When I was younger I had an idea of what I’d be when I grew up. That changed over time from some sort of office professional, to a fighter pilot (yes…until I found out I wouldn’t be able to fly combat missions…and my dreams were shattered), to a horse trainer or stable owner, to freelance web designer. No where did children figure into it, no where would my main priority in life be taking care of the household. Yet here I am, a military spouse, taking care of the household out of necessity. It’s logical, if my husband is gone all the time, or leaves frequently, obviously I have to take care of everything on the “home front” right?
Yet I struggle.
I’m still able to pursue a career, though it’s admittedly much harder than I ever imagined. Yet, I still am obligated through either necessity or other reason to be the one who does the majority of the house hold related things. It makes sense right? He’s working during the day, I have to take care of errands, service calls, the dishes, the cleaning, right?
Hold up – I’m working too.
Right now, as I type this, I’m working too. Why should I have to make room in my own schedule for that? Obviously, you are home, it’s easier that way. I find myself feeling like I’m stuck in a stereotypical housewife role from the 50’s. The good housewife, the good military spouse stereotype. Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking, and I especially love cooking for my family. However, that’s about all I like about the traditional housewife role. I think part of this is found in my own assumptions about what this role should be: my stereotype of the 50’s housewife. It’s not the 50’s and that’s not me and I still have time and opportunity to pursue my own career.
How do you balance “strong independent woman” with “housewife”?
One ideal that I have always been drawn to is the idea of the solitary woman living on the outskirts of town with the slightly overgrown and disheveled home. It’s warm and welcoming filled with warmth, and the smells of something delicious cooking. Cats, books, and herbs are what you’ll find inside. Her home isn’t perfect, but that’s not the point. It’s practical. She knows how to take care of herself, and others, knowing which herbs heal and which harm.
Well, I may not live on the outskirts of town, and my cats might be thousands of miles away, but I have some plants, and lots of books. In my ideal vision she doesn’t mind it’s not perfect, it’s not like everyone else, and it could be said she’s a housewife, but that’s not what she would call herself. She’s taken her own path and struck her own, non-traditional role.
I think many military spouses may struggle with the role of military spouse. We end up giving so much up of ourselves in this life. We are forced to take on roles we otherwise might not simply out of necessity. We may discover we love and relish these new roles, or that we can’t stand them. Yet, we find that these stereotypes of what we should be still persist. We must look beyond these stereotypes, we must embrace our own paths and definitions of what it is to be a military spouse.