The Career Teeter Totter: Finding Your Balance

2607065194_a5962d9a01_zGuest contributor Andrea Schmidt from Happy Here blog

Have you ever been on a teeter-totter with someone much smaller than you, perhaps a younger sibling or kid you were babysitting? You probably spent a lot of time on the ground with your butt in the sand popping up every once and a while if you muster up your energy and use all of the muscles in your legs.

Working military spouses are a lot like that bigger half sitting on the teeter-totter. I really struggled with finding a job when I married my husband and moved across the country to be with him. He was earning the income, driving a newer car he bought after AIT and paying for all of our date nights while I was the one with the bachelor’s degree but drove an old Taurus and lifeguarded for $7.50 an hour.

It’s an easy rut to get trapped in but instead of moaning and groaning about being stuck down in the sand, we need to learn to change our perspective. Our spouse wouldn’t be able to stay up and be successful if we weren’t down on the ground doing some of the dirty work. The two ends of a teeter-totter constantly fluctuate all while remaining connected. With work from both ends though, a perfect balance is possible.

Just because you are currently the one down in the sand doesn’t mean you have to stay that way and it doesn’t mean your spouse has to come down before you can go up.

Those leg muscles I was talking about earlier? Those are years of skills and hard work that we put to use every day to overcome the battles we face when pursuing our own career paths alongside our spouses. We might have to get a little creative and be willing to roll with the punches but that doesn’t mean our careers are any less worthy or important.

I eventually found that full-time job I wanted and was able to upgrade to a new car. And on top of that? When my husband gets out of the Army next year I will be the one earning the paycheck and providing us with health insurance while he works on his education. Balance.

In time our turn will come to be on top of that teeter-totter and our spouses will get down in the sand to support us. Just remember to catch yourself with your feet on the way down!

Seesaw image by nzgabriel.


  1. I really like the teeter-totter analogy! My butt is down in the sand right now, so this was some reassurance that I needed to hear.*

  2. Great post! I really appreciate that you mentioned how we have to change our perspective. It can be so hard when external factors seem to beat us down, but that negativity follows us like a dark cloud. What was it that helped you to keep pushing onward and upward?


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