You can read this entire article in the March/April 2007 issue of Military Spouse magazine!
I've never planned having children well. Actually, I never planned them at all. I even argued vociferously with the doctor on Goodfellow Air Force Base when he diagnosed the cramping I was having (and I was absolutely convinced I had uterine cancer) as daughter #3.
"I think," I sniffed, "I would know if I were pregnant."
Perhaps I should say right here that I often don't know as much as I think I do.
I've been pregnant during PCS moves, pregnant and delivered days before a PCS move, and pregnant mid-tour. The issues and difficulties changed a bit with each situation, but the main worries and conundrums didn't. Would I be able to go back to work? And if so, who was going to watch my kid? As each bundle of blessings made it's appearance into our house, I wondered - would we even be able to afford for me to work?
While civilians have these same worries, I had the additional uniquely military boxes to check... What if hubby drew a long deployment? What if hubby had to go TDY? With my family thousands of miles away, who was going to watch my kids if they came up sick so that I could make it to work?
And make no mistake, my children always waited until hubby was away to catch whatever childhood disease and booger causing bug was circulating with unrestrained glee through the childcare situation.
For example, there was the time my second daughter had a slight fever and the daycare provider wouldn't accept her in that day. I happened to be teaching at a Parochial School in San Antonio at the time, and my boss (a former military spouse herself) was very understanding when I brought #2 and her pillow with me to my classroom that day. Perhaps my boss wouldn't have been so sanguine about the situation if she had known it was in the Karmic Cards for #2 to puke all over me during the teaching of the Seventh Grade Science Class.
Sick children weren't the only hurdle I encountered when I went back to work after adding to our roiling horde of bottle fed brutes. Although I was truly blessed with the most wonderful home daycare provider ever who went out of her way to accommodate us when she could, there were some issues that just weren't solved so easily; like school meetings of the Parent Teacher Association. Which were held at night. And which I was required to attend. And no, it didn't matter if hubby was TDY or deployed.
Looking back now, it's rather funny that I was the woman sitting on the dais, hiding behind a blanket and breastfeeding in public while parents yelled about their children's grades and my fault in the matter. And the hilarity increases exponentially when the loud crash and wailing from the bathroom proved to be caused by my two older children, a broken wall fixture, and a sink that wouldn't turn off.
Actually, it was funny. And character building. And though it may be surprising to some, I look back on my last job teaching (before the birth of child #4) with great fondness and a definate feeling that it was all worth it.
But I'm no longer in my twenties. Well, I'm twenty twelve, but it's not the same thing. And I'm just not sure I'd be able to juggle the dual life of working and being a military wife that other women seem to handle so effortlessly. Inevitably I'd have a booger on my suit at an important meeting; or instead of the heavenly scent of Sunflowers (my favorite perfume), I would bring an oder of stale vomit and poopy diapers into the room with me as I slid into meetings five minutes late with cheerios stuck in the back of my hair. My kids would cheer dinner on macaroni and hot dog night because the endless cycle of Happy Meals would have their kidneys turning into heaps of cholestric infused mush. It would just not be a pretty sight.
Which is why people like Liza amaze me.
Liza and her husband are both active duty airmen. She returned from a tour in Iraq early in 2006, and her husband just returned in December. She left for another Iraq deployment in January. Liza and her husband have twin seven year old boys.
So, not only is Liza known for her hard work and much in demand at her Air Force job, she keeps her house totally clean. I know, I've seen it. I salivated over her unstained carpets. Really! Unstained light colored carpets. The woman is amazing.
Such success is utterly beyond me, with my penchant for velvet lounge pants and fancy t-shirts to "dress them up". And I ask Liza about it every time I see her. Her answer is completely matter of fact.
"You just do what you have to do, and it gets done."
Sounds like the military wife motto, doesn't it?