June 29, 2011

Pour Your Heart Out: Stay In or Get Out

I'm joining Shell at Things I Can't Say and pouring my heart out.

I hadn't planned on talking about this (at least not yet), but it weighs on me and I figure I might as well
share it.  Today I'm pouring my heart out about the decision of staying in or getting out.  I cannot and will not speak for my hubby, so everything I write below is solely my own thoughts and opinions.

For my MilSpouse readers, maybe you've made this decision, maybe it isn't a decision you'll ever grapple with, or maybe you don't talk about things like this.

For the civilian readers, I am always baffled about how so many people manage to live "in the real world" and make it look easy to survive there.

Why am I finding myself having this internal debate now?  We just finished our third deployment.  My husband has been gone for almost half of our oldest son's life, and he missed over half our youngest son's life just on the last deployment.  I've seen the strain that is putting on my children in their interactions with their daddy and also how it affects their personality.  I'm getting tired of being disappointed.  I'm sick of having bad timing for everything in the Army.  Because of the bad timing, we are quite possibly looking at deployment number 4 in about a year.  I always have hope that we'll get a say in what happens next in hubby's career, but that never seems to be the case.  A more trivial reason would be that I've always wanted to buy a house with the intention of keeping it for more than 3 years (and not renting it out).  Growing up I dreamed about raising a family in one home and leading a normal life to include family dinners and holidays spent together.

For the past 7 years the Army has been our life.  It has given us many great opportunities and a very decent life.  I am able to stay at home with my children, which is something I do not want to give up no matter which path we take in life.  But has the military life given us enough to continue on this same path?  I don't know.  I think part of the reason we never really contemplate getting out is the fear of the unknown.  We're so used to the Army world.  I consider getting out to demand a great leap of faith:  faith that you will find a job, faith that you can support your family in an uncertain world, faith that you will end up in the right place, and faith that you will not regret the decision.

One of my biggest fears about getting out is realizing that I suffer from the "grass is greener" complex where I always look at the other side and think it is better.  Ultimately this decision will be my hubby's.  Of course he will take my opinion into his decision, and he will choose to do what is best for the family. I will support him in whatever he wants to do, and I will not force him either way.  While I leave it in his hands, that doesn't mean I do not struggle with it also.  I don't know what the decision will be, only time will tell.  We have a lot of time to think, and that is exactly what I'll be doing.



Poekitten said...

Getting out can be scary. At least it is for me! We were almost no longer in the Navy and it was scary. Reenlistment is coming up and there's a slight chance we won't be able to (and I say we when it's really DH!) I've thought about what it would be like if DH was no longer in the Navy and I've come to realize that I can't think about to much or I'll go crazy. I'm just trusting that whatever happens it will be what God wants to happen!

Dana @ WhatWereWeThinking? said...

My husband hits the 10 year point this month & he's signing another contract. We're lifers unless something terrible happens.

It wasn't a difficult decision for me but I really like moving around. Deployment after having a child was a completely different beast, but we did it and I know I can do it when it happens again.

Chris struggled with this decision more than I did but we are both happy with the decision. I wouldn't want him to be miserable anymore than he would want our family to be struggling financially. There's a balance. You'll find it.

Katie said...

I don't have any advice but I know that whatever your family chooses to do, it will be well thought out and it will be right for YOU. Don't worry about adjustments (if you choose to "get out"). It will work out...and especially don't worry about what other people think you should or should not do. This about YOU and YOUR family, not them and theirs.

(((HUGS))) When the time comes, I know you'll be just fine. Whatever the choice may be.

New Follower!

Jennifer said...

This is such a hard decision and I really feel for you. I know that my family has been so blessed in not having to deal with the back-to-back deployments like so many other Army families have had. It really wears on you.
I have been feeling like I would like to have my own home someday soon too. We've owned homes twice, but they still didn't feel like ours since we knew we'd be leaving.
Getting out is scary though, because it's goodbye not just to a job but to a whole way of life and community. It's going to be a hard adjustment for sure. We grappled with our decision a year ago and decided to put a promotion packet in instead of retiring. We're thankful that he got it, but that means that we're in for at least another 4-5 yrs (and I try not to think about the fact that he could have retired 3 yrs ago....) Whatever decision you guys come to will be the right one for your family. Hang in there!

Shell said...

Much luck with your decision! I'm not military but live in a large military area, so I've seen lots of people struggle with this decision. Talk it over together. xo

Heather said...

That is a good point about not knowing any differently. It is not the main point, but a good one.
I guess it is time to at least explore to see what other options are out there in the meanwhile.

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

What a difficult decision. I'm sure whatever you decide, it will be what's best for your family.

Jessica said...

very difficult decision...and one I completely understand. My hubby is at the 10 yr mark and we decided together to stay in...of course it scares me thinking about future deployments. (those deployments definetly take a toll on you)

Kerry said...

I completely understand your point of view...We struggle sometimes with the same thoughts because when the military is all you know it is a huge and scary transition into the civilian world. My husband has done 25 yrs all up, getting out is not something to take lightly nor something he really wants to do either...But I get so tired of feeling afraid of the future, or not ever knowing where the road will take us...

Jane said...

My husband was planning on making the military a career and now he is thinking that just isn't for him. I do not want him to be miserable. And, we still have a few years to figure it all out, but I'm already panicking a little bit about the decision because the Army does give us stability that isn't guaranteed in the civilian world. Good luck with your family's decision. Stopping by from the round up!

Christina said...

My husband has been in 16 years and I will have to tell you it does not get any easier, but I have 7 children and the 4 older one's that are grown now, and have grown up as Army brats, have amazing resilience. It seems to me that Army life has taught them how to go with the flow, not stress what you can't change, follow your dreams, so I have to say I am glad we stuck it out. The other fact is most of them can barely remember that my husband was deployed when they were younger. In fact when he left this time, my older kids, who are already grown and out with lives of there own, said "I don't remember dad being gone a whole year." Funny how that worked out after all the stressing I did while they were young, just like you. It seems in the end it paid off for them and I spent a whole lot of time stressing over how messed up they would be and inevitable they are 4 of the most well adjusted adults I know. They are fearless. Once you live with a dad who goes to war, you realize life is not guaranteed, and somehow this makes them fearless in their own lives. That is the word I would use to describe them. The other perk is they were always closer to their dad then most of their civilian friends ever were. Even now as I glance daily at the older 4's facebook pages (and now my 2 teens pages), I see their posts to him and how they can tell him anything. The reason I think is because they have always had to communicate with him through writing and now computer while he was away. As your kids grow you will realize there are many things they won't want to talk to you with, but while dad's gone, they will confide in him. I believe it is because it is easier to share your thoughts in writing. It will be up to your husband, but I can tell you that it will pay off. I am not saying you should necessarily stay in, but if you do the benefits your children will have to gain will amaze you...Geeze sorry so long!!!!!!PS in fact my 21 year old daughter says she chats with her dad nightly on yahoo. What a perk for him since she no longer lives with us but still wants to talk with dad every night. My 2 sons who are still home are constantly leaving their yahoo's open in case dad is on. It seems dad gets more attention than me. I have to be the bad guy and make rules and dad gets to be the guy in A-stan, the hero, their confidant, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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