The last time I wrote a column I had a belly full of babies. I also had a career that I loved, yet I had no idea exactly how much my life was going to change. My husband and I had been a couple of D.I.N.K’s (double income, no kids) for more than a decade. I never really put much stock into Thursdays being “family days” or to when he had days off, because I was at work.
His military schedule had no bearing on my job in the newspaper business. He had his work and I had mine. We were both slaves to our professions and no one batted an eye when the other had to work late or if we brought work home.
Fast forward six months and my twins, Rory Christopher and Makayla Jade, are now 5 months old and now I’m a full-time, stay-at-home momma with baby twins.
Growing up, I was the girl with a set life plan. I knew in fifth grade what I wanted to be when I grew up. I would finish high school, go to college, get a job, fall in love, buy a house and get married. Sometime after that, we would have babies and I would juggle motherhood and a career.
And then, as it does, the military interfered with my well-intentioned plan because the man that swept me off my feet was in the Army.
I didn’t grow up in a military community so I had no idea what I was in for. During our newlywed days in Hawaii, I didn’t understand why so many military spouses choose not to work, especially those with children. Now I get it. It’s rough. It’s hard to pack up your career every three years let alone having a career and not just a “job.”
To be honest, I have always been mystified by my stay-at-home mom friends. I couldn’t wrap my brain around why a woman would want to spend all day at home with a baby. I did not bust my butt through four years of college and two years to get a master’s degree to not put my degrees to some use. I could not imagine how it would be a fulfilling situation for a woman to stay home.
And then I got pregnant and everything started to make sense.
After I had the twins, I could not imagine going back to work. I thought about it for a long time and came to the realization that not only did I just not want to go back to work, but it would be so much easier for our family. After all we went through to have them, it was more important for me to be a good mother and wife than to climb the ladder and bust through the glass ceiling.
I knew things would change when I became a mom, but nothing can prepare you for being a first-time mom to twins when you are married to the military.
For example, the words, “I’m going into the field,” will stop me in my tracks. Before, that sentence meant I didn’t have to worry about cooking dinner and I could watch as much garbage reality TV as I wanted, without judgment. Now, I am scrambling to figure out how I am going to survive being the only parent for an entire week. I currently count down the hours until he walks through the front door. If keeping two small humans alive by myself from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. wasn’t hard enough, now I have to do it for an entire week without a break.
God have mercy on my sleep deprived soul.
No matter how frazzled I get, I remember that I asked for this — yes I even asked for twins. It’s the hardest job I have ever had, but it’s been the most fulfilling.
Going forward I’m anxious about a few things — money, juggling fussy and teething babies and maintaining a sense of self. While I’m scared, I’m also excited.
At my house, everyday is an adventure and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.
Vanessa Lynch is a former metro editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. An Army spouse, she and her husband live in Harker Heights with their two young children.