Hi, I have a confession to make: I’m a 27-year-old stay-at-home wife. Yes, I said wife and not mom—as of right now we don’t have any kiddos. Don’t get me wrong, we want children very badly, but not at this very moment. I feel like a stay-at-home moms in a military lifestyle are understood by the outside world, but there’s a different stigma when you don’t have that typical day-job and you don’t have kids yet.
After college, and during the three years I dated my husband (then boyfriend) I worked full time, at one point had two jobs, and lived with my parents. I saved every single penny I had to pay for airfare so I could see him as often as possible (usually only every two to three months). Those plane tickets from New Mexico to Georgia were equivalent to a rent payment every month. In fact, several times it would have been cheaper for me to fly to Europe than pay what I was paying for my tickets across the country. I took red-eye flights and sometimes spent more time on airplanes and in airports than actual time together. But we did it, because when you’re in a long distance relationship you do everything in your power to see each other as often as possible, even if it’s only a few weeks each year. So once we got married, I decided to make my husband and our relationship my number one priority.
After getting married and moving, I decided to put my career on hold and not get a typical 9-5 job. I have a consistent freelance writing job on the side that brings in some income, but for the most part I stay pretty busy during the day. These days I'm busy with PCS plans and keeping the house "show ready" so we can try selling it—that's a full time job right there!
A lot of the civilian friends I grew up with back home don’t really understand my life now, but I think my military friends get it. I don’t think they understand how a college graduate, who once had a career she loved, could stop working and become a stay-at-home wife. But after years of separation before we were married, and continuous absences several months each year, I want as much time with him as possible.
Deployments and TDYs are the norm for us; I don’t have the luxury of getting to see my husband for holidays and celebrations, so weekends and days when he comes home at a reasonable hour are precious moments that we really treasure. I didn’t want to have a job keeping me from seeing him. The thought of having to ask for time off and having an employer decline my request was a terrifying thought; I didn’t want to have to choose between getting fired and seeing my husband. Now, I enjoy having the ability to hop on a plane and go visit him for a weekend when he’s TDY (on our own dime, of course) and being able to spend those few days before and after deployments together.
I know dozens of military wives and moms who have careers, and not only do I think that’s amazing, but I applaud them. I’m fortunate that I when opportunities present themselves I can work from home, so I hope you know that I am in no way degrading those who do work. This is just something that works for us.
I’m incredibly lucky that I’m at a point in my life where I can do what I love from anywhere in the world. I love making my own schedule and working when inspiration strikes. Because I stay at home during the day, my husband and I can go on frequent lunch dates (making up for those countless “date nights” we had over Skype) and I’m branching out and expanding my hobbies of cooking and photography. I'm hoping that when we move to Italy I’ll be able to venture into travel writing and photography and possibly volunteer on base. I say all of this, because when I tell people that I’m a stay-at-home wife I get the impression that people think I sit at home twiddling my thumbs all day, but it’s far from that!
What about you? I’m very curious how others view stay-at-home military wives. Are you one? Were you one?