I often read the blogs on this site. I have one favorite that I read everyday. I read her posts, I read the comments that her readers write and I read her responses. It's become quite a popular blog and it is, in fact, the blog that inspired me to begin my own. Now, I am not so confident that my own blog will become as popular as hers, but I began one nonetheless. She has recently within the last year began making money with her blog and has book offers and so on and her most recent post was one that grabbed me in particular. It was a response to one of the comments. She wrote that her blog has given her a sense of purpose and a source of income after being a stay-at-home mom for so long. I have struggled with that same feeling since I began to stay home with my children. I worked with my two oldest children. They are now 7 and 9 years old. When my husband enlisted and we moved to Georgia I left my job in Indiana and never got back into the workforce. It wasn't so much a decision to stay home, it was more circumstance than anything else that resulted in my staying home status. When we got to Georgia, we only had one vehicle. With my husband's schedule (up at 5 am for PT, and home around 6pm) it didn't make sense for me to try to get a job because the entire house would have to run around his schedule. Then he deployed for the first time, which freed up the vehicle, but that left the fact that one parent was completely gone and there would be no one to alternate trips to school or the doctor. Not only that, but trips to the grocery store and regular household routines would all be rushed all the time because I would have always been going. I worried that that would create more stress for the kids, more than they were already under with their father being in Iraq. Upon Nick's return from Iraq we had the extra money to get a second vehicle. It was always an assumption that I would return to work, but for those 3 years it just hadn't been feasible or seemed as though it would have been more work than what it was worth. But, nonetheless, there we were with two vehicles and the boys were both in school so it was "time" for me to go back to work. I didn't really want to at that point, but my husband really wanted me to.
This is the part that goes kinda crazy. I had planned on getting a tubal ligation before Nick got back from Iraq. I went to my doctor, which in a military facility you never really know who/what you're gonna get. I was fortunate enough to get a doctor who was a strong advocate of SEMI-PERMANENT birth control like an IUD. I didn't want an IUD because I was finished having kids. She, however, didn't speak very good English and wanted to do what she wanted to do. Instead of scheduling me for a consult for tubal ligation like she said she was doing, she scheduled me for an IUD implant. Imagine my surprise when I showed up for my appointment and a whole new doctor walks in with an IUD kit. I explained that that was NOT what I wanted, but seeing as how there was no way for me to get a tubal ligation BEFORE my husband got home I agreed to give it a try. Now, I could have just scheduled my tubal for after he got home, but I knew for sure that there was no way after being in Iraq for a year that my DH was gonna wait for the tubal. So, on we went with the IUD. Unfortunately, my cervix is stubborn and the docs could not get it in!!! LOL!! Two different doctors came in and tried...imagine my humiliation. My legs all hiked up and different docs with their respective nurses coming in and discussing my vaginal area and looking confused and bewildered at the same time. Never have I been told "I can't get it in" so I totally bragged about that to all my friends, but at the same time I was still fertile. Since the IUD was not a success I went ahead and scheduled a tubal ligation, but, again, it would have to be after my hubby's arrival home. Even after explaining to him all that I went through, do you really think he wanted to wait??? So, we tried the family planning method and I guess we could've used condoms, but I didn't have the heart to make him strap it on so we didn't. Ok, skip to the next month and it's finally time for my tubal. My doc ordered all the pre-operative tests and everything came out fine. My pregnancy test was negative and I was healthy. I had the tubal and doc said everything went off without a hitch. Two weeks went by after the procedure and I had yet to start my period. I knew that I was supposed to have started and asked my doctor if this was a side effect. He said that all my plumbing should be normal so I had to go in for an ultrasound. Sure enough, I was pregnant. WHAT!!!!!???? My doctor kinda of laughed and mentioned that the baby had a very strong heartbeat and could very well be "president" one day. I don't know if that's a requirement for president, but my doc said so. My shock was mostly because I was pregnant WHEN HE DID the tubal and he never noticed. He then looked at us and began to explain that he is a strong believer in a person's choice and would support us either way. We were confused until we realized what he was saying. Nick and I looked at each other, and even though this baby was very much unplanned/unexpected we would not allow her to be unwanted. So there was another little Hooe on the way. I went through a mild depression and I think that Nick did too. We had finally gotten to a point in our lives where we could do "stuff" again. The kids didn't throw fits when we got a sitter anymore, they could do simple things like pouring their own cereal, they could both wipe their own butts and clean themselves in the shower, they both slept without argument in their own beds and most of all they were both in school now. I had planned on getting a job and contributing to the household financially. All of that was over and so we grieved for a bit. Grieving turned into furious planning and we righted ourselves for a new baby. When we found out that she was a girl, Nick's entire outlook changed. He always wanted a girl...I never did, because I am familiar with the life of a teenage girl, but I soon became excited as well when we started shopping for clothes. It all turned out okay and so here we are today with our three babies.
Now, even though I was pregnant, Nick continued pushing me to get a job. I thought that it would not pay for me to go to work at this point. With labor and delivery looming, who would hire me? This was also the time that we learned we'd be moving. Nick got the great opportunity to switch jobs in the Army to one that would benefit us when he gets out and so he was leaving for four months for school. After school we would have to move to Texas. Having a job would only complicate things. But still, I'm bored with being home. Often, I feel useless, without purpose or direction.
My generation of women are the daughters of the feminist movement. Our mothers worked and pushed their way into the workforce and they did it! So for my generation it became an expectation that we (women) would work outside the home and still be able to be Susie Homemaker when we got off work. Not to mention that when I was growing up I was good at everything. I excelled in sports and academics and it was evident to me as I grew older that my parents expected that I would be the doctor/lawyer/politician/astronaut or anything else that requires much work and dedication. I have great respect for the women that are those things, but I don't believe that those things, despite my success in school, were in the cards for me. I am my parents' greatest disappointment. I know this. I still cannot accept that I have failed so miserably to live up to those expectations. I want very much for my children to succeed in life, but how do I do that without setting the bar so high that each of my individual children won't feel as though they've let me down? Do I lower my expectations? Do I tell them that if they get pregnant in college or (God forbid) high school that that is okay and I will love them forever no matter what? I know that my parents love me, but every time I look at them I can see them looking at me as "the child who could have....." For me, being a stay-at-home Mom is almost embarrassing. Every time I tell someone what I do for a living I always feel obligated to explain why I am doing this. How many of you know doctors who introduce themselves, "Hi, I'm John and I'm a doctor. I chose to be a doctor so I could make lots of money and help people at the same time." Well that's what I do every single time. What's worse is that when I tell people what I do they always tell me how lucky I am to be able to do that. They don't really say it in a cheerful, encouraging way. They say it in an almost bitter way. Like they resent me for doing this. Like, "Well, it must be nice, aren't you little miss lucky." I don't understand this response. It's like they assume that because I'm home with my kids that my husband must make tons of money. Can I just remind you that because my husband works for the government, his income is a public issue. He is currently an E-4 with 4 years in, look it up, you'll see how much money he makes. Also, I haven't gotten my nails done in like 10 years. I get my hair done usually twice a year, at tax time and then I usually get a gift certificate to a salon for my birthday (October). So without further explanation, I think it's clear that I'm not living the life of luxury while the rest of the women in the world are suffering. I also have very little contact with any other adults. I live at work, this is my job and I take it seriously. I do not get vacation or weekends off. I do not get promotions or a pension or a title. Well, I guess I have a title, but it's the same title as every other woman who has ever given birth.
I am not mad at the world. I am here by choice. I chose this life. I do not wish that I had taken any other course. I think that the women who fought so hard were misunderstood by most of the world. They were not fighting to get into the workplace. They were fighting for their choice to do so.