirt or pair of socks). I keep the apartment clean – a clean living place is proven to help reduce stress (and we do not live on Post, so we aren’t held to the military cleaning code). I’m the one who runs the errands and does the grocery shopping. And I also have the time to pursue my hobbies and interests, allowing me to start the process of getting my own photography business going.
So, despite being “unemployed” since August of 2009, it has not been an uneventful year. It’s a year I shouldn’t be ashamed of.
As for the other wives and military wives who choose their families over employment – either permanently or temporarily – and are making it work as housewives, bravo to you. I hope you are never made to feel ashamed for your choice to stay home and take care of your family. For if you truly are putting in the effort, you have nothing to be ashamed of.