Having walked the path of service member and military spouse I have a unique perspective on military life.
I know what it is like to pack up and head out on deployment. I also know how it feels to be the one left behind.
I know what it is like to be in the service and have a voice in what the future held for my career. I have also learned how difficult a new assignment can be for a military spouse, especially when the needs of the military don’t align with the needs of the family.
I feel lucky because I have experienced the joy and community created by military life for both service members and spouses. I hear the stories from both sides. And sometimes, my experience as either the female active-duty member or the supportive family member, is able to give veterans, service members or spouses a new perspective.
It is hard to be a woman serving in the military. You can often feel like a fish out of water. Females make up less than 20% of the active duty force. Because of that, it can be hard to not stand out. It also leads to sometimes being left out. I host the Women of the Military Podcast where several of my guests have talked about being alone on deployment while the rest of the men in their unit bunk together. This can lead to women being out of the loop, and not knowing everything they should. The military can be a lonely place for female service members.
One of the reasons I felt lucky to not only be a military member but also a military spouse was because I was able to meet, connect and befriend women through my husband’s military spouse group.
And while being a female service member has its challenges, I have found the role of military spouse extremely challenging as well.
After serving in the Air Force for 6 years, I traded my combat boots for a diaper bag. Since that transition I have been treated as “less than” just because I am a spouse. Military spouses can certainly relate, the process of doing anything military-related without my active-duty husband is met with such red-tape, that I avoid as many of these tasks as possible.
I have even experienced situations where people’s demeanor and treatment toward me changed upon learning about my past military service. Where I continually hit walls and couldn’t move forward as a military spouse, doors began to open with my veteran status.
In the end, I think it is hard to be both a service member and a military spouse. They both require incredible sacrifice.
Those words are just titles; they aren’t who we are. Get to know the people around you on a deeper level; you never know how those connections can help you in the future.Read comments