The Trailing Spouse is a phrase that has been coined by many FSOs (Foreign Service Officer) and EFMs (Eligible Family Member) that refers to spouses that follow their husbands/wifes around the world in pursuit of their spouse’s dream job. Even with the name I chose for this blog I’m not sure I like the phrase.
It seems some people have clung to the concept of being a Trailing Spouse. They thrive off of the idea of following their loved one around the world doing whatever it is he or she wants to do. I have not found many blogs (I haven’t really been reading a ton about this though) that are written by people who don’t embrace being a Trailing Spouse. I do not like the phrase at all. The word trailing means, to follow a trail but it also means to walk or proceed draggingly, heavily, or wearily. This is the way that I look at the phrase. That I’m walking behind Patrick, following him dragging my feet the whole way, with a heavy heart and tired from following him while he pursues his dreams.
I would never want this phrase to describe me. I did not give up my life, my career and my family to blindly follow a man around the world. I knew, before marrying Patrick, what he wanted to do with his life. I have always just (a word I hesitate using) wanted to be a mom. I chose a teaching career knowing that it would make me a better mom and would give me a job once the kids were in school. Patrick’s desire to travel the world and work as a FSO was one of the things that attracted me to him in the first place. I chose to live my life with Patrick. Next to him, not behind him, not in front of him. Next to him. This is why I don’t ever want to be referred to as the trailing spouse. I am willingly, lovingly, supportingly joining, Patrick on our life adventure.