I’m a hater, I’m not afraid to admit it.
Summer break has arrived in all its glory. Vacations are booked, pools are open, lazy days have arrived. Even my soldier’s work schedule seems a little more lax -- with half days and block leave coming up soon.
And here I am. Hating.
Welcome to the Working MilSpouse’s Summertime Blues.
During the hustle and bustle of the school year, it’s nothing to hop out of bed and get a move on (as long as coffee has happened). There are things to do: Kids to be fed, dressed and loaded off to their respective educators. There are adults to see off to PT and more coffee. It’s our routine and our normal.
If I can get all that done with only one kid in tears, everyone keeping their hands to themselves and only having to yell twice… well, I’m not saying I’m Wonder Woman, but you’ve never seen us in the same room together, now have you?
Then comes summer.
It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.
There’s an internal struggle that happens every single morning during summer break. Do you have any idea the amount of restraint it takes to not send my boss the equivalent of a ‘Dear John’ letter?
To Whom It May Concern,
In the brilliant words of Johnny Paycheck, “Take this job and shove it, I don’t work here anymore.” (Insert southern accent for effect).
Why is it so hard, you ask? You’re up at the crack of dawn to get dressed, and there they are, your family, doing the opposite of your morning routine. The kids look adorable in their Frozen and Captain America PJs. Your spouse is getting some good Z's. Your home has the sweet semblance of the perfect Saturday morning, except... you must go to work. No fake Saturday morning good feels for you. How can something that feels so right, be so incredibly wrong?
I’ll tell you why. Because of the WMS Summertime Blues.
At some point every working milspouse experiences it. You get a taste of it during the school year with 4 day weekends here and there, but from June to August, during block leave or half schedule days, or just when your service member has days off, those blues kick into overdrive.
You can find solace in the fact that there are no school zones to drive through. It barely makes up for having to tear yourself away from your people, while going to deal with other people that aren’t nearly as cute. While having an easier morning routine is helpful, it doesn’t negate the feeling of wanting to stay home with your family.
What works for every family is different, and that is true for military families as well. For some, having one parent not working outside the home is ideal. For others, working outside the home is ideal and/or necessary. Both situations include sacrifice on some level.
Who would have thought that on the list of sacrifices for working milspouses, this would be one of them?
Working Milspouses Unite! When you feel the Summertime Blues coming, think outside the box for ways that you can make the most of the time you do have with them. We always like to save those vacation days for hometown visits or family trips. But, don’t forget to add in a few days here and there, outside of planned vacations, when you can just be at home with your family. It’s a sure fire way to kick the Summer Time Blues (and avoid having to sing “Take this job, and shove it!”).
**Author’s Note: the sentiments expressed here were my views in years past. I now currently work from home and no longer experience WMSSTB, but I still remember it vividly. Shout out to all Milspouses who work outside of the home and are raising children! You are Wonder Women and Supermen in my book!