by Amanda, Guest Contributor
Oftentimes people are surprised when they learn that I served in the military for 6 years before my husband and I decided it was time for me to leave military service and stay at home to raise our family.
It took a lot of discussion between my husband and I before deciding which road we would take when our family of 2 became 3.
Staying in or getting out?
Getting out, staying home or working outside the home?
There were many different choices and decisions that had to be made. In the end I chose to leave the military and stay at home with my son. To say it has been an easy road and transition would be a false statement.
I thought the road would be smooth. I understood what the military asked of airmen and I thought I would be able to understand why my husband had to go and why he was at work longer than he planned.
But there was a whole lot more to staying at home parent than being an understanding wife and mom.
And being in the military had become part of my identity and maybe, just maybe, I had not realized how hard it would be to trade in my captain bars and career to be a stay-at-home mom and military wife.
Being in the military was something that was ingrained into who I was. I served 6 years, but if you look back to my Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) days the total time I was attached to the military was a decade.
The entire time I knew my husband, we were either in the military or were training to become military officers. When I transitioned to staying at home we lost that military connection between the 2 of us.
An equal footing, a connected path…I’m not sure what it was, but it changed everything and nothing at the same time.
It didn’t help that 8 weeks after our son was born my husband left for military training for 8 weeks. His path was leading him forward, where I felt like I was floundering to survive as a new mom.
Looking back, I had thought my military experiences would prepare me for motherhood.
Seriously, I had deployed to Afghanistan, been shot at and had to deal with some pretty ugly personalities. My biggest fear with staying at home was boredom, but that wasn’t what I found. I found out all my adventures were just adventures. I had grown and learned from my experiences, but I was no different than anyone else, especially other moms.
And when I thought about military wives who gave birth while their spouses were deployed or had endured long hours and many times alone, I knew that I was joining a group made up of tough and strong people.
I guess that is one of the reasons I am often surprised by the regular follow-up question after finding out I served in the military is
if I wished I had stayed in or if I miss military service?
It is a hard question to answer because it isn’t something I have given a lot of thought.
I know the choice we made was the right choice for our family and it has given us the opportunity to stay together. Of course, some days I miss life before kids where I felt like I had accomplished so much and could list my accolades to random strangers who were often impressed.
But the longer I stay home the more I realize how lucky I am to see everything happening so fast as my son grows up. His first steps, his cute giggles and special snuggles.
I may have given up a lot to leave the military, but in the end what I get each day is worth so much more.
The longer I stay at home, the more blessed I feel. Each day he grows more independent and I sadly know he is already growing up to fast.
When you meet a former military member who is now a military spouse, here are some things to know, at least from my perspective.
- Did this military spouse love serving her country? Likely yes.
- Is this military spouse proud of his or her military service? Yes.
- Is this military spouse proud of her service member and all that he does for her family? Yes.
- Does this military spouse miss being in the military? On occasion.
- Does she feel any different because she served and you did not? No, we are all military spouses in the military community together.
We are here to stand beside you and encourage you. We may still have some military in us that causes us to stress at disorder or take charge like a steamroller, but deep down we are really trying to help and make a connection in this crazy military life.
Are you a military spouse who is former active duty or Reservist? What’s your military spouse story? Tell us in the comments section.
Hi I’m Amanda! I am a former Air Force member who has transitioned to being a stay at home mom and Air Force wife. My husband and I met in college in our military training program. Since then, we have lived in New Mexico and Ohio and now California. Our son joined our family in the summer of 2013. I blog at Airman2Mom with stories incorporating life experience from motherhood and daily life while occasionally throwing in my past letters home from my Afghanistan deployment. My goal is to inspire others on their life journey and hopeful find some encouragement along the way. I love making new friends and would be honored if you followed my blog, liked my Facebook page and followed me on Twitter.