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Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland: Success Envy

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Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland: Success Envy

Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland

December 14, 2010

Success Envy

I generally respond to the emails I’m sent pertaining to my blog in private. Usually a simple one-on-one correspondence goes down and that is that. However, I received an email after my post Saturday on how proud I was of my husband for successfully completing A-School that I thought I would share. I already contacted the lady who wrote me and made sure that it was okay to anonymously share what she wrote and answer her letter here. So that’s what I’m going to do.  :-)

Dear Courtney,

I read your post entitled “HS” yesterday. And while I can completely understand how excited you must be for your husband to have accomplished something so prominent, there is one thing that I must know. How are you handling his success while dealing with your own un-success? I don’t mean that to sound rude or condescending by any means so please don’t take it that way. I too am a stay-at-home mom and my husband is in business. As happy as I am for him we he receives a promotion, etc. I find it difficult to swallow sometimes because I feel like I am going no where in my own life. I have things I want to accomplish, too, and it’s hard to feel joy for my husband when I feel as if I am doing nothing. You always seem to have such a bright outlook on things, so I was curious as to how to you do it. Love your blog!! Thanks! -J

Alright. I admit that when I first read this I was somewhat…baffled by the bluntness of it. I mean the whole un-success part was a little bit difficult to read past. :-) However, after contemplating this email for several hours {I even got out my blog notebook and wrote down some thoughts on the topic} I finally reached a mindset to which I felt I could accurately answer this question. And the reason I’m choosing to answer this question here is because not only do I completely understand what “J” is saying in her email and what she means by it, but I am about 99.98% sure that there are many of you stay-at-home-moms out there who have felt or are feeling the same way. And I wanted to address my response for everyone. Just in case, you know, you were curious. Haha.

I can honestly say, wholeheartedly, that YES! I have spent countless hours [especially these last eight months] being jealous and/or envious of the fact that my husband was in school pursuing something he loves. I have been angry over it, frustrated by it and upset about it at many different points in this journey. Jealous because he is moving forward and, like “J,” I feel sometimes like I’m stuck in the same place. I’ve been jealous [many, many times over] because he was able to spend his Friday and Saturday nights out eating and going to movies while I was home (alone) watching movies or wasting away on the computer. And as shameful as it is for me to admit that, it’s the truth. Because I’m human. I dropped out of college nearly three years ago to get married, and there are days that I wish I had gone about that differently. {And by differently I mean that I wish I would have transferred immediately to another school rather than just dropping out. Not differently in the sense that I wish I wouldn’t have gotten married or anything like that.}

But then, when I start to feel that way, God always brings me back to this:

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He brings me back to this little face. To this smile. To these great big blue eyes. To the little hands to grasp mine in hopes of never having to feel scared or worried or pain. And that is all that it takes.

Growing up, all I ever wanted was to be a wife to a good man {check!} and be a mother to healthy, beautiful children {check, check!} I never had dreams of being a doctor or a lawyer or anything like that. Every career path I have ever explored was one in which I could be a mom. Not just any mom. I wanted to be {and still do, of course} the June Clever type mom. I want to be there for my son. I want to be there for my husband. I want to see them succeed in absolutely everything they set their minds to. Would I like a career? A job that fulfills me? Absolutely. And I will have one. But, for now, this is my job. Being a mom to our son is the most important job I can have right now.

On the nights that I would get upset and frustrated because Hubby was enjoying an extended break from parental duties {these were usually the nights in which I had had a very long day with our son}, I had to remind myself of why Hubby was doing what he was doing. And why I was doing what I was doing. I opted out of getting a job here at home. I could have gotten one if I’d wanted to. But I chose not to because I wanted to be here for my son. His daddy was already gone and he is accustomed to having mom around all day every day, so throwing another adjustment hurdle toward him wasn’t in his best interest. And let me tell you, he has thrived more than we ever thought he would with Hubby being gone. He has adjusted better than we ever expected. And I give credit to him having his mother around when his dad was gone. Having a steady parental figure around.

And I was constantly reminded of why my husband was doing what he was doing. Yes, being an HS is a step toward achieving his ultimate goal of becoming a Surgical PA; but becoming an HS has its own set of benefits for our family, especially financially. Hubby is working hard to set our family on the path toward achieving all that we want to achieve. He’s in school to help get me back in school to finish my degree. He’s in school to help me achieve my dreams and my goals and my ambitions. His time in A-School isn’t solely about just him. Marriage is two sided, remember? And while there are times that it has felt like everything was about what he had going on, it never took me long to remember that in the long run, school has nothing to do with him at all. It’s about us. About our family.

And even those reminders weren’t always enough. The really tough days where Little Man whined or cried non-stop, the days where I felt like I couldn’t take being away from my husband for just one more second, the days where I wanted to throw things and scream because I was sick and tired of being separated from my husband and not having our family together, I always felt God’s voice. Always felt his hands on me reminding me that he doesn’t give me more than I can handle. Reminding me that he does have a plan for me and that whether I realize it or not, the steps that are being taken now are being taken so that I can be where he wants me to be. And finally, he always reminded me of the passage in 1 Corinthians…Love does not envy. {13:4} True love isn’t envious of its partner. And being envious of my husband and his success was and is wrong.

As frustrating as it gets sometimes, seeing my husband happy and excited over what he has done; seeing the accomplishments and knowing what obstacles he has overcome to get to where he is…they make everything else seem juvenile and petty. I married a man that I am proud of. Proud of all that he has achieved. All that he will achieve over the years. Marriage is a give and take journey. I’ve given for him just as he has given for me. We have a mutual respect for one another’s dreams and ambitions. There will be more school in the future for him. More tests to pass, more graduations to attend. And there will be similar things in my future when the time comes. And just like I’ll be sitting there cheering and clapping as my husband walks across that graduation stage next week, I know he’ll be doing the same thing when I accomplish the things that I have set out to accomplish.

J, I hope that answers your question. I hope you realize that you aren’t alone in feeling jealous of your husband. Being a stay-at-home mom is a strenuous job. It can be extremely taxing and mentally exhausting. But just remember that you are doing something worthwhile. You are influencing and impacting the lives of your children in every single way! Enjoy the time you have with them! I guarantee you there are working moms out there who would kill for the chance to spend all day at home with their kids.

Happy Tuesday, all! I’m off to finish packing my bags so I can head across country!

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