Volunteer or Career: When Your Spouse Chimes In


I love my husband, but sometimes I want to smack him! I wrote a post a while ago about my struggle regarding whether I should get a job after our PCS in July. I struggle with this as a wife, mother, and professional. About a week after I wrote that post I decided NOT to get a job. I quickly became involved in multiple volunteer activities and have enjoyed each and every one of them. Plus, I get to go to the gym a few times a week while the kids are in school.

So last night I was balancing the checkbook and paying bills and when I looked at my husband’s LES I was very surprised. Since we now live on post we don’t get BAH, which is a nominal amount of money that is no longer in our pocket. Plus we haven’t sold our house in PA, so that’s another chunk of money we are “missing.” I told my husband what his take-home pay was now and his response was: “You need to get a job.”

My immediate response to that was: “I’ve tried. No one wants to hire me.”

DH: I thought you wanted to work?

Me: I DID! But I decided to volunteer since I can’t get a job. If money is such an issue, I’ll go get whatever I can find that has nothing to do with my heard-earned master’s degree and be miserable.”

DH: That’s not what I meant.

I sat there stewing. I was hurt and angry. Not just with DH, but because I have applied for numerous jobs within my field and I have either been rejected or had no response. Not even an interview. If I could get a part time job, I would be happy. I have no interest in working full time now that I have committed myself to other volunteer activities. For any one out there that has been through this, you know how frustrating job-hunting can be!

Suddenly, my husband asked me about some of my professional qualifications. Then he asked me a few other questions and I realized he was searching for jobs on the internet for me. In theory, this was nice of him. In reality, I felt even more pressured to get a job. He asked about another job he found and I said, “I don’t meet those qualifications. And I said I don’t want to work full time.” He replies with: “FINE! I won’t help you look for jobs!”

Ummmmmmm……. I don’t recall asking for his help!!! (I kept this thought in my head… did not scream it like my emotional brain wanted to).

DH apologized later and said he was fine with my not working. He was worried about money. I told him we have survived on less than his current income in the past and reminded him we have a healthy savings account, if needed. But I was still hurt and frustrated… no longer angry.

So this afternoon I went to the gym to attend the Body Pump class (which I LOVE) and it was canceled. I proceeded to work out any way with great vigor in order to relieve my stress and frustration. It helped. I feel better… but I could sure use a nap!

And I DO love my husband…

About the Author

Joan D'Arc

Joan D'Arc has been an Army spouse since 1997. She started her marriage as a geographical bachelorette and experienced her husband's first deployment before their first wedding anniversary. Since then, she has had two beautiful children who amaze her (and frustrate her) every day. Joan fought her way through graduate school and is now a Licensed Social Worker. Joan enjoys volunteering with Soldiers' Angels and giving back to the military community in any way possible. Joan feels very blessed to be an Army spouse and wouldn't trade this life for anything!

42 Comments on "Volunteer or Career: When Your Spouse Chimes In"

  1. I sympathize with your job woes. I just married my Sailor and quit my job to move with him, and can't find a new one- and I'm a teacher! We are lucky right now because I don't "need" one since it's just the 2 of us, but I can see the same interaction between you and your husband happening to us. :)

  2. I have been considering doing the BobyPump class at my gym but am a lil nervous. On a scale of 1-10, what is the "oh-my-gosh-this-is-hard" rating?

  3. While I sympathize with your inability to get a job despite your qualifications I think you should make an effort to seek a full time job. Volunteering does not pay the bills and I think it is selfish to expect your husband to serve the country and bear the burden of the entire finances on his shoulders. We military spouses have an obligation to our husbands and families and we are being selfish when we "choose" not to work. If you honestly cannot find a job, then that is a different story, but if you are intentionally not applying to full time positions then you are being selfish. I work full time making close to six figures annual (which means my job is stressful – not fun), attending graduate classes, raising two kids and a puppy and I still make time to have a spotless home and home cooked meals. It can be done if we "choose" to do it. And I still make time to work out 5 times a week including kickboxing. Military wives – please stand by your husbands emotionally as well as financially. They need us!!!

  4. I am one of those Military wives, who as AF wife said "chooses" to stay home with my two daughters. I do this because it is what we as a family decided was right for us. I volunteer in many organizations with school and scouts. I am behind my husband emotionally and we handle our budget just fine without my finacial input. It maybe okay for some to work, but it is also very OKAY for some of us Military wives to be at home too!

  5. Semper Fi Wife | September 4, 2009 at 3:36 am |

    I think Amy has it right. Some of us choose (or chose) not to work fulltime because raising our children is also a priority. What works for some doesn't work for others.
    It's just that simple.
    I don't think the word "selfish" is even a little appropriate here.

  6. I completely understand how it feels to have a degree or two and not be able to find something in your field. I have a BS in History and am working on my Masters of Social Science.
    My job is to maintain all of the technology used by a universities testing centers and on the side I'm the head of a grants and development committee. But I yearn for something in the social sciences…history..anything. But no matter how hard I try, no one seems to want to hire me. It has alot to do with the economy I think…nothing to do with your skills or aptitude. If you do want to work don't give up but I love the idea of volunteering.

  7. Girl, you KNOW I looked high and low for an attorney position in my part of the planet, but I didn't know it was possible to 'age out' of a system in which you'd never been actively involved.
    And, frankly, Carren, you have supported your husband in ways that very few of us can comprehend. You handled your husband's injury and continuing recovery with a courage and grace that would be impossible for most of us to imagine.

  8. airforcewife | September 4, 2009 at 5:03 am |

    I'm a little disturbed that someone would cast aspersions on Joan's devotion to her husband because of job issues.
    Perhaps she didn't know that Joan spent sleepless hours and days at her husband's side, caring for him and advocating for him when he was wounded? That Joan dropped everything on a moment's notice to do so, and then threw herself into it fully and wholeheartedly? In fact, I do believe that I've heard Joan's husband talk about the fact that Joan in a very real way saved his life.
    I would think Joan is the very definition of devoted to her husband and family, and has made that fact crystal clear without ever once bragging about how wonderful she was (and trust me – she is one of the most wonderful, warm, kind, and funny people you will ever meet).
    I'm wondering how the word "selfish" ever came into the game here, and how monetary contribution came to be the entire definition of support.

  9. Joan, continue doing what you're doing. I agree that times are tight with the economy and finding a job, let alone getting an interview is difficult. The focus in the original text was one of "us" ladies who needed to vent about a situation she endured. Some of us have been in the same predicament, and others have not (just wait, your turn is coming). None of us can judge the next because we are not in the situation, and Joan has only given us an excerpt into what all happened.
    Let's support, not bring down one another, and realize she needs support. I am a workaholic myself, so maybe the her decision wouldn't work for me, but who's to say different about Joan?
    Ladies, we are here for each other!
    Be blessed this weekend, be safe and enjoy the holiday!

  10. An age old problem for the military spouse. I have had over 24 years of this 'lack of job' experience. We are finally in a place where I was offered a job right away. Did I say 24 years later? We are in St. Louis, which is a non-military city for the most part. I had the most difficulty getting a job and even interviews in 'army towns,' to include our last assignment where civilian/contracting jobs outnumbered soldiers 10 to one,with lots of job openings. And I'm a veteran to boot. You'd think they'd be the first to hire a spouse, not so. I also got a job in NJ, which is also mostly non-military. (sorry army communities, but not the most spouse 'friendly' when it comes to jobs, in my experience). What I did for years was freelance write for newspapers and magazines. Perhaps you have a background that will allow that. I also got my masters (as you already have) so that took up a few years. I did the volunteer stuff also. Just keep a record of everything you do because it will come in handy for a job interview/application some day. Sorry I'm not optimistic enough, but it is difficult being the spouse. I, too, didn't want a minimum wage job where childcare would have eaten up my income. So…what to do? Exactly what you are doing. And be kind to yourself. Don't put yourself down or on a guilt trip for not working. And if you have to remind your husband/spouse of that also. I had to remind myself that being there for our daughter and volunteering was just as important as the army career. Probably more so. They would not become the great adults they are or will be without the parent you are today. We had some bad years, too, financially, which made me question my 'non-work'. We were paying two mortgages (because of no military housing at new assignment and trying to sell at our last duty station )and for college during our last move last year. You can 'survive' with less if need be. Try local community colleges or universities in area or within a distance you can manage to teach or staff job. With a masters, you are qualified to teach at CC level, at least. Also, some universities hire adjuncts with just a masters. That's what I'm doing. It's funny, I met a lady who made a big deal out of how I was soooo lucky to have a husband to support my 'writing' habit. (read disgruntled divorcee working a crappy job). I just had to let it pass. To her, being an army wife and writer were just 'glam jobs' full of adventure. ha. She is not familiar with all the struggles of an army spouse who has sacrificed a lot for husband's career. Which sometimes includes not just my 'career' but my own sanity. ha. Keep sense of humor. It is vital!

  11. The job market is awful in some places and having an advanced degree (I'm learning, I have my M.A. and am working toward my PhD) doesn't always mean it will be easy to find a job–sometimes it is a disadvantage!
    Don't get discouraged, something will pop up some time, but do enjoy your volunteering in the meanwhile. I love the volunteer job I have right now, it is a civilian job which is good–it is nice to have some non military friends to go hand in hand with my military friends.
    Good luck finding what works for y'all.

  12. Tammie Cornitius | September 4, 2009 at 8:04 am |

    Wow, reading your post was like I had wrote it myself. I have not "chosen" to stay at home and I can't find a job. I have a BA in Business Administration and an MBA with a concentration in Accounting. I have the experience and education and can't even land an interview. I am currently receiving unemployment, but that is due to run out in a couple of weeks. The funny thing is that I am the only one worried about it. My husband doesn't worry about it. How is this possible?? I'm glad to know that I am not the only one in this situation, but the question is what can we do about it? I've been through every military spouse website, temp agency (I am registered with many) and still cannot land a job. It's so frustrating!!

  13. My husband told me our checkbook needed me to work but he would rather I didn't work. With my kid's dentist, doctor's appointments, meetings with teachers, my dog needs surgery, my daughter needs mouth surgery and even today I would have had to take off work cause we have family in. I can't find a day when I am not already busy to find a job. Plus I like taking my kids on long trips during the summer while they are off. Sometimes I feel guilty for not working but I would feel guilty having to take off work for all these things also.

  14. It's funny how we all find ourselves in the same boat being married in to the military! I too, find myself facing the same dilemma. I have a B.A., M.B.A., and hold a professional certificate to practice law in the state of California. My husband and I recently moved to a remote location in the East Coast. Everything is practically 2 hours away, most importantly, the jobs! I always tell myself, "Why did I even bother to work hard in school if I can't use all my degrees???" Like "Joan D'Arc", I am frustrated but I DO love my husband. I don't say anything that could upset my husband even after knowing the reality of the situation.. my earning potential is higher than his. It's sad to say but true. Despite all that, I support him, stand by him, and I DO love him. That's the sacrafice we all make when you marry in to the military.

  15. We just PCS'd overseas. I had to quit my very secure and well paying teaching position to move with my husband. We have no children so I have zero reason to stay at home all day (plus the boredom is doing my head in!). But the job hunt isn't going well. I cannot work on the local economy so have to find on-base work but am really struggling to find anything not entry level min wage work. Its really getting me down that with my two college degrees im probably going to end up working at the PX or the food court. Such is the life we signed up for.

  16. Joan, I have a Master's degree (and half of a PhD–but we won't even go there), and I can't find full-time work related to my field, either. I don't have kiddos at home anymore, but my husband is in a position right now that requires even more hours than normal (12-14/day), and he's on-call 24/7 (and actually gets called).
    My solution has been to work at several part-time jobs; I teach online and at the local university as an adjunct and work as a free-lance writer. I also do editing, copywriting, and tutoring on the side, and I'm working on my first novel.
    It works for us, as my husband says that the support I provide at home is invaluable to him. He doesn't have any "chores" to do at home, doesn't have to worry about the finances or errands or whatever; all he has to think about is his job and getting promoted. He also really likes the fact that I keep a flexible schedule so that when he DOES get a little time off, we can spend it together.
    There are no six-figure jobs in my field, and if there were, I've never lived in one place long enough to get one, so that's not really an option for everyone. As it is, I manage to supplement our income nicely so that we can take nice vacations and build up our retirement accounts. And I don't feel "selfish" at all. ;o)

  17. To each his own. You have to find what works best for your family. If you are happy with the way things are and can make ends meet, who cares if you have degrees and ample qualifications that you aren't using!? If there aren't any jobs available, make the best of it. Which sounds like exactly what you're doing! We need more volunteers in this world. :) Ditto to what AF Blue said about her husband not having anything to worry or think about except his job and getting promoted. With my husband it's the same way. When he gets back from his deployments, etc, I have the flexibility to spend all the time we need together. (I work 8hrs. a week outside the home). We all need to remind ourselves that "less is more." We live in a world where everyone is striving for more… What do we really need to survive? What is most important to us? There are ways to cut back if your desire is to continue with what you're doing… Good Luck to you finding a job or finding peace where you're at.

  18. I think that it is wonderful that you are volunteering. I work for an organization in volunteer management as a volunteer. It has been hard in the past to find volunteers and my organization is run mostly by volunteers. Lately, I have had an increase in volunteers because of the reasons that you mention. It has helped us tremendously. I think it is wonderful that military spouses that want to keep busy donate their time to help different organizations. I know that it is hard because it does not bring in income, but these organizations need volunteers. I am so thankful for the women that have come in recently to volunteer. I know some of them would rather be working, but it makes me appreciate them all the more to know that they give their time to us so freely.

  19. Thank you all for sharing your stories and words of encouragement. I feel I should clarify (in my husband's defense) that he has always been supportive of everything I have decided to do (work, school, volunteer, stay at home, etc). I know his main issue is worrying about money, which is why this post came about. I also know that HE knows if I am not working I go a little nutty (on my own accord). I have told him all of the volunteer work I am involved in and that I truly enjoy what I am doing – he's always said I have a "disease" called "volunteeritis" because I really do love to volunteer! I also think he wants me to work because he knows I am trying to get my hours to be a clinical social worker (A LOT of hours) and I am not even a third of the way there. I think it's a mish-mosh of feelings for both of us, we just don't always communicate it very well (imagine that!).
    Again, thanks for your support.

  20. I am "only" an Army girlfriend, but hopefully will become a wife after this deployment is over. I work in the field I got my degree in and I moved to our base town for my job (I met my boyfriend after I was already here). If not for work, I don't know how I'd keep busy while he's gone. I have now also started my masters degree, and if we go down the marriage path I'm going to tell him if he goes career with the Army he has to keep asking to stay on the current base. I don't want to have to move and find work again. If we had to, I would, but it sure would be nice if the Army would let us stay put, right?
    Now if we have kids…I do not want to work…I want to be at home with them until they are school age. But we'll just cross that bridge when we get to it. =)

  21. My husband and I have that conversation all the time and it usually involves a little bit of "you don't do enough around the house" going back and forth. But its just the stress talking. I work part-time and don't have any kids but with a husband in the army who works unpredictable hours and gets random long weekends, its easier for us this way. I can be home when he's home. Its kind of come down to having a career or spending time with my husband. I have a B.A. but I'd rather be with my husband while he's here, goodness knows he'll be gone again soon. I'll worry about working then.

  22. I am a Navy wife for 12yrs and I do have hearts for all those military wife that have been with their husband for so many years. I always say to myself that God can only judge me no matter what. The case I have issue with my Navy hubby is him making a decision (more of a demanding) when it comes to his sisters calling and asking us for money or what ever else they are involve with. His relationship with his sister are destroying our family relationship. I don't mind lending them money but when they call him and asked for money they don't even bother to asked me the same way. I tried talkin to the sister and she end up making me very angry for telling me that when she call her brother to asked him money that was the money he had and not mine and that they don't have to asked me for it. I said his money is my money and she cannot tell me that was his money. Then she added that I have not been working so I don't have the money to give him. I said that she is mistaken and for that he is my husband and she is the sister which has no right to just asked my husband just for their needs with out my knowledge and as everyone knows that no matter how many times he hide this issue it will surface. I've gone soo much with this marriage since the day one we got married specially when their family thinks that what my husband owned is they own it too. For twelve yrs I been through with his family my husband did not even protected me on this issue instead he is morely demanding it to me that he just want to give his sister money and that they are coming over to stay a few days because they are looking for a job around here which gave me a terrible anger because they take over everytime they come to visit nor stayed in our house. I wonder if anyone have this kind of issue with their family. The way my husband decide when it comes to his family is like I don't exist. Is anyone out there have this kind of issue with their families? It become so frustrated for me. We just moved into this new home far away from them but yet they trying to come across all the way here to start an issue between me and my husband. My husband don't think this is an issue. He think I should just get along with them. I can compramise but in the pass his decision almost killed my older son in the car accident. I went balistic on that and he is trying to make it look as I was the insane one. Please, is anyone out there could help me on this issue?

  23. I had a hard time this summer with this same problem. We thought we were moving but orders never came and I wasn't working at the time, thinking that since we were going to move, I would spend my time searching the new location. No such luck. I had a full time job the 2 & half years that were at this base but that was temp and now I have to settle for a part time job. Not my thing, but I've discovered it's a great job. I actually like it. I work at a flower shop on post and it's great. I only work weekends so my husband gets to take care of our son and see what I do all week while he is at work and gets to bond with him as well. So It's kind of a win-win. I get some of my own spending money and we still have some free time when I don't have to work.
    It really does come down to your individual situation. You have to do what works for you. No matter what, you both have to be ok with the situation or it's not going to work.
    It's always been hard for military spouses, but one way or another I think we eventually find our niche. I have a bachelor's and a master's and here I am at a part time job. So I say, just do what works for you.
    Good luck to all the ladies with their job searches! Have a great holiday weekend!

  24. I feel for you. I don't know why military posts are so deprived of work opportunities or spouse-hostile but between that and all the moving, getting a job can be an impossible task. It also seems like the more qualified you are, the harder it is, which in turn is its own rip-off. Half the reason that I want a job is to know that I could support myself if something happened to my husband, but the only jobs available to me are low-wage and no-benefits. Argh! Try not to take it out on your husband, though. It's a broad generalization, but it seems like with men just telling them about a problem IS asking for help. He heard "I've tried and I want to work. No one will hire me. I feel like all that's left are crap jobs that would make me miserable." Not wanting his wife to be miserable, he tried to help. Of course, I ought to take my own advice. I do the same thing in the tension of the moment and regret it later. Also "lynette williams" is a scam.

  25. I'm in the same boat as most of you with degrees. I can't get a job and I have a BA in Human Services. I have applied to numerous jobs and have not received call backs and the ones I have heard back from say that they are hiring some one who is more qualified. I was just wondering if any of you have ever considered going to officer school? Since I can't find a civilian job I am considering just signing up myself!

  26. I feel the pain of all you ladies out there trying to find work. I was laid off from my job a year ago and had decieded to go back to school to be a medical assistant, but still finding a job after graduating is still going to be hard and lately I have been feeling overwhelmed in the fact that I just go engaged and its supposed to be a moment of joy and it seems like every one in my family is against it because im jobless and my future husband is in limbo whether or not he will be re-enlist in Feb of 2010. Furthermore prior to loosing my job I had saved a substational amount of money in case i did loose my job because I wanted to know that I would be ok until something came along, but what frusturates me the most is my fiance. He is making about 3,000 a month and gets housing allowance and is currently renting an apartment but has only saved 6,000 in the last 11 yrs thagt he has been in the service and when I question him about it he cant even give me answer as to why. I love him very much and im a very patient person, but im not sure how to solve his spending habits because he apparently is spending money like water. Does any one have any advise.

  27. It seems like I am the only one forced to work around here. it drives me crazy. My husband thinks if I stay home, then Im lazy. Like doing laundry, cleaning the house, making dinner, taking care of our 2 girls and 3 pets and 2 fish bowls, and working on my degree isnt enough!!!!!and i still have to work full time.all of our friends' wives stay home and my husband outranks them and they have more kids. I need a break

  28. AF Wife and Vet | September 15, 2009 at 2:11 pm |

    I "love" when I read/hear people complain that they can't get a job, but it isn't that they can't get one it is that they don't want the jobs they can get. So what it isn't in the field your degree is for! So what it isn't your dream job! If you need $ you need a job no matter what it is.
    I know this because I pushed my 2 to the back corner and sucked it up to make $ for my family, no it is not the job I want to do for the rest of my life but we need the $ and I will do this job until we PCS and then if I still can't find a job in my field I will again suck it up and get a job that brings in the $.
    Good Luck

  29. I've been a military spouse for so long I can not remember life before the military. There have been times in our family when we need the money but the market couldn't hold one more employee, not just in the type of job I wanted but in any job. Other times the only job out there would cost more for gas and or care givers for child(ren). Yet still there were some jobs that while made plenty of money were not worth it to our marriage. Sometime it was the stress that couldn't be left all together at the office or that we never saw each other awake or on days off. I have been working for a real paycheck since I was 12 years old and after decades of work find myself once again on and off between PCs moves with the same problem of locating viable work. I have worked, temp job, I have worked daily work for daily pay and labor offices, so yes there are always options, However there may not always be a Viable job for everyone in each new location. Also while I appreciate AF Wife's kick in the rear point of view, I personally would have appreciated the comments if they were useful or constructive instead of demeaning and degrading. So to all you spouses that are in the boat of finding a job each time we move (this includes you AF Wife), Take heart and know that you, your spouse and your family will get through this one more thing in life and come out stronger for it in the end as a wife, mother, and family. I applaud all of you (still including you AF wife who each in their own way stand by their spouse and family in good times and bad, in sickness and in health and may never death, taxes, nor bills tear us apart.
    Love to all ~Stephanie

  30. I am fairly new to this Army wife thing. We made our first PCS move together last year and it was full of surprises. I have a BS and MA and work in a field that is usually full of job opportunities, so I wasn't worried about finding something fast. In 6 months I found ONE opening. I was lucky to get the job. In the meantime, I worked in a retail store for minimum wage just to have something to do. What a blast from the past!
    What we will all remember at the end of our lives is not how much money we made or whether we got the bills paid off every month, but the time we spent with our spouses and children and friends. Money comes and goes – yeah, we need it, but in the end it's not what's important. The people in our lives are what's important. If you can stay home and/or volunteer and that makes you happy, and you have a home and food, do it! Happy is worth a lot more than your savings account. :)

  31. I am in this same boat. I am married to a soldier and I have 2 children from a previous relationship. I do not work because at first i could not find a job but now it is because my son has disabilities. He has been diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, Bipolar, Intermittent explosive behavior disorder, Aspergers syndrome, and Dyslexia. We get SSI for him but my husband still fights with me about getting a job. It is really hard because no one will watch my son. He gets kicked out of daycare centers and they cant even handle him in school. I have to stay home all day anyway because when he acts up in school I have to go pick him up. What person would hire me when I have to leave at the drop of a hat because my son wont listen in school? I even thought about working 3rd shift while he is sleeping but in the 6 years my husband has been in the military he has deployed 3 times and is leaving for the 4th time in about a month. So I honestly do not understand how he expects me to get a job! So yes there are certain circumstances when military wives can choose to not work but I really wish I had a choice! Wish my husband would understand that too!

  32. It is so nice to realize that I am not the only one dealing with the job/no job problem. I spent 10 years in the military building a career but got out to make room for my family. I did what I thought I was supposed to do…I went to college and got a teaching degree. However, now I cannot find a teaching position. Its a catch 22, I don't have enough experience to get a job but can't get experience unless I have a job :). So right now I work part time answering phones and opening up email. Its not the kind of job I brag about on facebook but it works with my daughters school hours and the pay isn't too bad for a part time job. However I understand everyone comments here, even AF wife. I want to be supportive both financially and mentally to my family. We are PCSing once more in December and I am again faced with the job question. I just wanted to say thanks for your stories, its nice to know I'm not alone.

  33. After 2 months of intense job-hunting, I am currently working part-time cleaning houses, still looking for another part-time job that is a little more reliable. Partly it's the economy, partly not enough job experience, partly either no or the wrong degree…whatever the reasons, it IS hard to find a decent job these days. And I think I am NOT selfish if I insist on working regular hours Monday through Friday, as my husband is on call and works weekends and nights without much of a warning. And for us to pay a babysitter for those hours would defeat the purpose of me working…
    I have had the same conversation with my husband though and yes, it's a gender thing, they wanna help and don't notice that it makes us feel as if they think we intellectually can't handle the job hunt and need then to take our hand and guide us. But for someone who's been in 10+ years and who doesn't have to worry about his or her job, it is sometimes hard to imagine that it's not just that easy to find a job that not only pays enough, but brings at least a little joy if we bite the bullet and put our kids in daycare so we can contribute to the income…

  34. I think we can all sympathize with the struggle to find employment with each PCS. It is always difficult regardless of the level of unemployment or the state of the economy. You don't have control of the location of the base you are PCSing to and jobs in your field may or may not exist there. If you ever thought about starting your own business and working from home, there are many viable opportunities out there. I tend to be entrepreneurial in spirit and like the idea of creating my own destiny. I have been licensed to sell real estate in 3 states and have been successful in building a clientele on the internet. I am still active in real estate, but with the state of the current housing market, I decided to research other income streams to supplement my real estate business (and as I move, perhaps even replace my real estate income). There is no plan out there that will make you rich overnight, but if you are willing to put in the work – you can definitely build a business that can be done from your home. This type of business is not for everyone, but it may be just what you're looking for. And if you really want to contribute to your family's income, there are definitely ways to do that. This is what I've decided to do. If you have the bug to work for yourself, I know you can do it. There is a lot of support out there to help you learn as you earn.

  35. "Plus we haven't sold our house in PA, so that's another chunk of money we are "missing.""
    Everyone is responding to the job issue, but how about the house issue? Are you eligible, and aware of, the Homeowners' Assistance Program? Please look into, apply, and if you believe you're eligible, please join me in bringing attention to the question of why the government of the country we serve won't help us with the $555 million it appropriated in February for this very reason. It can, however, introduce a bill in March, finalize it in July, and spend $1 billion in September helping people buy new cars. GET LOUD!!

    • feeling motherly | January 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm |

      Hi. This is my first time on this site…somehow ended up here through an e-mail link I followed. I have been a Navy wife for 22 years. I worked before kids, (first 9 years of marriage) finding the best job I could in the location of the moment. I spent one tour as a full-time student, earning my MBA. I truly believe that degrees only help get interviews; experience is what employers hire. Because we move so often, jumping into the best job of the moment, military spouses tend NOT to have much focussed experience in any one particular field. Since my degrees and experiences are in business, I was able to find jobs that were "good enough". It would be much more diffficult to find work with more specialized education and experience– there iseither a need or not for employees in that field. Part 2 follows

      • feeling motherly | January 20, 2011 at 4:50 pm |

        Part 2:
        As we approach retirement, I am EXTREMELY nervous since my husband plans to take some time off, then get a low-pay "NO-STRESS" job while I go back to work. He is VERY serious about this future lifestyle, but I am concerned that after all of these years not working, I will never be able to earn nearly what he earns if I am able to find anything quickly at all. He is an only child, and we are contributing $1,200 per month towards his Mom's Assisted Living Home. (She lived with us for almost 3 years and that did NOT work.) Also, the plan is to settle back home, which leaves me zero geographic flexibility. Guess I'll see what happens soon enough! Part 2 follows:

        • feeling motherly | January 20, 2011 at 4:51 pm |

          Part 3:
          Also, I'll mention the obvious: careful money management is required to make being a 'stay-home mom" work. Through our 22 years of marriage, we NEVER bought anyhting on credit except 3 homes. It REALLY IS possible to to make do with what you have. When I was working, ALL of my pay went into savings. We did not buy cars, furniture, vacations, etc. unless there was cash to pay for them. If we could not pay cash for something, we did not buy it. We shared a car for 4 years, used store brands, coupons, etc. even as we watched friends driving fancy cars, buying new furniture all the time, etc. We watched our savings nose-dive with the markets, and sometimes wished we had "lived high" instead, but…… one just moves on. Part 4 follows:

          • feeling motherly | January 20, 2011 at 4:53 pm |

            As for the issue of being stuck with a home that won't sell in a previous place of residence: I am pleased that the government recognizes the problem the recent prolonged economic downturn has caused for up-rooted military home-owners, but, once again, it is extremely disheartening to be "cut out" of this helpful program because we chose to live conservatively. Once again, we feel PUNISHED for being fiscally responsible. Because we chose to cash in our life savings to put a large down-payment on a home we had expected to be in for a while, we are ineligible for help to compensate for selling for substantially less than what we paid. Our mortgage is not upside-down because of the cash we put in; therefore, the government will not contribute to our loss. If we had kept our money in the mutual fund and put down minimal on the mortgage, we would be eligible for mega-bucks from the HAP. OUR GOVERNMENT DOES NOT REWARD GOOD FINANCIAL BEHAVIOR. Part 5 follows:

  36. feeling motherly | January 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm |

    Part 6:
    In retrospect, I should have realized this back in 1990 during my years as a community college Financial Aid Director. Pell Grants, SEOG Grants, Stafford and Student Loans, College Work Study programs were great avenues to afford education for those whose parents did not have savings or for eligible NON-U.S.. citizens of U.S. protected territories (yes, the U.S. government pays for college education for non-citizens!). I turned away so many struggling U.S. families who could not afford the college tuition for their children, but had just enough savings to cause the government financial aid formulas to dis-qualify them for aid. Because they chose to put their money into savings rather than a bigger home, better cars, boats, jet skiis or whatever, I had to send them away to apply at banks for high-interest loans. ….just not fair. That was over 20 years ago…..now I know how it feels. I have seen much abuse of government aid programs, in general……..wish i could save these 'welfare" programs….truly out of control…..not the topic of this discussion………. Part 7 follows:

  37. feeling motherly | January 20, 2011 at 4:56 pm |

    Part 7:
    At the end of the day, I do feel that we have never suffered without — even driving away from our hurricane-devastated vacant lot with 2-days worth of clothing and the baseball bag and 2 beach chairs that had been left in the back of our truck. BECAUSE we were military, my husband's job was secure, the Navy gave us rent money and people in Alabama gave us clothes, food, school supplies, furniture, love and acceptance. Regardless of the obstacles we all face and how unfair we often feel our lives are, just by the fact that I am sitting at a computer openly expressing my feelings with a TV running in the background and my microwave beeping to let me know my hot tea is ready, and the reality that you are now reading this message (with the ability to freely agree or disagree), we must honestly admit that life is O.K. Part 8 follows:

  38. feeling motherly | January 20, 2011 at 4:57 pm |

    Part 8:
    Working, looking for work, being a volunteer or being home….either by choice or not, we are all doing just fine, enjoying the freedoms that our military protects. When I feel down about things, I find peace in watching my kids sleep. (yes, even at age 10 and age 12, they are still angelic when they sleep!!!). Pray with your kids at night–just listen to their prayers, and it will remind you how simple life really is, if we can just put things into perspective. Part 9 follows:

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