We are pretty well settled in to our new duty station. Our PCS went rather smoothly, surprisingly enough, with a few hiccups along the way. We were able to visit family and take our time getting here. We have wonderful neighbors and there are lots of kids for our kids to play with.

My husband starts his military school tomorrow and the kids start school on Tuesday. And I, well… I'm at a crossroad and can't decide what I want to do with my life while we are here for 10 months.

I have always worked, gone to school, or volunteered. After spending 4 1/2 years (off and on) in grad school and only working 18 months after graduation, I feel this NEED to find a job. And on other days I don't want to work. I have spent hours on the internet in search of a job. I have applied for jobs, but with no offers for an interview. I am frustrated, yet relieved that I can do whatever I want without the restrictions of a job.

My husband is very supportive. He has told me to do what my heart desires. The problem is – I'm not SURE what my heart desires. I am trying to be patient. Trying to do some soul searching for myself and my family. Trying NOT to go nutty because I don't have a "routine." There's a lot of volunteer opportunities on an Army post and I am already committed to a few things. I look forward to getting involved on post and seeing what other opportunities may evolve. But I am also very impatient when it comes to this "up in the air" kind of thing.

I discovered after my son was born (9 years ago) that I was not cut out to be a "stay-at-home-mom." I have HUGE amounts of respect for mothers who don't work outside the home and focus solely on their children. I can't do that and I am okay with that. I have gone through the heart-wrenching dilemma of whether or not to return to work after my son was born. I lasted 5 months… I started grad school when my daughter was only 5 months old. See the pattern here? I have only been out of work for about 7 weeks and I can already feel my anxiety increasing (more and more as the kids' first day of school approaches…in 2 days!).

I know that one day the light bulb will go on and I'll know what I am meant to do at this time in my life. And I know I need patience. I also know that I am not very good at the "wait and see what happens" game. Anyone else going through something like this or maybe went through something like this recently? Please, share your stories…

About the Author

Joan D'Arc

Joan D'Arc has been an Army spouse since 1997. She started her marriage as a geographical bachelorette and experienced her husband's first deployment before their first wedding anniversary. Since then, she has had two beautiful children who amaze her (and frustrate her) every day. Joan fought her way through graduate school and is now a Licensed Social Worker. Joan enjoys volunteering with Soldiers' Angels and giving back to the military community in any way possible. Joan feels very blessed to be an Army spouse and wouldn't trade this life for anything!

  • Jewels

    I have a hard time only being a stay at home mom too. I know I’m doing good for my kids to be home with them, but I feel like I have so much more to do! Good luck with figuring out what to do with your time!

  • kati

    I’m not a mom, but I went from working 3 years at one job to being jobless for 5 months. 4 months were because we only had one car so I couldnt work with his crazy post deployment work schedule. But now I can work and can’t find a job. It makes me feel useless.

  • Megan

    I’m not a mom either, but I totally understand where you are coming from. We moved at the beginning of the summer, and I told myself that the out of work thing was short and temporary, but with husbands crazy work schedule (I feel you Kati on the 1 car thing), another upcoming deployment and move in the next year, I haven’t gotten another job. Lots of days I just want to go crazy feeling stuck in the house, but try to make the best of this time. It can be a really great time to catch up on some of the important things in life…like Regis and Kelly or the View :) Good Luck!

  • M

    I feel ya! We just finished our PCS and things are still feel crazy and chaotic. I managed to find a way to transfer to another job within my same company (a miracle!) and yet, I find myself wondering if I should have taken some time off to really get settled.
    I seem to do this with every new assignment. When I can’t find a job right away – I’m desperate for that feeling of accomplishment within my career. When I’m working, I wish for some extra free time to read a good book or be social with the other spouses.
    DH started school this am too. Are we at the same post?

  • Bradi Nathan

    Use this time to figure out what you want out of life professionally. Perhaps you were meant to be a entrepreneur? Is there something that you are truly passionate about.. think about turning that into a career. My friend loves tennis… now she teaches (and get paid) kids how to play. My other girlfriend loves to exercise… she just got certified to be a personal trainer and now she has her own clients (and gets paid). I, at one time, loved to craft. I would decoupage wares and sell them at local fairs and churches (and got paid). You see where I am going with this.. release your inner mompreneur!

  • angela

    I have thought about going back to work but it never works out for me. Like tomorrow all 3 kids have to be signed up for school. Of course at all different times of the day. Plus a dentist appointment and vet appointment this week. I worry if I get a job I would have to take off way too much because of all the stuff the kids need to do.

  • Kate

    Completed our PCS just over 2 weeks ago, left my super stable job of three years 3 weeks ago. With no children/pets I feel a responsibility and a need to get back to working asap! But with only one car and in a brand new and remote area its unlikely to happen anytime soon, and the prospect of being a fulltime ‘housewife’ at age 27 is not what i’d envisioned….thankfully we don’t *need* me to work, but still, I want to feel useful.

  • Xtna

    I can understand completely…I am always telling people that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I have a degree with a teaching certificate…but I hated it. I’m still at home with my kiddos, but my hubby’s retirement is looming in the near future and it will be my turn to “earn the bacon. Yikes!

  • Sara V.

    I thought I didn’t want to be a stay at home wife. I want to make money for my family and I want to be important. But my degree doesn’t fit with anything, and my experience is getting me no where. This last deployment, I did a workout called crossfit. Now, a year and a half later, I am getting certified with the hopes of training other military spouses. Hopefully, I will be partners with another miltiary spouse I met through our community. The idea of being my own boss, with my own schedule while making money for my family is very appealing. And scary as hell.

  • Joan D’Arc

    Thank you all for your feedback. This military life can be a real thorn in the side at times. The good thing is, we have this website to write about these things so we know we aren’t alone in some of our struggles! To those of you who are on the same quest as myself, I hope you find your path!

  • Pattie

    I can totally relate to the not knowing what your heart desires…absolutely relate. {{{BIG HUGS}}}

  • Shannon

    I just went through something very similar and hope that my experience either comforts or inspires you, or both. I don’t have children but I separated from the Coast Guard about a year ago after 6 years in. Although it was something I wanted to do, I completely lost my identity and up until recently, I was doing some heavy soul-searching: what am I going to do with the rest of my life, what’s my purpose, what if I don’t have one, did I make a mistake getting out, etc. My husband is joining the Air Force come Dec. and I needed to find a career path that met a long list of criteria. I wasn’t willing to lower my standards. My dream job had to travel with me, pay decently, help others, be good for my health, and be flexible with my husband’s schedule and any future family we have. Weeks seemed to glide by with no inspiration or ideas, despite really focusing on it. I began to think maybe what I was looking for was a little unrealistic.
    My advice is to just keep floating on, even as uncomfortable as that feels right now. This too shall pass. Continually ask yourself what your interests are and really listen to your internal answers. Expand on your hobbies and allow yourself to feel creative. Maybe even journal if you don’t already. Or write a list of the qualities that your next job or volunteer opportunity must have and post it in your fridge! Most importantly, even if some days you feel unproductive remind yourself that you deserve this time off. Nothing lasts, might as well enjoy it!
    My ah-ha moment came shortly after I joined a local yoga studio here in Denver about 3 months ago. I had a lot of time on my hands after getting out and thought I should at least be doing something I enjoy while I got my priorities in line. I’ve been practicing for about 6 years and discovered through this studio that I want to be a yoga teacher. I start training next month, and will be certified by the time hubby completes tech school and we PCS.
    You have a lot of options with 10 months to burn. Good luck and keep us updated!!

  • Abigail

    It’s great to know that other military wives go through the same thing. My husband and I just recently moved to a very remote location.. everything is about 2 hours away from where we live.
    It’s tough to envision being a “stay at home” mom as well. Throughout my life, I have always excelled in school (college and grad school) and my career. I have always been at the top of my class or have been known as the “workaholic”/”she’s the woman that gets the job done!” Now, I will be sacraficing all that hard work to be a “stay at home” mom with our newborn. I’m not complaining at all, because being a parent is a full-time job. It’s a rewarding job! However, if you’re use to having a nice career, traveling on business, etc. the transition to changing diapers full-time is a tough adjustment.
    The problem that I face is, how do you explain to employers why you constantly move from one job to another? You stay at one job for 1 year, another job for a couple of months, etc. It’s tough to have your “own” career if you constantly move. It’s frustrating but it is a sacrafice we all make when you marry a military man. Still, I do strive to one day have my career back. :)

  • Erika

    Also glad to know it’s not just me… just married into the Navy and quit my job to move to where my husband is posted. Haven’t found a new one, since I am a teacher I thought it would be easy! Now I am trying to decide if I want to work at all…it’s tough and I sympathize with all of you going through similar things.