Monday, September 16, 2013

When the Ordinary Life Doesn't Feel so Ordinary

I have to admit that I have felt quite unsettled lately. As many of us do at some point or another, I have been feeling a loss of identity and wondering how to prevent myself from getting stuck in the “behind the scenes” while everyone else follows their dreams and makes a difference.

It wasn’t long ago that I felt a strong sense of identity. While my husband was deployed three times over three and a half years, my purpose was to manage the homefront. During those months, I was a single mom, financial manager, house keeper, landscaper, contractor, travel agent, and traveler all in one, and all on my own. Despite the fact that I would have much rather had my husband home with us, it made me feel good to know that I was there to comfort the kids while their daddy was away and that my efforts would help save us some money by doing so much myself. In addition, the praise received from family, friends, and even strangers for all that I did helped me keep my head high and push through the tough times.

But now, over a year and a half after the last deployment ended, the feelings of satisfaction have dissipated. With my husband home, there is no need for me to do it all because he is there to help. And despite my joy that our family is together, I can’t help but feel that my identity has gotten buried somewhere deep down at the bottom of the laundry pile.

Are deployments what define us as military spouses? Do we become so distinguished by our duties while our service members are away that when they return we go back to being just the wife? Does anyone think we are still great even when our husbands are home to pick up the slack?

Perhaps the ordinary life isn’t what is ordinary for military spouses. We learn to deal with struggles, and even to expect them. We become so used to our duties during deployments that they become part of our being, our life lines. We are the ties that bind our families together, even when one member is on the other side of the world. And when the deployment ends and we are no longer needed for the same purposes, we are left feeling that this new “normal” life isn’t actually our normal at all.

I am so grateful for this new season in our lives when my husband has been home and will continue to be home for several more years. But each new season brings a new lesson. I know in my heart that I was meant to be a military wife and now I must work hard to create my own identity rather than allowing deployments to define me.  Now that my husband is around to help, I must get myself out there and put my talents to work. I must focus on my passions. I must discover what it is that will help me find my own unique and wonderfully ordinary life.  

No comments:

Post a Comment