In Which Alison Chooses an Alternative Lifestyle

That’s right.  You saw it here first.

For those of you who know Sean and me you’ve probably figured out that he’s we’re not the most … conventional couple to ever call themselves Mormon.

We do have four kids but I work full time.  And I love it.  And while Sean does work full time, he’s not the primary wage earner (I make more than he does) and he’s not a typical guy.  He’s not ambitious, he doesn’t define himself by what he does.

Over the last several years Sean’s been going to school and I’ve gone to school and we’ve had many many different plans for our life.  But the plans have always culminated with us being more conventional.

Who were we trying to kid?  We’re just not that couple.

So we’re embracing the alternative.

I’m currently a surgical tech, (and as I mentioned before, I love it) it’s the classic, surgeon asks for a scalpel and I’m the one who hands him the scalpel (as a point of interest I’ll tell you that they almost never actually ask for a scalpel, although I do have one who asks for a slashing instrument) and depending on the case and on whether there are residents around I often get to assist in surgery.  It’s so cool!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t pay all that well.  And I’ve reached the top of my ladder, so aside from so called “cost of living” increases, I’m never going to make any more than I do now.

Did I mention that I have three sons.  In a row.  And they’re little now but they’re going to grow and they’re going to be teenagers.  All at the same time!

So, I’m going back to school.

It’s going to take a while (three years would be the absolute best case scenario but that’s going to school full time and that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon) but the plan is that when I grow up I’m going to be a nurse.  When I’m done Sean will still work full time and so will I, forever.

My mother was a stay at homer and that’s what I always thought I’d be.  It’s taken me a long time to come around to being Ok, even happy with the idea that I won’t.  (There’s a monumental paradigm shift that most Mormon girls need to go through to get there.)  But I am (happy that is).  In fact I’m starting to even get a little excited about it.

Probably, at least to begin with I’ll work in the OR (hospitals love new nurses who are already OR trained) but after that who knows!  I could do anything!  The world would be my oyster!

‘Cause ya know, things always go just the way they’re planned.   Or er, something.

27 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jen
    Mar 18, 2009 @ 23:56:43

    My sister said this a few years ago, and she’s in her final quarter of Nursing school right now. And I work part time, and know that I’ll probably always have to work at least part time. While I would like to stay home and focus a little more on the wife/mom aspect of things (like laundry), I’m actually one of those girls who kind of likes working. As long as it isn’t forty hours a week. And I get summers off. So I say go for it, and more power to you.

  2. LisAway
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 01:08:14

    Ha! You are so bad. Now I can’t read your blog anymore.


    Okay, fine, I’ll keep reading, but just because I know it’s against the commandments to be judgmental.

    My brother stays home with their two little girls and his wife is a big wig accountant. It wasn’t by choice, as my brother suffers from massive and constant headaches (so how can he stay home with three year old and one year old girls? I don’t know) and he does some freelance computer stuff, too, but it works for them. I don’t think you really chose this, and I like that somehow. Not that it would be bad if you always wanted to be a working mother, but I think it’s nice that it has just happened that way for you and you’re okay with it.

    I will be too. 🙂

  3. Kristina
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 07:58:43

    That’s exciting, Allison! I know I will probably always have to work. My husband made more than me last year, for the first time in our marriage, and he was SOOOO proud of that fact. But he will never make a ton of money, and I’m OK with working.

    Good luck! (Oh, and I AM judging you, of course. You know how it is.)

  4. Evitafjord
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 08:39:17

    I’m one of those girls too – I’ve pretty much always either worked full-time outside the house or part-time from home while hubby did school, lost his marbles, worked at a job he loved but didn’t pay great, and now works as a schoolteacher making decent, but still not quite enough. I even went back to work full-time when we got back down to just one that would have to be in daycare (until I got pregnant – well, until I had the baby). But still, I want to work OUTSIDE THE HOUSE, so I’m in school slowly but surely so that I can have that gig where I get to work while the rest of the family is in school and have summer off. Sucked being the only one who has to work during Christmas break. Anyway, I don’t know if I ever really had a giant pull to stay home full time and don’t remember having the “paradigm shift” but I may have since my mom and most everyone else’s mom stayed home. I just want it all, is that too much to ask?

  5. E
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 08:49:25

    Al, are you going to LisAway what her brother can do for those headaches? Just wondering.

  6. cheryl
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 09:14:50

    Happy for you –and VERY glad you could finally write about it.

    Hooray for unconventional families!

  7. bythelbs
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 09:31:57

    Sounds great. Except for the years of schooling part. Good luck with that.

    The world will be your oyster. Or something else that isn’t gross.

  8. Janelle
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 11:35:16

    School, kids, young mom, working? Sounds pretty conventional to me.

    Now if you had said you were going to give up working altogether and move to Moab and live in harmony with the bounty of the desert while selling fortune telling crystals from a roadside stand….. Now that would have been more interesting.

  9. Alison Wonderland
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 11:45:44

    Janelle, that was my second choice.

  10. Mother of the Wild Boys
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 12:43:27

    Ah Al, my Brain Twin…how many ways can we be alike? Really, I want to know so that I can stop being surprised every time I read your blog. 😉

    Although I grew up with a single mom who worked full-time, I always envisioned myself being a stay at home mom for my entire life. I thought that if I married a returned missionary, he would totally agree, things would work out financially, and we’d float away on our “conventional Mormon” cloud. Ha!

    The first flaw in my plan is that I picked a guy who values family time over money.
    The second? He’s an artist. (They don’t call ’em ‘starving artists’ for no reason)
    There’s also the fact that he grew up in a family of working women…so I was pretty much doomed.

    I am grateful that I had those 5-ish years of SAHMing. I’m grateful that I wasn’t aware of the dream-altering that would occur (Definitely a paradigm shift!), so that I was able to really enjoy that time. And I’m also grateful for the chance to get an education (& potentially earn more that my dear hubby!) 😉

    So, good luck babe…and know that you have an understanding friend in me.

  11. Alison @ hairlinefracture
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 13:01:39

    No judgment here. I think it’s great that you have options that appeal to you.

  12. Melanie J
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 14:54:41

    I absolutley loved teaching and I would go back to it–if I didn’t have kids. So I’ll go back when the last one starts school, because what I learned is that I’m a workaholic and work follows me home, even if it’s just mentally. Plus, English teachers have massive paperloads and have to do more work than other subject area teachers, so…it’ll be a while. I just can’t do both because I don’t feel like I’m doing either very well. I have plenty of friends who teach and have struck a great balance, but I’m just not good at it. For you, though, I think nursing sounds like a perfect fit. My aunt just went back to nursing school (at 45!) and she LOVES it.

  13. madhousewife
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 14:57:23

    The world is your oyster, baby! Best of luck to you. 🙂

  14. robyn
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 16:14:37

    Totally cool! I would never choose to be a nurse, but heck if you like it why not? That is so neat!

    I always worked because if I didn’t none of my three daughters would have lived past 4. I am so not a full time mommy person. I love my punks but man, I couldn’t be around them 24/7. And they were happier for it also!

    Enjoy school. You never know an RNP may be in your future!

  15. david mcmahon
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 21:05:47

    G’day from Australia,

    The world is your oyster. And anyone who can hand over a scalpel the correct way can use it to prise the most precious oyster out of the pearl that is a metaphor for life.

    You are empowered. Seriously.

  16. Jami
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 23:58:51

    I’m so glad you and your husband are on the same page. Because I think being in agreement about the plan is probably more important than what the plan actually is.

    As an aside, have you given any thought to being a dental hygienist which makes $70,000-ish for 18 months of school? Of course, then there’s drool and stuff. I have this feeling you’d excel at pretty much anything you put your hand to.

  17. Susan M
    Mar 20, 2009 @ 08:26:16

    My husband and I have switched back and forth over the years, who stays home with the kids and who works. We’re about as unconventional as you can get and still be Mormon, I think. Which is why I love you.

    Nursing is a good thing to get into now. With all the baby boomers getting old. You’ll always have a job!

  18. Annette
    Mar 20, 2009 @ 09:07:08

    Way to go–you’ll be a fantastic nurse.

  19. Dollie
    Mar 20, 2009 @ 09:26:59

    YAY!!! that is so exciting. I wish I could get out of the house although I have started my prereqs for nursing. YAY!!

  20. Sara H.
    Mar 20, 2009 @ 09:32:09

    I applaud your efforts to live your life the way you want to – and I’m sure you’ll make a great nurse. I think we all have to realize that our lives aren’t exactly a blissful dream come true (whether you work outside the home or inside), but that really wasn’t the point of life anyway, right? I work full-time (partially by choice – I also make more $$ than the hubby), but wish I could work part-time (or at least not 70 hours a week like I did this week). Maybe some day.

  21. Ashley Breton
    Mar 20, 2009 @ 12:45:41

    Good luck with going back to school! If you are ever interested I have a blog at

  22. Heidi @ hadleyesque
    Mar 20, 2009 @ 23:11:22

    Nothing wrong with unconventional, I say. What’s conventional, anyway? Because if this stay at home- drive yourself crazy- mom deal is the conventional, I’m ready to embrace the alternative.

    And going back to school is always a good idea.

  23. merrychris
    Mar 23, 2009 @ 09:25:51

    So I’ll judge you, then, since nobody else wants to. Heck, I have the whole conventional thing perfected, right down to the canned peaches.

    Except that there are a lot of people just like you, and practically no one like us, so which of us is really conventional?

    I know you, and you make good decisions, and you are wise and good-hearted. My judgment is that this is likely what you should do, and it is especially brave of you because part of you thinks it’s wrong to like the idea. I also judge that there will be some very nasty consequences of this decision, even some that you don’t foresee. And finally, I judge that your family will love and even admire you a little for understanding yourself, and for doing what you believe to be right, and we will do our best to help mitigate the negatives, as you do for us.

    I judge you. But I do not condemn you. Go your way, and sin no more.

  24. Cat
    Mar 30, 2009 @ 06:11:28

    Al- that’s very exciting! Best of luck to you. One of my little sister’s is a nurse now too and very happy with it just like my mom. Who woulda thunk that you’d be the “career woman” and I’d be the “at-home mom”? Funny huh? You’re a great role model to your kiddos of self-awareness and being empowered enough to make the right decisions for yourself and your family.

  25. marivic
    Mar 30, 2009 @ 18:05:11

    I work and have a career and I admire women who do. Mormon women do not all fit into neat little boxes. I stayed home for 5 years so I have a lot of respect for stay at home Moms, but that’s not who I am. The decision is between me and the Lord, and people who were not there when the Lord and I were discussing it should NOT be judging. You can say the same.

    Good luck on your goals! I wish you the best.

  26. Trackback: Making God Laugh « Alison Wonderland
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