I remember feeling so torn during our first deployment. I didn’t want to do this Military life thing anymore. I didn’t want my kids to be without their dad. I didn’t want there to be so many pages of my scrapbook where dad was missing.
I started wondering if military life was worth the cost. Was it worth it for my kids to miss so much? I started wondering if despite my husband’s desire to serve, that our family needed to come first and that he shouldn’t do this anymore.
That missing a child’s birth wasn’t worth it…
That missing their first day of kindergarten wasn’t worth it…
That leaving our kids with a stressed-out mom simply wasn’t fair…
And now all these years later I am still not sure if military life is fair to my children. It might not be. And that is a huge pill to swallow.
I can think about all the benefits of military life. I can think of all the places we have been, all the people we have met, and everything we have learned over the years.
But that doesn’t change the fact that my husband missed almost all of my son’s first year of life. That he will miss things in the future. That we will never get these years back.
Walking away from military life can seem like the right thing to do. To see that ETS date and end the military journey. To ask your spouse to pick another path.
For some, getting out of the military is the right thing to do…
For others, it isn’t that simple.
For some, serving in the military is something they have to do. That the military is a part of them. That the military is in their blood. Walking away isn’t possible.
And for the military spouse of that service member, things can be so complicated. You can’t help but wonder where you stand. You can’t help but wonder why they are okay with all the loss and heartache this life can bring.
But you also know that serving is a part of who they are, and what they have chosen as a career path. You know deep down they ache having to be away from you too. You know that they miss you like you are missing them.
And when you remember that, when you remember that even though they choose the military, they also chose you, things get a little easier.
And from that, you can get through what comes. You can help your children through military life. You can be there, and be patient, and know that your path is okay.
Your military life may look so different from your own upbringing.
Your military life might be the opposite of what your civilian friends do.
But it’s your military life, for good or for bad.
While you might never be able to answer the question of if military life is fair to your kids, you know your kids will be able to make it through the challenges, with you by their side.
You might never be able to get those years back but the memories you make when you are together are priceless.
You might not ever have a “normal” life because you married a service member, but you are committed to still living a good one, however that looks.
I have a Facebook group, filled with other military spouses who understand.
Check out your local communities to see what is available.
Join your FRG, local MOPS group, or find another way to connect with other military spouses that works for you.
Raising children in the military is, of course, going to be challenging, there is no sense in sugar-coating that. You want the best for your children, and when you realize they are missing out, that doesn’t feel like the best.
You might feel guilty about certain parts of this lifestyle, you might wish you could go back and give them something they missed out on, and you might not ever feel 100% about the choice to be a military family.
But in the end, if the love of your life is committed to the military, you can be too. No matter how rocky the road might be.
You can find recourses to help, you can be your children’s steady in a world that doesn’t seem so, and you can take everything one day at a time.
As a mom, you will always do what you can to help your children through life. This doesn’t change just because you are a military family. Every family has challenges, the military life might just be yours.
What are your best tips for raising kids in the military?