I am unemployed.
I hate it. But I have accepted *(kind of)* that there is nothing I can do about it now. I looked for months when I got to NC, and just...nothing. I mean, I have a degree in English, and Books A Million wouldn't freaking hire me. *(Maybe they knew I'd just spend all my paycheck there?)* So, with everything we knew was coming, hubs and I discussed it and decided it would be a smarter choice if I just stopped looking and Bug stayed home with me.
Most days, I am fine with this. My husband is insanely smart financially, and we are definitely not hurting at all, like so many military families I know, so for that, I am thankful. We are pretty much debt free--all we pay each month are our bills. My credit card is zero, his never had a balance, and 'we' have paid off our two cars. I say 'we' because I had nothing to do with it. My husband is much better at the we part of finances. So you know, we pay rent, water, cable, etc. I'm getting pretty good at keeping that power bill tiny. We don't overspend, I'm getting better at being frugal *(though I won't deny the urge to buy *another* purse hits me every so often.)*, etc., etc.
However, every once in a while, something will happen that makes me get really upset about the fact that I am in no way contributing financially to this house. I KNOW about the whole stay at home mom argument, and believe me, some of my favorite people are SAHMs. They are better, stronger, braver women than I. It's odd, because I am not even one of those crazy career minded women--heck, I still am not sure what I want to be when I grow up. *(No age jokes.)* But...I like having a job. My wonderful parents, who provided amazingly for my sister and I, did a pretty good job teaching me to work for what I want. Granted, they covered a lot of what I needed, but that message about wants got there--if I want to go on that trip to Paris, I better save. If I want that new shirt, don't come to them. So, after 27 years of that, it's been insanely difficult for me to be the opposite.
It's not even that my husband won't buy me such things--he will, and he has. But he knows it frustrates me. He's very kind about my feelings, and I am eternally grateful. I don't want to ask if I can have something, like a new book. I just want to buy myself the new gd book. My friends say I will get over this, that eventually I will get used to saying our money, but I wonder when. Granted, we haven't been married very long, but I'm still looking forward to the day I don't feel guilty enough to cry over needing new t-shirts because mine all have holes--which happened. It was like something was eating them.
And then, every once in a while, the reason for this guilt is something more serious than shoes or a purse. *(I know. Who knew that was even possible?)* I took one of our cars to the shop today to get it checked out for the long journey it's about to make. After I paid the $230 fee for a basic check up/oil change/tire rotation, the guy told me that our car--which is a 2008, by the way--needs roughly $600 more in work. Uh...what? Oh, and I'm going back tomorrow to spend about $350 on the other car. And then, in two weeks, we will be shipping the first car to Hawaii to the tune of roughly $2,200. And let's not forget bills, getting uniforms ready for the new batallion, and the looming prospect of being in a hotel room with no kitchen-only a microwave and mini-fridge-for up to 4 months, if we get lucky.
Basically, I'm terrified. And you know, I'm technically only Catholic by birth, but good Lord, I still get their guilt. Again, wonderful husband was only mad about it for a second *(who wouldn't be after a text saying, well, I just dropped $230, but it needs $600 more?! I'd have been furious.)* and as soon as he remembered that this was basic maintenance, not 'Wifey ran the car into a tree,' he was fantastic about it. And again, thanks to the fact that he's financially brilliant, we are fine, and this will not hurt us.
But...dammit, I wish I could help. I'm the one who drives this car, I can't even help pay for anything. Last time it needed gas, he had to do it. I hate this feeling. Hate. I think part of it is that both the grown up jobs I have held were...boring. And tedious. And so I know how much it sucks to work, and I didn't have to share my money with anyone. I wouldn't have wanted to, not after what I had to put up with to earn it. So why should he?
I have heard from several of my military spouse friends just how hard it is to get a job--the locals know we will only be there for a short time, you will be overqualified/underqualified, there won't be any jobs in your field, so don't get picky, etc. At first, I felt fine with this. I have no real career field *(yes, I want to be a teacher, but I haven't done it yet, so it's not like I'm aching for it.)*, so hey--as long as I get a job. But at the same time, I busted my butt for a long time to get a degree. I don't want to work at the gas station. I know that sounds bad, but I did not waste my parent's hard earned money to make change.
I'm just hoping that even if I do have a job--since we know mine are always temporary--I will eventually be able to call it our money, or just buy myself a book, or heck, that new purse, without feeling guilty.
All I can say now is, I hope Hawaii has some jobs, and thank goodness for all the amazing volunteer opportunities there are on a base.