Man, does my life look different nowadays.
A year and a half ago, I married my husband. I instantly became stepmother to my now 12-year-old stepson. In February 2016, I gave birth to my son. I’ve been on maternity leave since. Next month, I’ll be leaving the Navy (and transitioning into the Reserves). So, I went from being a naval officer to a stay-at-home mom in a couple of years’ time.
A friend asked me how I like staying home with the baby. To which I replied, “Sometimes I feel like I’m going out of my mind, but I’m really glad I won’t miss any milestones.” (I love my son dearly, but he doesn’t talk.) My new life feels strange sometimes. Some days it feels like I’ll be going back to work soon, and other days I just don’t know what to do next. Play with the baby? Clean the house? Meet a friend for lunch? Write in my blog? I’ve never had this much say (or lack of structure) in my own time before. And it feels weird.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s exactly what I wanted. But that doesn’t make it any less of an adjustment. When people ask me what I do, I still say, “I’m in the Navy” (which is technically true until the end of next month). Which leads to a discussion about going back to work.
I’m not sure exactly why I want others to know I’m a naval officer. Maybe it’s because I’m proud of my accomplishment. Or because it took some time and effort to become one. Or because I dedicated 12 years of my life to being one. And it seems as though I’m dismissing that effort just in how I answer one question.
I can’t seem to stay, “I stay home with my son” as my first (and only) answer. Being a mother is much harder, and more rewarding, than my career in the Navy has been. There is also no set hours, time off, breaks, or holidays. I should be proud of “just” being a stay at home mom. Yet I feel the need to elaborate.
Maybe as I settle into this new role, I’ll answer the question of “What do you do?” a bit better. Until then, maybe I’ll learn not to care so much about what other people think.