**Disclaimer: I love my husband and all of the people who support me in my life. I am a genuinely happy person, but sometimes, I just gotta let out the griping...and what better time then when I can
(And, my apologies...it's a long one--I'm making up for lost time.)
I've been MIA from the blogging world lately. I literally have not had 10 minutes to sit down and write if it was not for school, teaching, exams, or a publication. So, here I am. I'm tired. I'm tired of doing so much. I'm tired of being so misunderstood.
I've mentioned before how I don't fit in--in military wife life OR in grad school life, because each is so different from the other and I'm juggling both sets of roles and responsibilities in two different arenas where neither side understands the other. But it goes deeper than that. I get so FRUSTRATED when people think I'm "just" a stay at home mom. First of all, HELLO?!? "JUST" does not belong in that phrase. Mommyhood is the hardest (yet best and most rewarding) job on the planet and it gets under my skin when people take it upon themselves to say how that's not a big deal. But I digress...
I AM a mom first and foremost. This is the way I want it. It is my favorite of my favorite roles. But I am also many other things:
-I am a military wife. That's not an easy job. My husbands's job dictates not only his life but my daughter's and my lives. He never has the option to put off his responsibilities--nope, it's always my commitments that have to give. People MISUNDERSTAND a military wife's place in her family--and in the military structure itself. It is hard to pursue anything for yourself in this life. You never know what's around the corner, but you know YOU will be the one who must be flexible. YOU will have to be the one to break plans and mold your life to his duties. YOU will have to live in his shadow--no matter what I accomplish, he always "trumps" me in the eyes of others. That's fine--he deserves it. I have the utmost respect for our military and have seen first-hand how much they sacrifice and have witnessed their superhuman strengths and abilities. BUT I wish that didn't have to negate MY accomplishments. I work hard, too. I keep this family together in his absence. I, for all practical purposes single-handedly raise our amazing daughter. And, this is fine with me because I love it. I only wish I had more time away from other responsibilities to do more fun things with my little lady--but I feel bad for her missing out on a "normal" family life (whatever that is) and I feel bad for him missing out on fatherhood on a more regular basis. I pay the bills--no, it's not MY income that pays the majority of the bills, but I am the one who make sure things get paid. I clean the house, I mow the grass (sometimes, like today), I cook every meal that we eat at home. I handle the house, the cars, the EVERYTHING that keeps us above water. Does that not deserve some credit?
-I'm a teacher--a college instructor. This is not an easy job, either. It's very important but it involves a lot of work, time, and effort--and irritation at times. It took a lot of hard work, education, and sacrifice to make it this far. MY merits got me here. But people don't seem to understand. "Oh, you JUST teach online" they say. Yes--but this is also A LOT of work. Maybe more work than being IN the classroom--which I have also done and will be doing again come August. Not to mention, I'm trying to work WHILE taking care of all of my at home duties--they don't shut off during "work" hours. Or, "Oh, it's JUST community college" others might add. What's up with "JUST" coming before all of the things that challenge and reward me as an individual? Community college is no walk in the park. Imagine a group of 30 people, all from very diverse backgrounds with a variety of goals, family situations, ages, etc. and try to come up with a course that can reach all of them. Not the easiest thing on earth.
-I am a graduate student. "Oh, you're in school?" people say with a strange tone as if to look down upon me. Yes. I am a 30 year old and I am STILL in school. I am STILL in school because my husband (who I fully and wholeheartedly support) has a career that has taken me places and put me in situations that made it impossible to get this far without breaks in my education. And when I say "this far" I mean I am working on my PhD. A very, very small fraction of the population has such credentials. I don't think I am better than anyone else and question this decision on a daily basis. It's not for everyone, that's for sure! But do I not deserve SOME recognition for these accomplishments? Maybe people just don't understand. I write--I publish--I work very, very hard to be the best that I can be and make a name for myself--a career for myself.
I'm also a daughter, granddaughter, niece, friend, and pet owner among other things. I take everything in stride, though I do get down and complain sometimes (okay, a lot). But don't we all deserve to just let it out sometimes? To remind people that we are ALL unique in our own ways...and it is all relative. We only know what we have had the opportunity to experience. I just feel so misunderstood so often...by so many people in my life. My colleagues do not get the military experience, my military acquaintances don't get the grad school experience, my civilian acquaintances who haven't been to grad school don't get either. I get moved around to places that make getting the job I want, that I have worked so hard for in pursuing this PhD, nearly impossible. But I go. I follow. I remain in the shadow hoping for the chance to be seen in a brighter light for MY accomplishments in all areas of my life. Thankfully, I have an amazing group of friends and family who, while they may not understand me fully, are my rocks. I'm so blessed to be surrounded by amazing people--especially on days like today.
I said a long time ago that I was going to stop being irritated and start being proud. So, in my bloggity journal, this is that time when I got it out and turn over that new leaf. So, go me! I am so super proud that in a single day I spend time with the most amazing little girl on the planet (in my eyes), make our house (that we are blessed to have) clean and beautiful--including the yard, make sure our bills are paid, run a half mile farther than I have been running, work on a publication, prepare for an exam that will put me one step closer to PhD status, work on my dissertation project, and feed my family. Our family lives a life with many battles and challenges, but that just makes us stronger. We might not be "normal" by any standard, but the opporunities and experiences we are privy to on this journey are priceless. As are the amazing people we meet along the way. When I put it that way, I guess it doesn't matter who does or does not understand me from the inside out, as long as I can stay strong, keep pushing forward doing the right thing, and have my rocks to stablize me on this crazy journey.
Okay. Griping done. Stay tuned...when time permits, I'm still working on putting on my "happy blog face."
And, I'll leave you again with one of my favorite quotes that I break out when I feel like I'm pushing against a brick wall. It reminds me that I must keep plugging along, even when the going gets tough. Obstacles before me, beware! :)
“…the evident genius of the human spirit lies in the hard fact of life that we, like our dogs…[are] limited in all the important ways… We cannot do all that our powerful minds trick us into thinking we can. In a word, this is the mystery of being human. Our finest nature is not our ability to think and do. It is that we do and think as we do in spite of the obstacles…On average, the better ones among us continue to think and do what they can with no assurance that solutions will be found.”