Monday, December 2, 2013


In the few short months I've been a military wife I've quickly learned I'm an anomaly- and by that I mean at age 28 I don't have, and not sure if I want, any children. From here on out it seems like the majority of couples have kids, and have had them at what I consider to be a young age. 

And I don't have any problem with that. Your life, your choices. And the life of a military personal naturally attracts certain types of people. As a wife you're encouraged to stay at home because of the constant moving- and because of free health care and housing often you can. Personally, I struggle with the cost of raising a child and right now prefer to spend money on traveling, Sephora, etc. That doesn't mean we won't have a child one day, but right now it's a good time to be selfish. 

Life in advertising is quite the contrast to military in terms of family (and everything). It's a young, free-for-all world. It averages an age of 28-30, the hours are crazy, the parties are insane, and alcohol and drugs are a constant. The majority of people are young, single, and childless.

Of course the older you get, the higher you go in the chain the easier it is to get married and have children, and there are plenty of people in advertising who [eventually] do just that. They just happen to be men. 

In my entire career so far, I've only known one other female Creative who is married, one who is engaged, and none who have children. To get to the top of our field you have to put your job first, and these days men are still afforded that luxury more than women.

Like the military, you move quite a bit. We don't stay at the same agency for very long because leaving is how you get a raise and a promotion. Most people only stay at the same place 1-3 years unless it's a big agency and they switch clients. If we're offered the right job we'll move to wherever it is, no matter what your significant other says. It might me once in a lifetime. And who's going to say no to a job in Portland, or Amsterdam?

All of this, on top of never knowing what time you'll be home causes a lot of break ups, and a lot of divorces.  When a guy wants to have kids, he might miss a lot of their childhood. Once, a Creative Director's daughter asked over Skype where he was living. His answer was the office. When a woman wants to have children, most of the time she leaves her career entirely. 

That said, beyond family, family friends, and older co-workers, I don't know many people who have kids. The friends that do I have known for years, and when I see them it's been a planned visit at least a month in the making since I live out of town.

 In becoming a military wife, I've done a complete about face.

Here, while there's still a lot of young people, they feel MUCH younger to me. The majority of people have children and most women are stay at home moms, believing that being a military wife is a job (I won't get going on this, I'll just say that it's not a job. It's marriage and love and it's a choice. Sometimes its work, but it's never a job.).

Most of the women make friends through play dates and events, and at house parties hang out in a separate room with the children away from everybody else. It feels weirdly segregated from the rest of the world and I have no idea how to interact within it let alone walk INTO it. 

I realize becoming a parent doesn't make people aliens or lepers and it's not that I'm not good with kids or don't like them- I do. But, when a child is born social circles change. Life revolves around youth sports, play dates, and outings together. When you have a child, you have made the commitment to become selfless, and the way you live reflects that. 

Right now, as someone who is still selfish, that is all far from my understanding, and I honestly wonder if I'll find anything in common with these women. While it's not true, for some reason I imagine them all attached to their children by handcuffs, unable to come out when I call, come on fun vacations, or drop everything for happy hour or an afternoon hike. 

I suppose part of me is worried it will be harder to make friends since I won't be in the same social circles or share the mentality that children are the greatest thing to happen to you. I also feel like an ass because I don't want a bunch of kids bouncing around me when I'm trying to have a conversation. Really I just want to find people who'll jump at going rock climbing/hiking, happily have happy hour, get a mani/pedi with a bottle of wine, or come out on a weekend vacae. 

In the greater scheme of things, when I really think about it, it's really just wondering how my puzzle piece fits in to the army wife life. 

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