#WifeGoals

Working From HomeI had a marriage epiphany a couple weeks ago. As I was presenting to my husband my quarterly list of grievances about him, and argued about what qualifies as “effort,” it occurred to me that I could put more “effort” in myself. Last month I heard myself refer to a previous version of myself as “when I was a full time wife” in conversationEven though my husband never complains, I figured I could try to be the girl I know he would like. As I do, I made a list of goals for the week:

  1. Keep the house clean.
  2. Consume and discuss politics.
  3. Have meals ready when Spencer is home from work.
  4. Spend quality time…on the couch.
  5. Look decent when Spencer comes home.
  6. Text throughout the day.

I started the week with ambition and initiative, but I will go on and tell you I failed at all 7 objectives even though there were only 6. Oh, I can find a way to fail. There was a moment that week that made me consider my actual value as a wife.

  1. Keeping the house clean.

I like a clean house and I work from home. That means I am impacted by the cleanliness and have more time to clean. My husband is actually very neat and methodical so I know he likes the house clean and everything in its place. Despite those facts, the house did not get cleaned until I was off Friday and that was just the kitchen. I had cleaned throughout the week, but I guess it made new messes at the same speed.

  1. Listening to Politics

I downloaded NPR Politics and NPR’s UpFirst in an effort to stay abreast of current events. As a clueless, married woman, I usually depend on my husband to brief me on politics and global events. I didn’t grow up around people discussing or caring about politics. I have certainly tried to seek knowledge, but find it to be a literal effort to retain any information. Not to mention that I don’t really watch television or read news. Spencer on the other hand, is very interested and has opinions. I know it would be stimulating for him to be able to discuss news with me and have an intelligent conversation. Despite having identified what and how, I didn’t even listen to the podcast.

  1. Have meals ready

The goal is to have dinner ready by 7:30 and make sure he has a meal for lunch. Things I used to do, even after I started working. Not only did I fail to cook this week, Spencer actually ended up cooking one day. He grilled bratwursts and hotdogs, with no bread, because I forgot to unthaw the ground beef. Then we had leftovers for the next few days. It’s fine for Spencer to cook, but not fine for me to be lazy.

  1. Hang out in the evenings

Quality time with my husband is watching TV with my husband. I would prefer he do what I’m doing sometimes since I don’t want to watch television all the time, but since this was about me meeting him where he was, I wanted to do what I know he would like. Keeping with the theme, there wasn’t a single evening that I sat down after dinner to do more than watch an episode of Veep. Instead I baked or cleaned.

  1. Look decent

Many people think I am attractive, but I just don’t know what you would think if you saw me at 1 pm on a weekday. If I have managed to put on a complete outfit, meaning not a robe or pajamas, then my hair is likely in the same ponytail I wore to the gym with a headband barely hanging on there. I know my husband would at least like me to look groomed, forget the makeup, but I didn’t even manage that. My edges were kinky and my eyebrows were faint, knees ashy…and dinner wasn’t ready.

  1. Text throughout the day

We don’t text regularly because Spencer comes home for lunch, but I am usually working the whole time or he’s napping so we don’t really get to check in. I thought texting throughout the day would be a good way to connect and let Spencer know I was thinking about him. Apparently I wasn’t thinking about him because I didn’t manage a single text that wasn’t logistics related.

  1. Don’t break my husband’s things

A goal not to destroy the other person’s property should be a given for most partners, which is why it was not listed. Even though I didn’t list it, the moment I broke my husband’s iPad case was the lowest point of my week. I am clumsy and I am careless and short-sighted. I did not foresee the iPad falling backward off the ledge and into the empty bathtub, but that’s what happened. I did my best to duct tape the hinge of the case, but it was no use. I sat it on the coffee table and waited for my demise

Scratching Dandruff
Spencer scratching up my dandruff… Sexy.

I really did fail at being a better wife. I tried and I failed. I was discouraged that I couldn’t even achieve what used to be my standard performance. I used to take pride in the package I provided as I anticipated my husband’s needs and stayed on top of my self-given responsibilities. I used to do things like make sure his water bottle was sanitized every week. Now I feel like I am going through the motions and sometimes not even that. I complain a lot about not being able to do both as a full time employee, but the reality is that I am going to be an employee for the foreseeable future. I can’t allow it to take away from my relationship. As I lamented to a friend about my failure, she pointed out took on a lot and should just focus on one thing at a time. I was kind of setting myself up to fail. But most importantly Spencer didn’t seem to notice one way or another. Even though he stayed on top of his chores, he never complained about the clothes crammed under my side of the bed or eating dinner at 9 pm. He didn’t even get mad about the iPad case. He only made a joke about getting a better model that isn’t clumsy. And that, my friends, is unconditional love.

Master’s Degree

ribs at work

I distinctly remember being in the first couple months of my college career and thinking about how I couldn’t possibly earn a master’s degree because I  could barely imagine being in college for four years. By the time I was applying for graduation in 2011, I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t want to start working and figuring things out for myself, but life moved on. Once I did graduate my older brother started Pharmacy School and my parents began pressuring me to further my education. I didn’t appreciate that because I had managed all decisions regarding undergrad on my own, thank you very much, and I wanted to see where life took me first instead of earning another degree I didn’t really want.

Fast forward to 2017 when I feel I have exhausted my options. I have talked myself in and out of going to school several times. In the past the issue was finding something I could guarantee I would be happy with in 10 years. Growing up I wanted to be a psychologist or counselor, but I felt like it was presumptuous of me to think I could help people fix their lives. However, after college I began considering Psychology. I actually had a meeting with a black dude with dreads and a doctorate in Psychology that I had met on the street when I was 22 and dated a couple times. I went to see him when he was done with his program at University of Missouri St. Louis to gained some insight, but still wasn’t moved to sign up for the GRE. I thought my lack of action meant this pursuit was not something I should do.

After the Life Insurance sales agent debacle in 2015, I was talking to my counselor about my career woes. When my counselor and I start talking about school, I know I don’t have any real problems anymore and need to take a break until my next existential crisis. Anyway, without knowing anything about my childhood aspirations, she suggested I become a counselor. That was validating coming from her, my counselor. She is also a military spouse and felt like it would be a good option based on that experience and what I have indicated I want in a career.

I didn’t immediately pursue her suggestion because I was under the impression counselors didn’t make anything. She said she actually earned a livable wage, but she could have been the unicorn. I have since learned that Licensed Social Workers are more billable (insurance-wise) than Licensed Practicing Counselors and have less regulations.

As my unemployment reached a fever pitch- which was when I was home alone for a month like “what is life???” when Spencer was at Ranger School- I started looking into it. Being November, it was close to the application deadline for the school here and I had too many questions, so I let it pass. Finally obtaining in March a job put it out of my mind further, but here I am one year later and back at square one.

I am back here seeing another degree as my only option for a few reasons. For one, my counselor keeps telling me to “get my life” vocationally. She doesn’t use those words, but that’s what she is saying. Second, one of my other college-educated coworkers got another job in town, which woke me up to the idea there could still be other options. Third, I work in customer service for a health insurance company. I think my company is outstanding in so many ways, however, if one more person condescends to me when I inform them that I cannot tell them how much they paid to their healthcare provider, I just don’t know. I did apply for a Health Promotion Specialist position within my company but shortly learned that I was “no longer [read ‘never’] in consideration.” If I can’t get a job with the name of my degree in it the title, I’m skunked.

I have spoken to five different schools about their online programs for Master’s of Social Work. I can start soon if I want, but then there’s that whole money thing. Spencer and I have committed to a debt-free lifestyle. Taking a loan for $50,000 feels like going in the opposite direction. Do you think I have an extra $15,000 for each of the next 3 years? I’m going to go ahead and tell you ‘no.’ I could borrow part of the cost. I could quit my job and get it done quickly so I can move on to a higher salary, but exactly how long until I get there, and then how long until I’m back in the black after losing my income for 2 years? There are a lot of movable parts when considering a compromise. To make it more complicated, let’s not forget about that baby I’m supposed to have in the next year. I could wait until after the degree, but y’all, I’m already in my “About to be Thirties.” If now isn’t a good time, neither will be the first few years of my new career.

looking collegiate

The other option I have is to wait until I can use Spencer’s GI Bill to pay for the whole thing. These funds for education can be transferred to the spouse after the serviceperson has served for six years, and they must sign up for at least four more. We are still three years from that. We could wait and do that, but I don’t know how much more discontentment I can take.

Before you say it, I am looking at scholarship options but generally believe I won’t find any at the masters level. I will consider working part time to finish faster, or paying as we go and finishing it sometime within the millennium, or waiting until my kids go to Kindergarten and use the GI Bill. I think there are a lot of scenarios and strategies to consider, but it seems that it will require math, so who knows when I’ll start school. Whatever the decision, I just have to daily find ways to keep moving forward.