Adulting Miracles of an Unemployed Milspouse
Full disclosure, it’s been extremely difficult to title this blog post. The most content appropriate title is “12 things that actually happened while I was an unemployed milspouse.” However, that title is entirely too long. The best I could come up with is “adulting miracles of an unemployed milspouse.”
The close runner up for this posts title was “12 perks of being an unemployed milspouse.” But I was apprehensive to use “perk” as a replacement for “things that actually happened.”
I want to express to you that there is a silver lining to unemployment. Everything on the below list is an #adultingmiracle that I couldn’t manage to complete while employed.
Yet this post isn’t about being able to sit on your couch all day and eat bon bons. Nor is it an article about how you should quit your job and rely on your husband in true dependa style.
The reality of being an unemployed milspouse (for me anyway) is that you live in fear of being titled a dependa.
If dependa is a new term to you, please sign-up for my mailing list. Some of my upcoming content will focus on “what I understand dependa to mean” after 2 years as a military spouse (and 3 years in a military relationship). I think diving into the definition of dependa will clarify why I simply could not click publish on “12 perks of being an unemployed milspouse.”
Keep reading and you will see, 11 out of 12 adulting miracles of an unemployed milspouse apply to unemployed civilian wives with employed husbands. The thirteenth miracle (listed as #6) could also apply to civilian wives, if they have medical benefits through their husbands.
Unemployment: Cue the feelings of remorse
I spent 10 years after high school getting a marketable education and kicking my career off. Then I married a sailor and found myself in a forced-resignation-due-to-relocation situation. I moved halfway around the world and was unemployed for the first time since the summer after college graduation.
Currently I’ve spent 6 months and counting as a financial dependent
Being unemployed comes with a strong loss of identity. Not to mention the endless job applications and sentiments of doubt that you’ll ever find another good job. However if you look on the bright side, unemployment does allow for small miracles.
Adulting miracles of an unemployed milspouse
Here is a list of adulting tasks that I actually managed to complete while unemployed. You know, the ones that seem impossible to do when working full time.
Finishing all the laundry
Adulting miracle number 1 is no dirty laundry (no pun intended). When I was working full time I always had a backlog of dirty laundry. Even after laundry day I always had at least one or two loads of wash left.
I must have been on top of my laundry at some other point in my adult life, but I can’t think of a single time.
Changing the sheets once a week (for the most part)
Did you know you should change your sheets once a week? I mean I could have guessed you should, but I never did. It ends up changing your sheets weekly is good for your health. Especially if you have allergies and acne.
Related post: the Tricare Acne Treatment that Works
Digitizing office paperwork
In the past our office looked like a filing cabinet exploded. After purchasing this compact scanner off Amazon, I was finally able to scan and organize digital copies of our records. This allowed us to ditch all the paper receipts. Now our office is PCS proof.
Cooking (like all the time)
Previous to my unemployment I cooked dinner once or twice a week. Sometimes I was lucky enough to work from home and get a skillet cooked grilled cheese for lunch.
Adulting miracle number 4 is the opportunity to step up your cooking game. I started cooking 6 nights a week, and actually learned a few meal planning tricks.
Saving money on expenses
This isn’t to say we saved more money overall. When we were DINK (Dual Income No Kids) we saved a lot more money. However, we also spent more.
There is an opportunity to reduce your expenses when you don’t have to have to pay for gas and conveniences. If you’re not commuting across the city for work, eating out every weekday for lunch, or paying for a maid… Then you’ll save money on all these expenses.
Our extra budget savings are never going to replace the income of my career job. Yet, we’re living a parallel lifestyle that we consider to be equal to our previous power couple experience.
My husband and I consider our standard of living to be just the same. This is amazing given that we’re doing it on one salary! Sure we’re not heading to trendy restaurants and happy hours as much, but having a home cooked meal made from scratch can be just as great. Change is not always disappointing!
Going to the doctor
Taking paid time off (PTO) to use your benefits is one of the worst parts of working a 9-5. PTO should be spent on relaxation and vacations, not regular check-ups.
As a military dependent I’m extremely lucky to have Tricare through my husband. Not working during office hours means I actually have the time to use those health benefits.
Exercising 5 times a week
I consider this to be the greatest of all the adulting miracles of an unemployed milspouse. When you’re working full time going to the gym twice a week is a success. Now that I’m unemployed I have the energy to workout 7 days a week.
I regularly work out 4 to 5 times a week, and I feel great about it!
Organizing the extra bedroom
In the past our extra bedroom served as a staging area for washed but not folded laundry. Sometimes the clean laundry would sit so long it would require a second wash. This kept us in a continuous cycle of dirty laundry (see adulting miracle number 1).
Once the I finished the laundry I was finally able to style a relaxing guest room. It’s now organized, warm, and inviting. I’ve had an extra room in three different apartments/homes, but this is the first time I’ve had a real guest room.
An easier marriage because of it
I hate for this to come off anti-feminist, but my old job definitely effected our relationship. Coming home tired and cranky at the end of the day doesn’t make your relationship better. My last job was extremely stressful and I think this was the larger problem.
Jobs have highs and lows just like relationships. Sometimes the peaks are high enough to keep you weathering the storm. Given more time in our last duty station I would have sought out a different job. Only you can say if mid-duty-station-job-change is going to make your marriage better or worse.
Gardening (and actually growing something)
My past attempts at gardening all ended the same way, with dead plants. If I’m being honest, I killed some plants this time too. But I also watched enough YouTube videos to have several of my plants produce edible veggies. As it turns out, having daylight hours to take care of plants has a lot to do with them not dying.
Everyone loves the idea of giving back to the community. When I was working full time I never had the time or energy to spend my weekends volunteering. Now I volunteer about 10 hours a week at the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.
Finishing that crafting project (kinda)
I’m not crafty but I am practical. My mom gifted me a piece of used furniture years ago that required paint and repair. Shortly after receiving it I painted it, but I never got around to re-attaching the door.
Today I can proudly say the door is attached. However, due to PCS damage the piece needs to be repainted. So the cycle continues.
PLEASE COMMENT BELOW!
To my fellow post-PCS-unemployed milspouses. What adulting miracles did you accomplish as an unemployed milspouse?
To future post-PCS-unemployed milspouses. How does this make you feel?