Can Career-Minded Military Spouses Be Patriots?

Article previously published at NextGen Milspouse

I want to say that having a career as a military spouse has absolutely nothing to do with your level of patriotism, but what I see around me daily suggests I may be wrong.

I see people asking my friend, an officer’s spouse, how she will be a good command spouse if she’s working.

I see others responding to a military spouse worried about her lack of job prospects in her newest remote duty station with, “You knew what you were signing up for when you married him.”

I even see military spouses turning on our own and suggesting that military spouses don’t deserve a subscription box with things to comfort them because ALL care packages should go to the service member.

All of these statements foster the thought that if military spouses fight for anything of our own we are at the very least selfish and perhaps even worse: unpatriotic.

Woman holding American flag

To be clear, the unpredictable schedules, last-minute deployments, training and travel and overall fluidity that is required of our military families is not exclusive to the military. I’m certain there are a number of spouses married to first responders, doctors and other careers I know nothing about that could testify to the stressors provided by the career choice of their partner.

Having said that, the military brings at least 1 unique stressor to the mix: constant moving. The moving means we often have to leave jobs we love or choose to live away from our spouse, we rarely live near our extended family and finding reliable childcare is a nightmare we relive over and over. When you’re constantly on the hunt for new friends, how are you supposed to have an emergency contact to write on school forms, let alone someone to take your kids at a moment’s notice because you have an evening event and your spouse got called into work…again?

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