Skip to main content

Being a Milspouse, Raising a Milfam

I am a wife and a mother.  More specifically, I am a military spouse (a.k.a. milspouse), and  I am raising a military family (a.k.a. milfam).

As a wife, I want the best for my husband.  As a mother, I want what's best for my children.  I want to be recognized by my husband as being his partner and his friend, as well as a confidante.  I want to be supportive of his goals while he is supportive of mine.  And, I want him to succeed and grow in his potential as a husband, father, and within his career, but also succeed and grow together.  I want my children to understand how to treat others with respect and dignity.  I want them to achieve their goals and grow into the amazing adults I know they will be.

As a milspouse and head of a milfam, I also want the best for my husband and children, but also recognize that we're a part of serving something greater than ourselves.  What's best for us may not be what's best for the good of the military and this great country.  I have to be okay with that, and I have to teach my children to be okay with it, too. 

As a milspouse, I want to be recognized as my husband's partner and confidante, but also recognize that he can't tell me everything.  There will be days, weeks, months and years where I won't know all that he's doing.  I may not even know where he is.  But, I must understand that this comes at the price of protecting me, our family, our friends, our neighbors, and our country.  I must understand that, even when I do know certain details, they're not always to be shared.  I may be proud of the role my husband serves, but there are others who are not.  While they may not always be the known groups out to harm our nation, they are still there.  They may not even realize they're compromising the security of our servicemembers, but I must realize it's possible.  I must teach my children about operation security (OPSEC) and it's importance.  While they may want to talk to their friends and teachers about Daddy's job or to where he's gone, it's not always possible.

As a milspouse, I recognize that my husband can't always support my goals because they aren't included in the mission.  The mission may make it necessary for him to be gone for lengths at a time - causing strain on my goals.  The mission makes it necessary for relocations at times that are inconvenient for me whether in my school goals, career goals, or even family goals.  I must be willing to adapt and accept the inevitable: even though I'm not in the military, I am a part of it.  I support the mission even though I'm not a servicemember, and I often do it without the benefit of even knowing what it is.  My support of our family allows my husband to focus on the mission more thoroughly and effectively so that the job can get done. 

As a milspouse, I want my husband and I to grow together, but recognize we are often doing this while being physically separated.  While the world speaks of bringing all our servicemembers home, I recognize this will never happen.  Deployments and separations don't just happen during war.  They happen for training, during peace time, during natural disasters and more.  They keep our military ready and sufficient to defend our country and our country's interests.  I must teach my children that the lack of war doesn't mean Daddy stops his job and stays home with us - nor does it mean that nothing can happen to Daddy.  I must maintain family readiness at all times.

As head of a milfam, I must prepare myself and my children for loss - whether within our own personal family, our military family, or beyond.  I must allow them the opportunity to understand the threats and dangers faced in this world so that they can recognize why their dad is doing what he does.  I must be an educator of the true costs of freedom because, while it may seem cliche, my children must learn that freedom is not free - it has never been nor ever will be.

There isn't a major difference between being a wife and mother to being a milspouse raising a milfam.  Nothing makes one better than the other.  However, there's a distinct emphasis necessary to understand that a milspouse raising a milfam cannot always function the same as a wife and mother.  Their needs are different.  Their abilities are different.  Just as no two wives and mothers are the same, neither are two milspouses raising milfams. 

But, the next time you run into a milspouse raising a milfam, recognize that they require more focus, order, and determination in order to succeed.  Don't just count them out because they're only going to be in that location for a blip or because their resume is three pages long.  While they may describe themselves simply as a wife, mother or career person, they also maintain a separate skill set that sets them apart from others.  Delve more deeply into them.  You may be surprised at what you find.


Popular posts from this blog

Leadership Mom: SWOT Analysis

In business, leaders often analyze our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats through a SWOT analysis.  So, if we are going to look at our role as moms as being the greatest leadership opportunity to us, let's start with analyzing ourselves and our kids.  Here's the SWOT I developed for my family: Family SWOT Analysis As a doting mother, there are hundreds of strengths that I could put up here for my kids.  Their hugs, kisses, bedtime stories and prayers, the fact that they come to me when they're seeking healing from an injury (physical or emotional), the notes and drawings they make for me, their precious hearts when they try to help me or that they've learned how to use the Keurig to bring me coffee in the morning...I could go on and on. Now, here's the part where we get honest with ourselves.  Yes, we love our kids and we love our family (or, hopefully, most of the time), but we are not perfect.  Nor should we be perfect.  As we analyze oursel

Breastfeeding: Top 10

I've had several requests for another post about breastfeeding.  So, here it is! Before having a baby, I thought that breastfeeding was going to be easy.  After all, it's an innate practice of all mammals.  How hard can it really be?  Now, after seven months of breastfeeding, I can tell you that it is not easy.  BUT, the good news is, it gets easier!   As I've mentioned in previous blogs, I had a horrible time beginning with breastfeeding.  It was extremely painful and I dreaded nursing times.  I felt like a horrible mom.  I didn't want to feed my child because I knew the pain that I was going to have to endure.  There are moments - through pure exhaustion - when I couldn't control myself and screamed.  Thankfully, I had a husband who was supportive and continued to encourage me and provide all of the support that he could in the form of talking to me, rubbing my back and shoulders, and assuring me that things would get better. We all know that breastmilk is the abs

Establishing Night Time Sleep

Since I assume that most of you reading this are either mothers or women who want to eventually be mothers, then we each know that our child (or child-to-be) is the brightest and most well-developed child out there (who wouldn't agree?!).  Our prodigy child wants to see and do everything - especially at night.  And, as mothers, we all know who gets to wake up during the middle of the night to teach Baby that, when the moon is out, we!  A mother's physical need for sleep seems to diminish during the first months after Baby arrives.  But, our mental need for sleep is still ever present reminding us - day after day - that we are exhausted. Well, establishing night time sleep isn't impossible, and this blog will tell you how I did it and had my baby sleeping through the night by nine weeks old (which, for her age, was six hours of blessed, uninterrupted sleep). I read many books prior to Baby's arrival about establishing a good sleep habit.  On Becoming Baby Wis