Trailing spouse- what do you do all day?

I can totally relate to this post:

http://sixdegreesnorth.me/2014/03/07/trailing-spouse-the-graveyard-of-ambition/

My experience so far is to be the one constant in a world of inconsistencies and chaos for D on his post. Just like the author, I too have grappled with relinquishing my own identity to become ‘spouse’. I ask ‘who am I now?’ I’m not working, I’m trying to establish a new social network, learning the ‘dos and don’ts’ in a different culture and managing home help (maid and driver) and keeping my own sanity in check to be the supporting trailing spouse to a partner at post.

I grapple with the fact that I worked so damn hard to graduate from university with a degree. That I am a modern women who was financially and socially independent until now. That I have never relied on a man to provide me anything. Ever.

Everything I worked for was within reach and then… Career on hold. The game will have changed substantially during my leave of absence and my reputation will be non existent. I start over when we return home. Not easy to digest.

Gone is financial independence. No work equals no salary equals no financial co tribution to our relationship. Honestly, it has taken me 9 months to cone to grips with the fact that contributing money is not the only contribution one makes. At post, emotional support is a huge contribution. Stocking the fridge with healthy food, organising social outings so you get out of the compound and interact with the world and encouraging exercise to promote mental and physical heath are just SOME of the contributions trailing spouses make to keep life happy and the show on the road.

Socially, post is an isolating and lonely experience at first. You wake up each morning thinking ‘what will I do with my time today?’ Eventually invitations to events, coffee mornings and other outings start to trickle in. I said yes to everything. Some things were a good fit and others not so much. People too; some you click with and others you don’t. I was so very conscious of not being the wife who eagerly awaits her husband’s return and bombards him with questions about his day, so not healthy.

These days though, things are going well for the most part. I’ve returned to study to commence my Masters of Education, my network if friends continues to expand and I’m even contemplating part time work at the Embassy (the only place I’m allowed to work).

When well meaning people back home tell me ‘life must be so easy as a trailing spouse’ or ask ‘what do you do all day?’ Well, I keep the show on the road..

thesmult- life is what you decide
Posted from WordPress for Android

thesmult- life is what you decide
Posted from WordPress for Android

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8 thoughts on “Trailing spouse- what do you do all day?

  1. Yup I can certainly relate! I have been thinking about this recently. We have been back in the UK between postings for four years and in that time I have gained a University diploma, taught antenatal courses for two years, gone back to work part-time while juggling child-care and written a book (soon to be published). But most people won’t think I have acheived anything – why? Because none of this has brought in a proper wage. Although my example is while we have been at home, it is also so true of so many expat partners who are unable to work full-time when they are abroad. It’s time we stopped judging achievement based purely on financial gain! (Thanks – I think you have inspired a blog post….)

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  2. Thanks for your response to my blog post, and a huge congratulations on what seems like a really healthy attitude to this life. I too struggled with accepting that my contributions to the family did not have to be financial to be significant. And my university course has been a huge sanity saver as well!! Kind regards, Chrissie

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