Friday, February 10, 2017

Don't Listen (Wait, what?)

So in my last post I entreated you all to take a breath and listen before speaking, especially if it's with someone of much different opinions or politics.  And I stick by that (even if I fail sometimes to put it into practice).  But other situations require that you don't listen. Wait, what?

Here's the scenario.  I've been exchanging messages with someone who is struggling a bit being married to a fellow service member and her desire to have children.  She's being given the same advice I heard long ago: 

''One of your careers will have to take priority, you can't both be successful." 
"If you have kids, it will be too hard to stay on active duty." 

It's not completely unique to the military profession to feel pushed out of the fast track, even ever so slightly, because you are married and want to/have children, but I think the 24/7, service before self mentality makes that push so strong and so accepted. Can you imagine a teacher being told she should consider quitting her job because her husband is also a teacher?

When you are young in the military, it's hard not to take this awful advice from superiors as ground truth.  Luckily a quick thinking fellow officer connected her to a couple others who are (or in my case were) in the Air Force who are also, shockingly, married and mothers.

I instantly do not trust any advice that is so sweeping and general as "join spouse and motherhood is near impossible."  Seriously, do you think we don't know this? But near impossible isn't the same as not possible.  It was a day by day, assignment by assignment decision for our family.  Some days were awesome and some days I spent looking up the regulations on early separation and active duty service commitment waivers.  

Decide where you want to be - whatever the endeavor - and then don't listen :-) 

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