Why Military Spouses are Forced to Choose Between Work & Family

When I first became a military spouse, I couldn’t help but notice how many women in this community are stay at home moms. As someone who’s very ambitious and career minded, it gave me tremendous anxiety to think that everything I have worked for in my career could one day come to an end, if we wanted to start a family.  “Why can’t I have both?” I would ask myself.  Repeated conversations with my husband about having children would always end with, “I don’t want to give up my career and stay home with children!”  It seemed we were in a hopeless place of wanting two things that could not exist together.

Then, I became pregnant. In my mind, I still kept fighting this battle of how I could take care of this child, yet still have my career.  I pondered through scenario after scenario about changing my shift, coordinating our schedules, hiring a sitter, etc.  What would happen if my husband had to go to the field, or heaven forbid if he deploys? How will we make it financially on one income?  How will it make me feel to rely on my husband for money if I stop working?  How might it change our relationship?  These are all questions I struggled with, and continue to stress over.

We lost our baby in the eighth week of pregnancy due to a missed miscarriage. After getting through the unbearable grief this loss brought upon us, months later, I began to reevaluate our lives as we prepared to try again for another child. Was our life even conducive for children? What can I do now to set myself up to become a great mom, yet still have some sort of income? Can I cut back and work part time?  What is the minimum income I would need to bring in to continue a comfortable lifestyle?

Service members have to choose mission first.  This is why military spouses have to choose family first.  Now, I began to understand more clearly why military spouses stay at home.  If they didn’t, who would raise their children?  Who would be there for the service member?  Who will take care of the home?  Who will manage the bills, errands, and tasks all families face? It is very clear that I have to choose family first so my family can have the balance it truly needs, but that doesn’t mean I have to stop working entirely.

I have come to the conclusion that it is possible to have a career and have a family in the military world I am now a part of.  My career might not be in the same field or even at the same company, but with a little creativity I can still contribute to my family.  I have watched many military spouses become entrepreneurs, as they were faced with the same questions and fears as I have.  They too wanted to contribute to their families, have a career that would move with them, while having the flexibility needed to balance life. R.Riveter is a perfect example of this. It is a military spouse owned company that employs other military spouses all over the United States.  Finding remote careers or work from home positions is a great fit for military spouses who desire an income, while fulfilling the role of mom.

Below are several resources and companies that offer remote work opportunities:

After nine years of teaching and an hour commute for the last year, I have decided to say goodbye to my career at an institution I loved with all my heart. It was a dream to be a teacher for all of these years, but it was a much larger dream to finally meet and marry my husband.  I plan to do something that uses my skills as well as experience and offers a much better work-life balance.   Having more time with my husband, which is very limited sometimes, is important.  That is time I will never get back, and no amount of money should ever be valued more than family.

I truly admire all of the military spouses out there making it happen through fulfilling your role as a wife, mother, all the while still having a career.  I know it is possible; it just takes a little creativity, flexibility, and thinking outside of the box. These are all skills that being a military spouse instills in all of us.

© Wendi and Strength 4 Spouses, 2017.

How do you juggle your role as a mom and military spouse, while having a career?  Please share your experience in the comments below.


6 thoughts on “Why Military Spouses are Forced to Choose Between Work & Family

  1. rebeccawhitman says:

    Wow, Wendi. I know what a sacrifice this is for you, but I also know how very much you love your Ian. I pray this allows you time to grow closer, but I also pray that doors open for you to work from home and not lose your incredible gifts. You are an incredible teacher and Wake Tech is losing an asset. I will miss seeing you on the circuit😉 but maybe this is just a good excuse to get together outside it now. I wish you all the best. Keep in touch!


  2. soldierswifecrazylifegmail says:

    It’s hard. I am kinda at a point where I could get a job outside the home but since one of my kids has special needs, I am not sure how we would handle things like summer break. I am thankful I can work from home right now. Someday I will probably want something else but for now, this really works.


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