Monday, May 23, 2011

My Job(less) Conundrum

First, don't you just love the word conundrum? It's so fun to say.

I digress.

There are so many wonderful things about being an Army wife - exploring new parts of the country and world, making new friends, health insurance, etc., so if you think I am here to complain you are wrong. But there is one aspect that I find rather frustrating. It is very difficult to have a career as an Army wife.

I have a background in communications and marketing, which is all about who you know and working your way to the top. That's hard to do when you move fairly often to follow the hubby.

Right now, we are here in Arizona for an even shorter than normal time period, only 6 months, so I am a full time house wife. Here's my confession: I don't mind staying at home. I enjoy watching my morning shows, having the free time to work out when I want to and for how long I want to, being able to meet girlfriends for lunch and to lay by the pool, and most of all the time to cook yummy meals for the hubs and I. Here's what I don't like: feeling like I am not bringing anything to the table, having to really watch the bank account, and just an overall feeling of little self worth. I often feel like I am a stay at home mother without the child. (Does Maggie count??)

For as long as I can remember I have always worked. I babysat in middle school and started with part-time jobs as soon as I was in high school and continued through college. Then I walked out of PLU with a degree and a full time job lined up. Plus I come from a family where my mom has always worked full time, as does Ian. So me not working is a whole new mindset I have to get used to.

I know the majority of my Army-wife friends do not work, and I know I never think low of it and know everyone does what is best for them, but for me I feel convinced that somehow all of my non-Army friends and family must view me as lazy and pampered and all my education was for not. I know this is (hopefully) not the case, but it's hard to think otherwise when it's often how I see myself. Thankfully, Ian is extraordinarily supportive of me and always assures me that just because I don't bring a paycheck in doesn't mean I am not contributing to our marriage. I know he will encourage me to go after any of my dreams, even if that includes staying at home. For me it's a battle with my own mind and not coming from an external source.

So here is my conundrum... how do I balance enjoying my free time with knowing I am a valuable part of our marriage, challenge my brain more, and bring some mula in?? I always think a part-time job would be ideal, but I really don't want to work retail again! Am I crazy?! Am I wanting my cake and to eat it too?

When we move to Fort Campbell, I am really hoping to further pursue my interest in dental assisting, but to be honest, I am nervous that I'll pay even more money to further my education just to realize it's not what I want! Argh!  I am pretty positive that I would love it, but then again I at one point thought the same about communications.

Any advice would be much appreciated, and thanks for letting me vent! :-)


  1. I would just like to say...AMEN. I am in that boat too. Make the most of it. Pray as a couple before big decisions, like going back to school. In our first year of marriage the doors for a Masters Degree closed fast, I didn't even apply, it was so clear. This is going on year 3 and ever door opened. I am now back in school, and although it is money out of the pocket now, I feel like I am earning a bit so I can help bring in more $$$ in the future. Make little goals: creating a new meal, set fitness goals-do a longer race, and volunteer you cute little butt off. It keeps up your resume, gives you a sense of well being, and you can set your volunteer time according to your schedule. That is my 2-cents. I LOVE you Kelli and I am so proud of all your accomplishments, being a good wife is the biggest one yet!


  2. Girl, you know I'm with you on this 100%!! Very well written.

  3. I'm in a little different situation, but can totally understand. We were in college when we married, I finished and worked full-time. Then baby #1 came along and I haven't worked out of the home since. My education needs to be re-certified every couple years and now that we live in a different state, I can't do that. All that down the drain. That's how it feels, sometimes. What about being a waitress? You'd rock at charming the tips out of people and it'd be part-time. You'd bring in a little cash and I bet you'd have fun. A little, right? Not the dream job of a lifetime, but it might be perfect for the season that you're in right now.

  4. OMG, Kelli! Totally agree with you!!! We must discuss soon in person!

  5. I have to say that we were married about 3 years before we had Sam. I worked for the two years prior and then we moved to Italy. Not much chance of a career there except for the PX unless you are a teacher or want to work at ACS or some other gov't office. Not too long after the move, I found out I was pregnant and then I was glad that I didn't have to work and could nap when I wanted. :-) As a stay at home mom with two children, I find that my job is being at home for the kids when they get home from school, being available for field trips, planning meals, preparing meals, and keeping the house going when he is home and when he is not. As Ian moves up in rank, he hours will get progressively longer and the jobs more stressful. I find that I am the one that tries to keep it all together at home so he doesn't have that as an added stress on top of a stressful job. I feel like I earn my pay for sure. Taking meals into work, getting his car serviced, planning vacations, etc. I get time off for lunch or coffee with the girls, but I put in a lot of hours volunteering within the unit and at the kid's schools. You can find your balance. I love not working because I can be home and available when he is available. I have a Bachelor's in INterior Design and that is definitely not a mobile job. You have to build clientele and that is hard to do when you move every year or three. Find your niche and don't worry about what others think of your choices. You have to do what is right for your family. Right now, it's you two and one day there could be more of you to fit into the equation. Either way, you can find places to volunteer your time that equate to resume builders if you go back to work later or you can focus on making your house a home that you will enjoy together. I hope you find your place in this crazy Army life . . . if you work or if you don't, all that matters is that it works for you and Ian.


  6. Hey new follower from the Friday Fill-In! Are you at Huachuca? We were there last summer for the MICCC and I got a job as a flex worker at the CDC. I had great hours, was able to hit the gym after work, and spend the weekends with the hubby. They were always hiring for flex workers, so you could look into that if you enjoy working with children!