The Ups and Downs of Living a Military Life

Military Life Theresa Bobier, 31, is a stay-at-home-mother currently living in Manassas, Va., with her parents while her husband, Scott, is deployed in Afghanistan as a captain with an Army aviation brigade.

"Like any other job, being in the military has its ups and downs," admits Theresa, adding that it does offer something that is highly valued in these tough economic times: stability. Instead of feeling sorry for Theresa because her husband is overseas for a year or more at a time, take her advice and learn from it.

"It hasn't always been easy to be a military family, but it is what you make of it. The military tries to make it easier on families too. It is a nice life, because there is a lot of security."


How it all began

Theresa and Scott met in college. He attended George Mason University and was part of the ROTC; she attended Longwood University in Southern Virginia. When Scott graduated from college in 2002, he became a commissioned officer and a husband. Since they were married, Theresa got to travel with Scott overseas in 2003 for his first post-college assignment in Germany. "It [the military] has been a great experience for us. We got to spend five years in Germany seeing more of the world," Theresa says.


The benefits of living overseas

Living abroad taught Theresa to be more resourceful and independent. While Scott traveled extensively for work, Theresa learned to put herself out there and make friends. "You really have to break out of your shell," she notes.

The only stumbling block that Theresa encountered was finding work in Germany as a full-time teacher. Instead, she was forced to sub when she could, eventually finding no work at all and finally putting her teaching career aside to grow her own family and help support Scott and his career. "It [military life] has put my career on hold for now, but I am not resentful."


The value of life on a base

While Theresa's first impression of life as a military wife was one of assumptions and apprehension, she says that her views have changed. "I knew nothing about the military when I got married, and I thought that bases were weird and too enclosed. I didn't understand the lingo either, like what the PX [like Walmart] or commissary [grocery store] were."

Over time, Theresa has learned to value Army bases and what military life has to offer. She found that in addition to providing easy access to stores, Army bases offer a support system and social network for military personnel, their spouses and families. "It is just easier to stick with friends in the military because you know you are all in the same boat," says Theresa. Other wives with husbands who are deployed can relate to how lonely and isolating it can be, and can offer friendship and advice for dealing with those emotions.


The bad with the good

"Deployments are my least favorite part about being a military family; that goes without saying. Moves can get bad if you let them, but at the same time they also provide new experiences."

Theresa admits that it's hard to have a child with problems (their son has eye problems) when one parent is so far away and cannot be called at any time, but she also believes that military life has taught her and Scott to communicate more effectively as a couple and to really savor their time together when Scott is stateside for assignments and home for rest and relaxation between deployments.

"It really has been everything I expected, but in a good way."

Next: Military Family Awareness Week


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soulsista

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April 15 2011 at 9:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
muchui

I wish that returned Peace Corp voluntees got same respect as returning military. They risk their lives working for peace without carrying a gun. Most military and their contractors don't mingle with foreigners except when they're carrying guns, at least in third world countries.

April 15 2011 at 6:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wendy

My only comment on our military and families, is they are not paid enough for what they do. Our government should be ashamed. God Bless them all.
While on the subject of payment our police and fire also aren't paid enough.

April 13 2011 at 12:54 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
spookiers

My father was in the military for 39 years, back when the Army was the Army Air Corp, when they split into the Army and Air Force, he went into the Army Medical Corp, went through 3 wars, traveled all over the world many times alone and with us, where ever the Army sent him that wasn't a war zone and families could go, we went, spent many years over in Japan, Germany and other countries. I never would have been able to see the world if it hadn't been for my dad and the military.Sure it's hard to be the new kid on the block at times, we moved alot as my father was an officer and was in charge of many Army hospitals or units, but than again, the plus is that we got to meet new people and stay in touch with the others as well. The military life isn't for everyone, it takes someone with alot of pride, willing to work hard and be able to handle alot of challenges, just as it does for a wife and family of a military person. Would I have wanted my father to have done something else, can't see it, not him. He was pretty smart as he stayed in not only because he enjoyed it, but also for the fact that when he retired from the service he recieved a pension/retirement pay, along with Tricare Medical for life, along with my mother, so with that and social security, well, it made life pretty good for him and my mom. My dear father past away last year at the age of 88, again he was pretty smart, as my mother recieves his pension/retirement, along with Tricare of course, he made sure that she would be taken care ( though I am here to be with her now). If you are serious about the Miltiary it has alot of benefits to it, like my father knew, if not, please don't waste the government or military's time. It's a good career for someone, trust me, and it also makes your children and family very proud of you. I can't thank my dad enough for all he has taught me, ( which he learned in the Army) strength, pride, honesty, and for all the places and experiences I had, I am now and have always been ( and will be forever) proud of my father.

April 12 2011 at 10:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Bob Balon

I served 27 years in the US Army and I found that it was a career that I enjoyed. It was difficult to go on a tour

of duty where I could not bring my family but sometimes there are missions that have to be accomplished and

there was no way to bring my dependents because of the danger of the mission and the country I was in.

I always enjoyed my assignments that allowed my family to accompany me.

April 12 2011 at 8:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jbswif

I spent 30 years as a nay wife and would not trade those years for anything! My husband spent a lot of time on deployments, at one point we had seventeen moves in fifteen years and numerous "short fuse" orders. Each move meant new forever friends and wonderful new experiences for our children. We learned the only certainty was uncertainty and every schedule was subject to change. The life was our choice, and we have no regrets. Many thanks to the men and women who choose to serve today and to their families for supporting that choice!

April 12 2011 at 8:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jesus is Lord

My husband is retired enlisted. We made the most of military life. Whenever we travelled and whereever we lived we made slide shows of the various places and way of life. Our children shared these slide programs with other students in school when studying related subjects. As the wife, I kept home pleasant so that hubby could concentrate on his military job. Our children were honor students. Our sons were presented at the Beautillion Ball and our daughter was a Debutantee. We adapted and accepted the military lifestyle. For inspection times - I sewed on many patches for military guys in the unit. His unit always passed inspections. Military wives - keep an open mind, find a church home for the family, get to know some of the older military wives in your area, determine to make the most of every move and look for the good in every move. In your retirement years you'll always look back over the happy memories. Oyes, make a scrapbook from every place, using local news articles.

April 12 2011 at 8:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
murigenii

Jean Marie, suck it up. I was single enlisted in the Air Force and managed just fine. My son was single enlisted in the Navy (got out a couple of years ago) and he did better than I did, had pretty nice little savings account when he got out. I also got married while in and had our first kid while in.


Your shipmates that have so many kids and are having a hard time supporting them need to stop having kids. We knew we couldn't afford to have more kids right away so we didn't. There are several ways to prevent it. They have access to medical so there's no excuse. I got out soon after having our first and had to struggle to pay for it myself.

As for the military divorce rate. Yeah, it's high. Higher still when there's a war (or two or three?). But some of us make it, realize that marriage is work. Yes, I'm still married to the man I married when I was active duty, he was active duty too. This year it will be 33 years.

April 12 2011 at 7:33 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
circler52

28 years in the military with 18 moves (complete pack up and move) usually to a completely different state or country. Am I complainning? Not at all. Most people either adjust and accept this or they stay out or leave the service early. To complain about something is human nature, so you hear many complaints usually from just a few. They usually leave the service or in my case my first wife couldn't take it an walked out on me and our son. She knew when we got into it, but decided it was not for her. So be it. My second wife and I have been married almost forty years and she loved almost every minute. Two tours in Nam didn't help her disposition a lot, but she persevered. Together we saw many parts of the US and several foreign countries during out time in service and have fond memories of great friends all over the world. Our three sons enjoyed the moves and made friends easlily whereever they were. The oldest (with the wife that left me) made a career of the military. The younger chose not to. It is simply to each his own. Those who don't appreciate the military or feel the county could do without it, simply don't have a clue or understanding of history. It's that simple. Agree or disagree--you are free to do that. Think about it.

April 12 2011 at 7:32 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
patricia

Military life is a way of life!! When military members are deployed - there is a support system, be it through the military base or other dependants in same situation. I had a blast when we went overseas . Miliatry housing was ok - its like living anywhere else, only safer!! My kids were military "brats" yet if they had not had the experiences from all the travels - they are better equiped than most kids!!

April 12 2011 at 7:29 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
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