One more deployment; hurts worse each time.

One more deployment; hurts worse each time.

When you are in the military you are familiar with the deployment cycles and subsequent TDYs that occur between the deployments.  It was never easy to leave, but as the one going there was an element of excitement and also the knowledge of how busy I would be most of the time.

I made the mistake (HA–wouldn’t change it for the world) of also marrying the military and then becoming a dependant.  What in the world was I thinking?  I had no idea that being the one left behind, with the kids, and the dogs, and of course Murphy’s law occurring would BE WAY MORE DIFFICULT than being the one going.  I have been the one going.  Yes it is hard, yes I missed my family, but it was different.

Part of the problem—and yes this has become a problem–is that my spouse is my person, my very best friend.  So although I am a very independent individual and can handle most stuff all on my lonesome (including all the yard work hehehe) I always feel a huge chunk of me being ripped away each time he leaves.  As the years have gone on the ripping hurts way more than I ever thought possible.

This gets tricky.  It hurts more cause our relationship is strong, and complete.  Sometimes that causes distance…distance because I feel too weak and start pulling away in order to survive.  It is a vicious, stupid circle.

As the dependent, back on the “home front” you cope.  You bitch, you get pissed, you cry, you find projects to fill your time, you work harder than ever, your kids seem more insane than usual, something, or everything breaks and you just deal.  Some days you feel like a damn super hero, some days you crawl into bed and ball yourself to sleep.  Your bedroom causes sadness because your spouse isn’t there.  sometimes you sleep on the couch to avoid the sadness of your room.

You spend every moment you are not together and not able to talk praying or begging or hoping your best friend is safe.  If you suffer even a bit from anxiety or depression there are times it seems hopeless, but if you have kids that is just too damn bad cause you WILL be their rock.

This one is hurting worse than others.  I am not okay, but I will get through it.  We all get through it.

Making where you have to be a Home

In the military you may or may not be stationed a lot of different places.  Some people stay in one or maybe two places their entire career.  Some are constantly being moved.  Minus our overseas assignment every place we have moved to I have been told: “This is it…this is our last assignment!”  You would think I would have learned my lesson about 10 years ago, but I still believe it every time.  We stayed at our first duty station 7 years, then we went to our next one and bought our first house cause that was it, we weren’t leaving.  Seemed pretty plausible at the time.  A few short years later we were overseas.  After that assignment we went to a new place and THAT was definitely it…so we bought our second home.  HA…it was less than a year before we moved again.  Now we are in a new place and own two homes and there is no way in hell I am buying another!

So we are renting a strange townhouse, with plenty of space but awkward issues.  It is on a somewhat busy, somewhat “Hicksville” like road with too much traffic, but no neighborhood to speak of.  And it is dark and dingy.  After decided we were NOT going to buy AGAIN (which most definitely means we will not get orders ever) I decided it was time to embrace the strange and make it home.  First up…paint.  Paint is cheap and does wonders.  I asked the landlords and then went to town.  Light paint on the walls with a nice accent wall here and there can completely transform dark and dingy to light and somewhat airy.  Next, decals.  They make so many cool decals for the walls now and if you get bored with them you peel the suckers off!

New furniture is a nice touch if you can afford to, or need to!  New always makes your heart feel better.  Some flowers, or a garden can cheer up any dingy backyard or front porch.  New decor in general adds whimsy and delight!  Most importantly being creative.  you can’t fix a poor layout or the location of a reasonable rentals (yes rentals here are slim pickings and they are massively overpriced so you jump on what you can afford that pretty much works!  I hate the back yard and the chain link fence (why do people use chain link?) so I shall plant shrubs and flowers to help hide the ugly.

I dislike the layout, but I can be creative with how we use the space.  I cannot fix where we live, but I can explore where we live and if all else fails I can get in my damn car and drive to the nice parks, or walking trails.  Hell if you want to spend the money you can buy light fixtures that suit your taste more, or even appliances like washers and dryers if the ones that came with are below the bar.  CURTAINS can cover and add flare.  Replace the hardware on drawers or faucets.  It all depends on how much you want to spend to make a place feel like home that it isn’t yours.

If I invest too much we will get orders again…hell if I find a dream job we will too so best not chance it!

Colliding headfirst with the stereotype…should I rethink these choices?

I am often amazed with how easily one can actually collide head first into a stereotype.  I truly do not believe anyone is immune to this collision.  Maybe it only occurs once or twice in a lifetime, or maybe you are constantly fitting the new stereotypes that are around.  Some would say they are called “trends”.  Yeah, okay, that is true to.  I suppose sometimes it is trends we follow, but I still think even the trends stem from a stereotypical box we squeeze into first.

So you are out of shape and a “friend” suggests crossfit….WHOA NELLY in approximately 3.5 months you are now a crossfitter who will only invest your time and money in crossfit approved gear, and cannot talk to another human being without using the words: the box, burpees, protein, Tabitha, or form.  You switch to veganism…well look out for all the horrific fb posts containing animal sacrifices, hormone induced chickens, documentaries about plants, and pure shame for anyone who eats, wears, or buys animal by products in any form.  You get more than three tattoos and you are fighting a battle against those who look at your tattoos too long.  I mean the list goes on and on.  For the military spouse it is no different.  The stereotypes that are predominate in the military spouse culture have been blogged about, debated over, and now there is a hilarious video of a Marines wife making fun of the lifestyle.

Why?  Because as military spouses more often than not we fall into a stereotype of how our lives are and the mold we fit.  It is hard to have a career because we move too much.  I personally went through a plethora of stages (especially when we went overseas and there were not jobs).  I crafted, I baked, I thrift store shopped, I played bunko, I drank too much wine, I obviously blog… Many wear their spouses rank, or revert back to high school where they may or may not harbor too many feelings of inadequacies so become “mean girls” or extreme gossips.  Some become OBSESSED with being the hottest “wife” there is, some let themselves go to the extreme.  Most complain about the hardships of deployments (yeah they suck, big time, and shit always goes wrong, and you have to do it all alone, and it isn’t fun or easy–but that is the life and some major suck-uping is needed).  Some say they serve too or they have the hardest job (well we may sort of, maybe a little bit “serve” but only in the sense that we get bounced from place to place with no stable career of our own and that can be a pretty shittastic life choice!).  Do we have the hardest job—nope…nuff said.

What does happen to even the most independent and self-sufficient military spouse–we all tend to fall into at least one stereotype or trend on at least one occasion during our marriages.  It is almost an inevitability.  We can pretend that we don’t, we can claim that we don’t…but that is like claiming you eat all healthy and track everything but not the entire package of Oreos you consumed while watching Greys Anatomy during the last deployment or TDY and then getting on the scale and being flabbergasted that you gained a pound after all your “hard work”.    Denial — it’s a real thing.

What is my point?  I have no flipping clue.  I just know that falling victim to these trends or stereotypes doesn’t make you horrific person or a monster…it makes you human.  I know that as a military spouse and a SAHM who doesn’t want to be a SAHM you try to find anything and everything to keep out of the depression zone, to put your anxiety at bay, and find your path that makes your life feel special to you, feel worthwhile.  It is okay to follow the crowd or to be “unique”.  After all if you truly look at all the “unique” people you will see they are all in a group too.  Humans, we tend to like to be together even if we don’t want to be together!  Just don’t be a douche…be kind.  Check out the funny military spouses making fun of our life–it is well worth it!

 

How To Guide: SAHM House Cleaning

Todays blog is brought to you by the “Not so good at being a SAHM-Mom” as well as the “House Cleaning days are the worst days”!

I am sitting here looking our the window of my very real, very brown rental at the misty, grey, overcast day dreading what the day holds.  Today is house cleaning day.  (insert someone screaming here)

I am not a very good SAHM.  Why?  Well mainly because I don’t want to be one.  I have MAD respect for those who love it!  I mean mad respect, but I want to work.  Sure, ideally I want that perfect job that balances life (cause I love my kids and want to be here for them) and work.  Basically though I just really want to make my own money so we can go on trips, and not really think as much about the financial burden of everything.  For example: the man boy I live with-my very bestie ever-HATES the rental we reside in.  You see he walks in and instantly gets angry at the abundance of brown walls, floors, and cabinets mocking him.  I don’t disagree with him the quirks are endless.  If the cupboards aren’t fallen off, the microwave seems to stay on when opened.  When placing silverware in the dishwasher one does not just throw them in willy nilly…no, no…one has to carefully manuever them into the right spots or else the silverwear may fall through since the basket is falling apart.  And of course there is the fact that all access to the backyard has to be through one of the kids rooms so guess where the doggy door is?  The boy truly hates our rental so much he wants to buy a house at this assignment.  He states that even when the rental is clean (and I may be a bit of a clean freak) it still feels dirty due to the brown overload.

So it is my cleaning day.  I have tried to spread the cleaning wealth across the week, but that is never fun.  I dedicate one solid day to cleaning and that day goes something like the following:

  • Wake up, get coffee, kids off to school
  • Sit on my computer for an hour or so job hunting
  • Eat breakfast
  • Go back to computer to browse social media or Zulily
  • Finally make myself change into cleaning clothes
  • Back to computer to see if there is anything else on the web that will take my attention
  • Stare out the window
  • Think about working out
  • Possibly work out despite my dislike for working out
  • Maybe find a project that might need done
  • Is it lunchtime yet?
  • Okay I will clean the upstairs
  • Begrudgingly clean upstairs
  • LUNCH!!!!
  • Computer again cause I had to take a break for lunch or maybe I will watch TV just to avoid longer
  • Realize that if I keep avoiding the Boy will come home from work and I will feel guilty the house isn’t clean since I have been home all day
  • Think of any and every other project I could possibly do
  • Plan out the rest of my week as I am sure there are errands, or volunteer work to be done
  • Look at the clock and freak out cause I have maybe an hour and half till school gets out
  • Rush like a mad woman to clean the downstairs before the kids come home to only destroy it all anyway
  • Curse the kids while finding super weird, disturbing, and disgusting stuff in their rooms
  • Finally finish cleaning and hop in a shower

At around this point the kids stroll in with their filthy selves and start throwing backpacks and coats every which way.  I lose my cool cause DAMMIT I just cleaned the house and we commence with homework routines.

Later the man-child arrives home and dinner occurs which consequently infuriates me more since the kitchen was clean, and then the realization hits that I spend all day procrastinating and cleaning only to have a really nice house for maybe 3 hours.  Then a week goes by and I do it all over again.  I may actually be living in an insane asylum.

Happy Hump Day!

Sitting on a head kind of day…

Sitting on a head kind of day…

I would really like to write those blog posts that teach you how to bake something amazing (and I can actually bake), or give you step by step instructions on getting through another deployment, or showing you how to turn your rental home into a retro sheik place to be; however, if I am being honest that will be few and far between if at all.

I have owned a few homes I actually loved and then we got orders.  I have worked jobs I thought could really be careers and then we got orders.  I have been through multiple deployments and went through every baking, and crafting stage possible.  You know what–I still felt unsatisfied.  I often feel like my head is being sat on just like our little pup likes to sit on our other dogs head!

So if you read my blog it won’t necessarily up lift or inspire.  Nope, but I bet sometimes you will think, “Well all be darned I am not alone!”  In a few weeks I will back in single parent mode.  I am still searching daily for a decent paying job that won’t make me sacrifice my entire families well-being.  A job with M-F daytime hours and a liberal leave policy so when we actually do get to have family vacations I can get time off!

This last move for me has been strange.  Basically we are thrilled to be in Washington, but I feel like we have gone backwards in time.  I am back in a “not so great” rental with more quirks and annoyances than “charm”.  I look at the shit brown walls and often reflect on my days in green carpeted apartments when rent was low and my well-being was thought of.  It is an affordable rental in a housing market that is outrageously over priced on BAH that is significantly too low for the area.  I tried joining the pages on FB that will tell me how jazz it up, but the carpets still look like they are from the 70s (stains and all) the cabinets still don’t all close properly, and the set up is still not desirable.  I think–hey girl you got a roof over your head and all is great.  No…no this sucks to have literally gone backwards in life.

Yet, this is part of the life I somewhat chose so you keep going.  That is until your spouse is gone for months on end, your kids complain that they can’t ride their bikes unless I load them up and we go somewhere with no busy roads, and your sanity is so far on the verge of combustion that you take frequent “mom time outs” in hopes the feelings of despair will pass.  Then your spouse calls for a Skype session and every blog tells you to say everything is fine.  It is not always fine.  It is difficult and takes its toll and the brown walls are now the sore point of your existence.

Despite all of the annoyance that occur, despite the feelings of hopelessness that sometime creep in, despite the feeling that someone is sitting on your head–you get up every day and keep trying.  I use to only focus on the future and the what ifs.  Now I realize I am missing out on too much if that is all I think about it. So, yes I hate the stupid brown walls and cabinets that don’t close right.  Yes, I am less than thrilled with the job market, and the lack of decent housing options–regardless I will find the silver lining and the happy moments with my kids, with my spouse, with me.  However it is okay to also sometimes throw the covers over your head and say–Not today, today I say screw you brown walls and shitty cabinets, screw you dryer that has to run twice to dry one load, screw you deployment and crappy job options I am staying in bed and reading all day!

Interviews and mass Disappointment

It has been almost 7 months since we moved to our potentially last duty station.  In that time frame I have spent 2.5 months in single parent mode driving halfway across the country with 2 kids and 2 dogs, getting the entire rental house moved in, the kids enrolled in a new school, and generally just getting things settled.  I have spent 3 months working a temporary job at my kid’s school that I decided to apply for and accept despite the pay so i could get to know the new school and community we have moved to.  I have spent 6 months applying for all kinds of jobs I thought I would want to finally start my career path or that seemed like decent gigs.

I interviewed for a few of those potential “careers” only to find out that I was either overqualified, under-qualified, the job was exactly what I wanted but I had to start on night shifts, or it was good stepping stone to a potential career but I had to work 3-7 pm M-F.  (I have also been referred to 7 GS jobs–two I was not hired for and no interview took place and the others…well there is a hiring freeze)

What I have discovered is if I want to do what I always thought I would do I have to sacrifice time with my family (again keep in mind the husband deploys often so he is already gone and my kids are currently 8 and 7 so they are wanting to do after school sports or activities and I have no family close to watch them or take them).  Not just time with my family but whatever money I make goes straight to daycare since the jobs start as night shifts or the exact times they aren’t in school and that gets ridiculously expensive.

I ended up doing A LOT of soul-searching and what I discovered was simple–I am a military spouse and mom of two with a Masters degrees who will not sacrifice her kids lives for her selfish career desires.  I would feel selfish and personally could not live with that.  I technically chose to have the little buggers, and I chose to marry the boy in uniform so with all that comes some sacrifices I suppose I just didn’t expect and now have to come to terms with.  The best “career” path for me is the GS system as a M-F gig 8-5 with almost 10 years already invested if I buy back my military time.  That would be about my only possibility of a retirement.

So I suppose I will not be some awesome forensic psychologist, or ninja Indiana Jones type super hero.  I can live with that.  Although it has taken me a good 8 years of fighting it to come to terms with it.  In that 8 years though I have traveled Europe and the states, learned to bake and cook, become pretty damn crafty if the mood hits, gotten a Bachelors and a Masters (even if they will never be utilized) and so far raised some pretty okay kids!  Unfortunately I have also struggled with anxiety and depression and gone through a few pretty dark years.  Balance, right?

Introduction to my unknown Journey

Introduction to my unknown Journey

Life is a very interesting adventure.  From an outside perspective looking in it can often appear like the majority of people have their shit together.  Social media  both helps and hurts this idea.  It has helped by letting anyone and everyone post anything through a literal and figurative filter.  You can edit your photos and post about your “amazing” life with a few simple clicks.  You can post on your feed or tweet about how grand everything is from your new shiny job to the dinner you slaved over.  We live in a time when it is easier than ever to give your opinions, to show off your accomplishments, to have your own individualized soap box next to everyone else.

I wouldn’t claim I am any different; I am certainly nothing special in the scheme of things.  In fact that is my point…I have completely lost myself in the never-ending social media world and have been fighting like hell to figure out who I am, what I am “meant” for, and how to get there and that is part of the hurt–not many people are super honest about anything that could portray them in a negative light.

I floundered in my early college years as a waitress constantly changing majors or schools.  Turns out I am a great college student, but a sucktastic college socialite.  I hated having roommates, couldn’t care less for the supreme party scenes and had no real passion or subject I excelled at.  After several years I decided to join the Air Force.  I had nothing to lose and I needed adventure (and a real job).

Turns out I was pretty good at being Active Duty.  I even enjoyed it so much so that I finished a Bachelor’s degree ended up meeting my husband and had my first kid.  That is where my entire world flipped inside out.  See, by this time I had found a passion and my drive.  I wanted to travel the world, to be someone (I suppose I didn’t specify this request, as technically I am someone to a few very important little people-just not “someone” like I thought)!  When my daughter was born my husband had a new job in the Air Force at a new base and if I stayed Active Duty I couldn’t go with him.  We made the choice together for me to leave the military.  I left all I had known for 6 years and traveled to a new place with my husband and new baby daughter.  Turns out that is where the identity crisis truly began.

I got a mediocre job thinking I would work my way up, I became ultra motivated and started a Masters program, I got pregnant again and had my son.  I was actually starting to feel pretty confident about my potential career and our life when I got a phone call one day that said, “I just received orders to Germany and we have to decide in 24 hours…”   WHAT…well of course I am not going to say “no babe don’t take those as I may have a pimp career soon” (and seriously I didn’t have a pimp anything yet except family).  So I left my job and went to Germany…not just Germany but middle of farm land Germany.

I will address this huge pinnacle move later but needless to say that move was both the worst and best of my life and has brought me here to Spokane, Washington totally lost as to what to do next and realizing that my life has been pretty damn awesome in the scheme of things.  I don’t have a career, I would love a career and will keep trying, but I don’t have a career.  I do have A LOT of knowledge and hard-earned lessons on being a driven military spouse, a stay at home mom who never wanted to be a SAHM, dealing with depression and anxiety, dealing with women who can be so mean, and also women who can be so up-lifting.  I have a plethora of experience in making and losing friends, PCS-ing around the world, attempting every hobby known to man (not literally, but sometimes it feels that way), volunteering, working different jobs, being an outgoing introvert and psychologically evaluating everyone and every situation I come in contact with.

I am here to be real and honest.  I mean you are reading about the woman who took pictures of her kids in “time-outs” across Europe since trips are not always so easy and amazing as Instagram and Facebook have us believe.  I am here to help you not make the mistakes I have, or to at least let you know you are not alone…that a lot of us have no clue who we are supposed to be and that is okay.  It is okay to be a bit lost in life, as long as you live!