Happy to have this guest post by April on her experiences while her spouse was a military recruiter. Please email me at Julie@soldierswifecrazylife.com and let me know if you would like to write a guest post for Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life too.
Recruiting duty, like a lot of other things in the military, has some awesome perks but also some tough drawbacks.
Before my husband volunteered, all I knew was he was non-deployable, and that was pretty dang important after coming off of a year being separated because of his PCS to Korea for which I was not approved to go with.
I didn’t know anyone who had been a recruiter who I could talk to in order to gain somewhat of a perspective of what to expect. So, we were basically going in blind. My husband was stationed in Central Oregon, nowhere near a military installation.
Here are four things I wish I knew going into recruiting duty, and I hope they will help prepare you better than I was.
1) Recruiting duty is stressful, and the hours are long.
There were many 14-16 hour days, 6-day workweeks, and overnights to trainings and MEPS. I was thankful we were together as a family, but I was not prepared for how much the job would take a toll on my spouse. It was all about numbers and making so many phone call attempts, which left my husband little control over his schedule, and that left me never knowing when he would be home or when he might have to leave overnight.
There is definitely some of that in the regular Army, but the unpredictability of the daily schedule taught me to just let go, or at least attempt to let go, of all expectations of a standard mealtime or time when my husband would walk through the front door. He also had a government phone, and so he was constantly getting phone calls and texts from coworkers and applicants.
2) The service member is non-deployable!
The biggest perk for me, coming off of a year apart with a small child, was that my husband was never gone for more than a few months at a time. We had another baby while he was on recruiting because we could guarantee he would be home for the birth. It was glorious to not have to worry about a deployment for three years.
3) You may be stationed nowhere near a military installation.
The closest one to us was a four-hour drive, and so we didn’t get any of the amenities we were used to when we had a post nearby. Groceries were more expensive, and childcare was difficult to find. Because of not being near a military installation, there was a sense of isolation.
We didn’t have a ton of military families who knew what we were going through close by that we could lean into for support and friendship, and there wasn’t a post that had activities we could go to in order to stay busy or meet other people. We had to work really hard, and in ways we hadn’t had to before, in order to build a community around us.
4) Yes, you may not be near a military installation, but help is out there!
You should still have a SFRG, you probably will rarely see them in person. There should be a representative for families at some level, you might just have to ask around to find that person. And there are spouses that are already there and have been there a while, ask them! They will know which grocery store has the cheapest groceries and possibly a good daycare for your child. You just have to be brave and ask around.
Recruiting duty is unique in a lot of ways, good and hard. Being on the tail end of it, I can see all the great things it allowed our family to do, and in the ways, it pushed us out of our comfort zones.
April is a mom to two girls, wife to a soldier turned Air National Guard member and lives in Central Oregon. Her husband transitioned from active duty to the guard last year, and they are very much still in the trenches of transition. She loves to read, write, and be outdoors in their beautiful state. Military life is hard, and she has a passion for making it easier for others, however she can. You can find her at Mercy and Healing.