A couple of months ago as I sat in the breakroom, (okay, I was really sitting in my office off-task) but I was scrolling through social media and the news, and I noticed the increase in Coronavirus numbers. Colleagues discussed the possibility of working from home and I waited every day for the official email to release us to telecommute. The day my team and I were finally told to work from home, I left work with a huge smile. I was going to have the opportunity to work while spending more time with my children and husband. I was finally going to have some resemblance of a stay-at-home mother.
After two months of being home with my beautiful family, however in full transparency, I was excited to finally receive the call that it was time to return to work! (Shh! I don’t think my husband or kids know just how excited I was). Did my excitement make me a bad mother? No! My two months were filled with fun times with my children and my husband. We planted a garden, we took walks, we played outside, and we connected with our neighbors and enjoyed conversations and laughter that lasted late into the evening. All of this fun was wonderful and needed; I will forever remember this quality time spent with my children and cherish those moments. Simultaneously, I missed my established routine and working in the office with clients.
After successfully matriculating through years of college, I earned the right to be called Dr. by my colleagues. After studying late into the night for a licensure exam, I earned the “LCSW” behind my name. I am humbled by the accomplishments God has blessed me with and I don’t take them granted. I am honored every day to serve the people I work with by using my gifts and knowledge. I am even more honored to go home in the evening and serve my husband and children. But the way I choose to wife and mother happens to include being a working military spouse.
I am an unapologetically happy and successful working military spouse.
Too often we find ourselves as on one side of the fence, defending why our side is better. I CANNOT stand that fence and I wish someone would tear it down! We hear phrases like, “It’s better to stay home with your children and take care of the home” or “No, it’s better to go out and balance your time between home and work while making money.”
You see, the world is full of military spouses who all “wife” differently and those various ways work for them.
Polonius said it best in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “To thine own self, be true.” Your definition of what an ideal military spouse should be is just that…YOURS! The “one size fits all” section of military wives was sold out years ago! You see, the world is full of military spouses who all “wife” differently and those various ways work for them.
As a working military spouse, who lives on a street with friends who are stay-at-home military wives, I drive past their homes in the morning and mumble a prayer for them because they are equally as busy. When I pull up to my office building, I say a prayer for myself and the other working moms who grind in the office all day or work from home.
However it is that you choose to “wife,” that choice is yours to make and never feel confined by the opinions of others.
If this year hasn’t taught me anything else, I have learned the value of support. To the moms who keep their homes clean, cook three meals a day and still look gorgeous when their spouse comes home…I salute you. To the moms who chase after kids, put a box of cereal on the table and manage to watch a show or two during the day…I salute you. To the moms who are first in the office and last to leave, facilitate meetings, have a list of spreadsheets open at one time and pick up kids from a sitter… I salute you. To the moms who wait tables just so they can get out of the house for a few hours a day…I salute. To the moms who are caring for kids with a deployed spouse while pursuing a college degree…I salute you. However it is that you choose to “wife,” that choice is yours to make and never feel confined by the opinions of others.
I SALUTE YOU ALL!
Dr. Atiya Nathan is a Navy spouse with two children (6 and 4). She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Life Coach. She is one of the admin for the Black Military Wives Facebook page and she loves connecting with new spouses. Her latest project includes the upcoming launch of her life coaching business, The Geode. Feel free to message her via Facebook for information on receiving life coaching services. (She is offering limited free virtual sessions for military spouses).