Along with the struggles of moving to Panama come the struggles of the time of life our family is in. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom (really, a drive around mom) for almost 15 years. I’ve worked part time at our church; I’ve done freelance writing and editing; and I’ve made video/slide shows for bar mitzvahs, celebrations and birthdays (and the Scouts but those were freebies), and then there was the volunteer work. I’ve produced

With our visas, Jack and I cannot hold jobs in Panama. Lucky us in many ways… but unlucky in others. It can be frustrating, boring, discouraging and numbing on occasion.

It also gives one a bit of an identity crisis. I used to be a journalist. I used to be a stay-at-home mom (Our boys are at ages they don’t really need me so much anymore). Now I’m a wife who followed her husband to another country. But that’s just part of who I am.

Who am I?

Today when I asked Neil to take a laundry hamper downstairs to the laundry room, he was whining and fussing like a typical teenager. And then he told me I should do my own job. Laundry was my job, not his job. He’s made remarks like this when asked to help with the cooking and cleaning too.

Part of me would like to never do his laundry, cooking and cleaning again. I would like him to see how much work it does take to keep our family clean, clothed, fed and moving along.

But part of me admits he’s not wrong. I’m reduced to cleaning, cooking and doing laundry — no matter how poorly I do it.

Is this what I’m showing my boys what women do? What women are worth? What women are capable of?

I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself. I’m ignoring the fact that I’ve also shown them a woman diving into a new language, culture and environment trying to get them all up to speed, a woman who deals with tradesmen, the landlord and almost any salesperson we come into contact with using my newly acquired Spanish (and some remembered high school Spanish. Thank you Sr. Ed).

But it doesn’t feel like enough.


2 thoughts on “What is my job and who am I anymore?

  1. Thanks, JoAnn for the compliment. What I taught my students was only the beginning–I know you know that. What is exciting is how you are putting Spanish to use and continuing to grow in the language. I estimate that in a short time you will be able to communicate your needs at almost any level in which you find yourself. Spanish is a skill I continue to learn daily. Right now I am reading Jeremiah in La biblia del diario vivir. Each day I am challenged to learn a new word or two or three. I use the Larousse all in Spanish apps. If you are interested in them, I will elaborate. I am excited for you, Dean, and your sons.


    1. Hi Sr. Ed. I would be interested in the apps. I don’t know of them. And you are right, I am growing in the language. I enjoy it and I’m fascinated by how different words in Spanish can mean different things depending on the country you are in.


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