We spent yesterday afternoon walking around the National Mall, popping into the Air & Space Museum and hitting up the American Indian Museum cafe for a late lunch, complete with Indian fried bread for dessert. One of my favorite aspects of Clay being stationed at Fort Belvoir is being able to live so close to our nation’s capital. As a young political science major during my undergrad years, I dreamed about being able to roam the halls of such important buildings and being a small part of the government machine in effort to help the country run just a little bit smoother. I never pictured myself staying home with children for a prolonged period of time but yet here I am, at home with a four-year-old and a six-month-old and no formal career.
I’ve spent the past four years finishing graduate school, volunteering too many hours to count, and taking the occasional odd part-time job here and there. When asked what I do for a living, I answer, “I stay home with our kids right now” in the most confident voice I can muster and try to resist the urge to produce my transcripts and former performance evaluations as physical proof that I have attributes to offer outside of the home. It is important to note that I am choosing to stay home at this point in time with plans of returning to the workforce within the next two to three years. But as is the case with other major decisions, I wonder if I made the right choice.
I’m not regretting choosing to stay home – in my heart it still feels right for me. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t mourn the temporary loss of my professional self and wonder if I am forever stunting my career. Additionally, the military lifestyle can produce some career-related obstacles due to the ordered moving around and somewhat unpredictable schedule so choosing to stay home can sometimes feel like I am shooting myself in the foot twice. I realize that this is the epitome of a first world problem and complaining about the luxury of being able to stay home is quite gag-inducing. But I’d be lying if I pretended that I am 100% confident in my choice to stay home for 5-6 years and not feel pings of jealousy as my peers advance in their careers.
At the end of the day, I just hope that I am not selling myself short or seen to the world as taking the easy way out. I often say that I am not near as confident as I pretend to be – this is just one of the many areas where this notion rings true. And as I remind myself that this brief time is just a season, I can only hope that I am appreciating it as much as possible, because I know I’ll miss it terribly when the season finally changes.