I almost didn’t write this post.
Ten+ years of war has has impacted military wives, too – it killed her career dreams.
How to be a military wife
- Marry your military hunk.
- Move around the country several times.
- Become more and more frustrated with finding jobs (or not) and where your career is headed.
- Resign yourself to the fact that your dreams aren’t going to happen right now.
When writing the 17 things to do TODAY to become successful article, I asked a Facebook group of over 1,100 Army officer wives to give me an example of a successful military spouse they know.
I was looking for help. Beyond the military spouses that have careers that help the military, finding spouses that have successful careers can be difficult. When I was working in Clarksville, I didn’t always tell people that I was a military spouse. I didn’t feel like I had much in common with the stereotype. I had trouble connecting with other spouses with my full time work schedule. I couldn’t just leave work for a 14:00 FRG meeting.
SIDE NOTE: I’m always looking to find more military wives that run awesome businesses and professional lives. Know someone? Contact me with her name! I’d love to reach out to say hello!
Back to the Facebook post. My question was, “Who are the most successful military wives you know?” Here are the replies I got:
- “She can hold her own”
- “Her spouse and kids are happy”
- “She handles situations with grace and humor”
I completely agree that these qualities are important, so I replied asking if anyone knows a spouse who does these things AND has a business/professional life. The reply I got was, “a career doesn’t make you successful, it means that you have the ability to balance.”
Disclaimer: This is obviously a small sample. I also know that success is not the same for everyone (as a new mom, my priorities have definitely changed). Some of my best friends are stay-at-home moms and that lifestyle is a different goal – not better or worse than something else.
However, a week earlier, I had posed a different question to the same group, “What is your dream job?”
Their answers included a bike shop, bakery, interior design, fashion consultant, and more. We aren’t lacking dreams and aspirations. What is stopping us from going after them?
There are the obvious answers:
- The emotional stress of the military lifestyle is really hard. Surviving, let alone thriving, can be a challenge.
- Moving all of the time is not the ideal situation for succeeding in a traditional career.
And less obvious ones:
- There is a high value put on the wife who stays home to take care of the homefront in military families.
- There aren’t many examples that showcase uncommonly successful military spouses that make their career work with the military lifestyle. Without role models, it can be hard to figure it out on your own (I’m working to change this!).
- Non-traditional careers work better for our life, but the path to creating success as an entrepreneur, freelancer, or telecommuter is not as clear as getting hired by someone else (I’m working to change this, too!).
With the wars drawing down (I know everyone is not home yet – I’m thinking of you if you are missing your soldier today), I think the upcoming years will be the revival of the military spouse’s career. We can finally breathe a little, and turn our attention back to ourselves and our dreams.
I’m so excited for you to reach your biggest dreams. Together, let’s celebrate our success stories as we write them.
I’d love if you left a comment! What do you think? Have we been putting our dreams on hold? Are you ready to go after yours?