By most military and even civilian standards, my husband has an impressive resume. In the civilian world, he worked for a time as a Chief Financial Officer and served as a County Commissioner. His military career includes several combat missions in Iraq, to include commanding a Cavalry Squadron (and bringing home every one of his Troopers). He flies two different types of attack helicopters. He has obtained two Master’s Degrees and has been awarded more medals and ribbons than I can count, to include 4 Bronze Stars and a Legion of Merit. And soon he will be taking command of a Combat Aviation Brigade which has anywhere from 3000-4000 Soldiers.
I can’t find the words to describe how proud I am of him.
The funny thing is, he is just as proud of me, even though I don’t have an official resume that matches his. I have always struggled with this fact, but I don’t think that I really understood it until a conversation we were having this morning.
We were talking about the concept of “legitimacy” in life and in careers. So often, as a stay-at-home-mom, I get caught up in wondering if my choices in how I spend my time and money are “legitimate.” Shouldn’t I be earning an income that will help put my kids through college? Shouldn’t I have a more “professional” wardrobe at my age? Shouldn’t I spend more time discussing politics or investing or world events?
Instead, my days often consist of wearing yoga pants and bleach-stained t-shirts, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (not even organic!), and spending too much time on Facebook. I have a mile long list of books to read, a longer list of blog posts and books I’d like to write, and I daydream about places I’d like to visit “someday.” This is not exactly the partner that one would envision for the Soldier I described above, is it?
But real life is not bullet points on a resume. Real life is messy. Laundry will never be completely done (especially with 6 active kids). Furniture will get broken and worn out. Home décor will become outdated, and we may not be able to afford to update regularly. And handling this messiness takes skills that cannot always be reduced to bullet points. Does that make them any less “legitimate” than the skills required to fly an Apache helicopter or lead an air mission to support an Infantry unit that has come under attack? Absolutely not.
And my amazing husband has been trying, for nearly 20 years, to get me to believe him. To believe that my skills are just as legitimate as his. That my role as a wife, mother, Family Readiness Group leader or advisor, volunteer, etc. are just as important to our lives and the greater community as his roles are. That my lack of an “official” resume does not make me any less valuable to society than his “real” resume.
Now, I still want to earn a paycheck. I still desire to obtain a master’s degree. I still want to have a “career.” But I am finally realizing (in my core, not just intellectually) that my role as a wife, mother, and volunteer has been just as legitimate as a doctor, lawyer, or whatever. The point is not to value the title, but to value the person behind it.
That is why I am so proud of my husband. It is not the insignia on his shoulder that I value. It is the man underneath the insignia. In the same way, it is the woman underneath the baseball cap and yoga pants that my husband respects. He would not respect me any more if I had a title in front of my name. And I must continue learning to do the same.
My resume cannot be typed on a single sheet of paper. I am living it, and even though it cannot be seen in black and white, I pray that it can bee seen by those who are truly important…my family, my friends, and any other people I serve.