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I’m a military spouse, I got this

By Amy Nielsen

So unless you live under a rock, you know this week was the longest full lunar eclipse in forever. Full moons are notorious for sending people off the deep end. This was bound to be an interesting weekend for sure.

It is the last weekend of the term at school and we are all busily stuffing BS into papers and cramming our brain cells with knowledge that will come out only at the least appropriate moment in the future like while trying to remember that nice lady’s name.

It’s all a blur and I can’t remember what I wrote an hour ago much less yesterday.

I travelled to school this weekend as I always do, this is a three day instead of our regular two being the end of the term. Usually my husband is home with the kids, but he also had school away from home this weekend. My mom is hanging out directing Camp Nana including fishing trips, ice cream, and knitting. We are lucky to live within a day’s drive from her so she can help out a few times a year. Our most local dear neighbors moved away this week and we sadly lost our last reliable local childcare. Beginning next week, we are going to be scrambling to find coverage.

We have been planning all summer to enroll our kids in school, finally. We are a very happy road schooling family and so far have managed very well. When I decided to attend graduate school, I sorely misjudged my recollection of my college days and underestimated the amount of work my program takes to complete. It is much more rigorous than I expected. I absolutely love it and wish I had been able to focus on being this kind of student the first time around.

Now that I do have the time to really dig into my material, I can spend a full 30 hours or more a week on lessons and homework for my eight credits this term. Granted, I have the time so I take the time. But therein lies the rub in this program. I get to take the time, but it is expensive to our family for me to have the luxury of being a full-time student.

Two weeks ago I interviewed for an entry level job in my field, doing what I am trained to do. I was under the impression the job was a traditional schedule. The setting is exceptional and exactly in line with a part of my profession I really should know more about. Getting paid to do what I do, close to home, full-time – with benefits, and an organic lunch every day would be perfect.

Except that my husband doesn’t work traditional hours and my school is four states away and our school district doesn’t offer afterschool care.

I was hopeful we could come to an agreement about the schedule when I accepted the offer letter. However the more I think about this and the closer I get to the start date where I will meet up with HR to discuss the fine details, the more I get knots in my stomach thinking about organizing child care, my homework load, my clinical load, and my husband’s schedule. Given the already set school, travel, and work schedules, if I add a full-time job on top of it all, I will see my husband for about four hours in mid-September at this rate.

Taking away the hours a day I spend working on my school projects would put such a crimp in my ability to focus on the material that I feel like I would have to cut my credit load each term to a part-time load. If I do that, I lose my funding, which means I lose my school. I could try to work it out and do less detailed projects and spend less time on the optional extras each professor includes, but isn’t that material the whole reason we go to school? To be able to really learn?

So the dilemma now is do I let the job go and focus on getting a deeper education or focus on moving my career forward by getting something on paper that shows someone hired me to talk about what I know. The answer of course is focus. In my line of work, energy matters. What draws one’s focus, what holds it, what is the focus of a daydream or makes one lose track of time. The practical side of paying the gas bill aside, I really don’t want to wear heals every day.

If I don’t take the job, how do I pay the gas bill? Focus, dig deep, jigger the funding with scholarships maybe, and create a new path that includes what was important enough to draw my attention this time. While I have been saying for a long time that I just want someone else to hire me so I don’t have to do the hard stuff, it means I have to do it on their directive. What I learned from this exercise is that I have to be my own boss. That means putting on the Boss Babe Panties and getting all semper Gumby on this life of mine to make it work financially, emotionally, and professionally.

I’m a MilSpouse, I got this.

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