“So what do you do?…”
That dreaded question… Cocktail parties… Dinner out with new people… it always comes up. Everybody asks it… How does a person define oneself when they don’t have a pat answer?
I was recently at a luncheon for the International Women’s Club of Ottawa and that question came up. As soon as I mentioned I was a military spouse the lady assumed that I had nothing relevant to offer and moved on to her next victim.
I am a Military Spouse. Defining yourself in relation to your spouse’s occupation is something that is never done in today’s society. It feels like something out of A Mad Men Episode. I could tell you that years ago I was an RN working in palliative care, but as soon as I tell you that I have to follow with the fact that I haven’t nursed in 20 years. So if I am not an occupation. What am I?
I am an advocate that has moved every two years for as long as I can remember. I help my family start over each time we move. I am a champion for my children and the vastly different school systems that exist within multiple provinces and one state. I buy, renovate and sell homes, frequently. I manage a single household income (because who will hire somebody that is going to leave soon). I hold my family together through difficult deployments to conflict areas around the world. I often watch the news very carefully because decisions made in Parliament today can affect my dinner plans tomorrow. I re-invent myself every two years. I volunteer. I have taught English as a Second language, I have been a classroom helper, I have been on the parent teacher boards, and I have facilitated a Beaver Colony as well as well as a Guide Troop. I have helped support other military spouses through extremely difficult times. I have also started a Facebook group that has more than 400 other spouse members. I host events for the members including speakers, large pub and games nights as well as hosting a knitting group. I write a blog to outline resources available to the Canadian Military Family. I am about to be a single parent again as my husband continues to serve as a soldier. I have lived in 4 Canadian provinces and one American State.
What do I do? I am a Military Spouse.