Love is love no matter what a person’s career is. But there are some careers that make being in a relationship and having a family, much more difficult. When I met my husband, he was a recruiter in the army and he did not deploy. Not until further in our relationship did I even realize that we would actually have to move to some other location besides New York, and not just once, but like many times. I had no idea. I had never dated a man in the military before and it did not resonate until, well, it finally happened! We had been married two years with our daughter and he told me we had to move in a few months. Now, reality was finally sinking in. But how would you ever really understand it until you are actually living in it?
I wish there had been some books or articles that I could have or should have read so that I could have understood what it was like to be a military spouse. Yes, I had met other women like me who were married to the other recruiters, but they hadn’t really ever moved either, so together, we were clueless! None of my friends or family members had ever been in this situation before, so how was I to know what it was like?
That’s the right answer. Now, don’t get my wrong, I love where we ended up moving this time and I love everything about my husband and his career (for the most part), but I would consider us lucky. Not every location that we will move, will we be lucky.
As a military spouse, I find it imperative to write this post about what it means to be a military spouse so that other women, just like myself, who don’t know what it actually means to be married to the military and how it affects you.
So, what does it mean to be a military spouse?
You move, a lot.
The great thing is that they will move you, like literally pack all your stuff and you don’t have to do a thing. However – I would suggest packing the breakable and valuable things and bringing very important items with you instead of putting them in the truck to be carted to your next move.
You find a new job, every time.
If you are a working mom like me, then you need to search for a new job when you move. There are some companies that will help military spouses find jobs, however, they cannot be relied on because depending on your location, there may not be that many jobs for you. Start searching FAR in advance so you have options.
You find new friends.
Join local Facebook groups, download MomieGo, find local Meetups, and become friends with the other military spouses that your husband works with. Go out of your way to make these friends – it will take time, but worth it in making your new location tolerable.
Your children change schools.
Getting them used to it early is important so they know that they will be moving and their friends will be changing.
You rent, buy, sell, pack up your home every 3-4 years.
There are a lot of good locations that you can buy a house in and then selling it a few years later for a good turn around. But make sure you have an idea of how long you will be there for and if the market is good or you will lose money. Renting is usually the best way to go.
You rarely move near your family.
Embrace social media and Facetime if you want your family to know your children. These are the best ways for everyone to stay in touch!
You don’t get to pick where you move.
Rarely. I have yet to experience a time when we were able to pick exactly where we wanted to move! Getting an idea of a state/area of the United States that you would like to be in, but don’t get too used to a specific state.
They don’t care about you or your career.
They don’t. For example, if you are a teacher, and your PCS date is May – they don’t really care that it would be better to leave in June/July since that’s the end of the school year.
You are always second.
They come first. When they call, you go. No matter where it is, that’s where they say!
Find other military wives to befriend.
Other military wives know what it’s like to move around and have to restart your life every few years. They also know what it’s like during deployment or they go to military school for months at a time.
Avoid living on base.
Just my personal opinion, we never live near an actual army base, we have lived near Air Force ones and they have not been the best, so I would suggest scoping it out first and then deciding from there.
You are alone a lot.
Although you may feel alone, you are not. Find military spouse support groups, read military spouse books, read about other military wives – embrace social media!
Make the best of where you are.
Not everywhere you move is going to be wonderful. Actually, there is a better chance that where you are moving you will not like it. However, each location is what you make of it. If you are sitting at home every single day doing nothing, not making friends, not attempting to like your new location, then yes, you won’t like it. Go out! Get a job! Find friends!
Do not complain about the life you have chosen.
Yes, it is not always sunshine and rainbows and sometimes it is very lonely, however, don’t blame them for their career and your choice to be involved in it. Support them along the way as much as you can and remember, stay positive.
Being a military spouse is an amazing thing. Us military wives are so resilient to have to deal with everything above. It takes a special person to go where their husband goes and then recreate their lives from scratch, every time. When you meet a military man, remember this is the life you are signing up for and it takes a special person to be able to do what we do. Remember, love is love and as long as you have each other and your family, everything else can fall into place. Houses and locations can change but love will stay the same.