A while back, Ryan had a conversation with someone we thought would understand and respect us, our decisions, and our life. Afterwards, we talked about it and I felt like there were some things I should clear up about myself as a military wife (and about military wives in general):
- I am a strong, independent woman who chose to marry the man I love. Part of what I love about him is the fact that he wants to serve his country. I married him and joined the ranks of military wives because of that sense of duty, not despite his job.
- I love my country as much as my husband does, and consider my role as his wife and mother to his children to be serving our country in a way as well.
- I made the decision to marry my husband, knowing that it meant we would move often, spend holidays alone and months worrying. He didn’t make the decision for me to say “I do.” I did that all by myself.
- Just because I “follow my husband” does NOT mean I don’t have my own goals and aspirations. They may be different than those of a traditional career woman, but they are just as legitimate. There are plenty of military wives who DO have successful careers. Ryan and I chose to have me volunteer the first few years rather than add to our income because we would prefer to have me doing something good for our community. Then, I found doTERRA and now have a way to make an income while caring for our kiddos and our home.
- Going off of that, “waiting at home” does not mean I’m sitting on the couch, crying my eyes out the entire time he’s gone. When he was active duty, I volunteered as a Key Spouse, worked as a Guardian ad Litem, met up with friends, reared our children, took care of our home, and made my own income through my blog and doTERRA. Most importantly, I was keeping our family and home stable and functioning for him to come home to, and giving him a thousand fewer things to worry about while he’s overseas protecting us.
- My husband has not, and will never, make decisions FOR me, including his decision to serve. We make them together, as a team. If/when he signs another contract for another however many years in the Air National Guard or chooses to go back to active duty, it will have been a decision we made as a family because we feel it’s what’s best for our family. He may have made the initial decision to serve (long) before we met, but again, I made the decision to live this life with him, and I continue to make that decision every morning when I wake up and see his picture next to my bed.[convertkit form=5002278]
- Yes, we are making the decision for our children that they won’t see their daddy every night of their childhood. Every parent makes a decision about what’s best for their child. You wouldn’t question a civilian’s parenting choices. What makes it okay to question ours? The truth is, he’s a pilot. Even in the civilian sector, our kids don’t see their daddy every night, so whether it’s for the National Guard or the airlines makes no difference.
- My husband did not make as much as he does in the civilian world. That was okay with us. I would prefer my kids grow up with an incredible role model and seeing that their daddy is a man of honor and duty than be able to give them Corvettes for their 16th birthdays. I would also prefer to know that he has kept our country (and all the families in it) safe than live in a huge (empty) house and go on vacation constantly when we’re retired. We’ve found a middle ground by joining the National Guard and flying for the airlines that we didn’t think was possible, and for that, we’re beyond thankful.
- I will never be able to explain how incredibly proud I am to be married to such an amazing, selfless man, nor will I be able to explain the pride I feel when I’m hanging out with our friends, all of whom are just as amazing. Our kids are growing up with “aunts” and “uncles” all over the world who love them dearly and give them incredible examples of the people we’d like them to be when they grow up.
- I love our life. Period. It is hard as hell sometimes, and there are certainly hurdles to jump, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I by no means think that living this life– active duty, reserve, or National Guard– is for everyone, nor do I fault those who choose not to live it. However, those who choose not to live it need to, at the very least, understand that my choice to live it is just as valid as their choice not to, regardless of whether they can understand my reasons.