I read a lot of blogs about folks who knock my socks off with their crafts, their togetherness, their energy, their ability to get everything done and still have time for baking cookies...this will not be one of those blogs! I strongly dislike crafting, I don't like to shop (especially for clothes!), I don't do much baking (pies are my forte/only thing I can bake, weirdly), I don't enjoy cooking in the slightest, I love to go out to eat (this goes along well with not cooking), I don't go to church, I'm liberal, and I'm kind of a mess on a daily basis. :)
My husband tells me that I have an unfortunate habit of providing ridiculous amounts of detail when asked a simple question, like when I attempt to write an "About Me" blog. :) I just wrote a very detailed chronicle for this blog entry about my first 32 years of life, then deleted it and decided that bullets are the best way to go...trust me, I would have bored you to sleep (and may still...even with bullets!):
- I grew up in a military family as the youngest of three kids, and my mom was the best stay-at-home mom who ever existed (still is!).
- I wanted to be a famous singer when I was little (okay, even now...but at least now, I don't harbor illusions that I'll be randomly discovered on the street and rocketed to stardom like I hoped I would be when I was 7 years old).
|Yep, I dressed up as Debbie Gibson in 4th grade...totally wanted to be her!|
- I went to the University of Virginia, where I majored in psychology and wanted to focus my career after college on substance abuse issues. I spent a lot of time volunteering with Mothers Against Drunk Driving after my brother was hit by a drunk driver when I was 15 years old--and I also worked at MADD's National office while I was in college.
- I met Dan, the guy who would eventually become my husband, when we were 15 years old in the same sophomore gym and English classes--we dated off and on for years (mostly off!), but have been best friends since day one.
- After college graduation, I got jobs that paid bills...not ones that utilized my passion and degree. I figured there would be time for that later?
- Dan and I were married in July 2004, on one of the happiest days I've ever had--he had just returned from a year-long deployment in Iraq, and our wedding felt like a fairy tale come true for me after all the stops and starts our relationship endured, and after the really scary year of his deployment. We spent our first year of married life in Colorado, where Dan was stationed at the time.
|Our wedding day|
- Our first child, a daughter we named Abby, was born in 2006, while Dan was in law school in Ohio. I always wanted to be a mom, and am fortunate to have been able to stay at home since Abby was born--she's now 6 years old and an amazing little girl in first grade. I discovered with her birth that being a mom is a lot more isolating than I ever would have imagined, especially with a hard-studying husband in law school, so I joined a moms' group and really found my niche as a parent...until we moved after Dan graduated in 2008.
|We are parents!|
- Our second child, a son we named Jake, was born in 2009--sweetest, most chill baby ever, which totally lulled us into a false sense of security because he is now the wildest, orneriest 3-year-old with the biggest heart...his saving grace that helps us forgive him for all his craziness! We lived in Texas for 1.5 years, and even though I really didn't like it there (okay, that's an understatement--I hated it there), those sweet days with my happy baby and my super helpful big girl were really great ones. We lived in Texas until Dan deployed for the second time to Iraq.
|Our family of four|
- During Dan's 2nd deployment, I gave birth to our 3rd child, a son we named Alex...one of the most difficult experiences of my life. Alex was a surprise (only 17 months after Jake), and knowing that Dan was going to be deployed for the last three months of what was probably my last pregnancy, Alex's birth, and most of his first year of life broke my heart and threw me into a pretty dark place. I moved to Virginia and lived at my parents' house with the kids for the duration of the deployment, which was a tremendous help--I couldn't have made it through that year without them. Alex was also The Worst Baby in History--absolutely adorable, but constantly screaming! Even my mother, the best mom and grandma ever, was totally at her wits end with that baby. Thankfully, he has mostly outgrown the screaming, and is a very sweet, still adorable 2-year-old.
|Family of Five, together on Daddy's R&R from Iraq|
- The deployment was hard on everyone--watching our kids miss their Daddy was the worst feeling for me, even worse than feeling so lonely myself. Dan missed out on a lot of bonding with our sons (Jake was only 14 months old when he deployed, and Dan didn't even meet Alex in person until Alex was 4 months old...and then didn't live with us full time again until Alex was almost 1), and Abby was old enough to really hurt over his absence. Maintaining a marriage via Skype while living at my parents' house with a screaming, exhausting newborn was also quite difficult--Dan and I did the best we could, but it was just plain hard. He came home after a year with no kids and no family responsibilities to a life with three needy kids and an equally needy wife...the adjustment for all of us was monumental (and still ongoing, 1.5 years after his return).
- We were very fortunate to get stationed in Virginia near both our families after Dan's deployment, in a job that won't deploy Dan and that has very family-friendly hours...hard to come by in the military. That's where we are today, living on the military installation five minutes from Dan's office.
It's not lost on me that this was supposed to be an "About Me" post, and I eventually fell into describing life events and my kids...my role as a mom is my most cherished role, and clearly it defines me and makes it hard for me to distinguish who I am apart from my husband and kids and our family. I had goals and dreams before embarking on this military life, and yes, one of those dreams was to be a stay-at-home mom...so I'm living my dream! It just doesn't always feel that way when I find myself at a loss to describe who I am as a person, what I like to do in my non-existent free time (of which I will have tons more and need to find ways to fill it once all the kids are in school full-time in 3 short years...), and what I want for me out of my life. I could rattle on and on about what I want for my husband and my kids, but it's much harder when I try to think about what I want for me--the dilemma of most moms, I think. So my current existential crisis that spurred my creation of The Good Housewife Project is hardly unique to me, nor is it catastrophic...it's just where I am right now in what has been an extraordinarily blessed life.