I typically don’t write about my family’s military lifestyle, simply because it’s hard for me to find a difference between our lifestyle and the civilian lifestyle. My perspective on life is shaded by the military, but I don’t know what civilian life is really like, so I don’t know how the life our family leads is too different from other families’ lifestyles.
Recently, I was driving across the military installation, when my son asked, “Mommy, why doesn’t Daddy drive those trucks?” He was pointing to the military humvees parked in their designated lot. While every soldier maintains a level of mission readiness, and is a “soldier-first,” they all have different jobs in the military – some drive trucks, others cook, others work in the legal field, and still others work in medical clinics. Some soldiers work heavily with munitions, and others jump out of planes and helicopters (although not every day). So, I threw out to my son, “Well, Daddy didn’t get that special job for the Army. He has another special job.”
About thirty minutes later, my son asked me, “Mommy, do we have a special job for the Army?” That is when I realized our lifestyle is different from our civilian counterparts.
I affirmed him that we definitely do have a special job. Our job, as military dependents and family members of a soldier include, but are definitely not limited to:
- Staying strong when our soldier is gone. It doesn’t mean we can’t be sad, because that is completely normal. But, it does mean we can keep track of each other, and ourselves, and take care of each other until our soldier comes home. This helps our soldier know that everything is okay, when he can’t be home to make sure things are running smoothly;
- Working hard to be kind to everyone, and to make friends everywhere we go – we never know when we’ll need friends who become like family in the event of a crisis;
- Being supportive of our soldier, recognizing that when he’s gone, it’s not because he wants to be gone, but instead is because he is out keeping our country safe. And, he does it because he loves his family and his country;
- Praying for our soldier, the other soldiers, and the leaders of this country – all too often, people have a tendency to forget service members are literally committed to laying down their lives for complete strangers. The decision to engage our service members are never decisions which should be made lightly, because there is always a risk that service members will not come home alive. So, our special job is to pray – for the people making the heavy decisions, and for the safety of our soldier.
As my son and I discussed our jobs, I realized these jobs are probably not ones civilian families consider.
Our family certainly doesn’t expect sympathy for our lifestyle. But, it does shape how we operate – the emphasis we place on family, on strengthening and supporting each other, and ultimately, our faith.
Tell me – what jobs did I miss for military families? What special jobs would you say civilian families have?
13 thoughts on “Military Family “Special Jobs””
Your special job is to be there for each other, to understand your fears and hopes, and to give support to each other no matter where you are. Family has a special meaning for the military. You may move and change often, finding everything new again and different, but in the end family is the same, They are always there. You count on them for so much more than a civilian family. Because you are all you really have than you can count on to be there.
Yes! Thank you for that reminder. 😊
I appreciate that you’ve shared this. It’s easy for civilian families (like mine!) to forget the special jobs that military families are doing so that we can live freely. Thank for the reminder that our job is to be grateful and keep families like yours in prayer. <3
Aww! Thank you! Prayers are always definitely appreciated. It’s just always so hard for me to discuss how my family is different than anyone else’s – especially when we are surrounded with others just like ours! I’m trying to be more intentional about keeping the military aspect of our livelihood as a blog focus, I just have difficulty figuring out how it’s different because it’s my normal.
i would add two to your job list:
* the spouse that remains behind at the duty station while the service member is away on various missions is responsible for managing expectations and communications on the home front, both in the house and for extended family. you are the sole source of their information and you have to judge carefully what you can say and what you can’t say because of OPSEC. this is tricky and way more time consuming than most people realize. trying to answer the question, “when is daddy/mommy coming home again?” is one of the hardest questions in the world to answer, especially when you know the target arrival date has been missed. twice.
* picking up all the pieces that need picking up. often, family members are stationed far from home and some extended families are not able or willing to come down to help out the deployed service member’s loved ones. so, in order to remain a part of the community, the spouse will stay where they are stationed and commit to *all* of the business running a household while the service member is away. most civilians don’t realize the burden created by a deployment, and while most of us knew the basics of what military life would entail, it can become overwhelming when one is trying to do it alone. that, coupled with the worries that our deployed spouses are in harms way, makes it one of the toughest, loneliest jobs in the world.
i am glad you did this post, anni.
Those are both good “extra” jobs – ones I obviously wouldn’t share with the four year old, but some things extra we carry on our hearts. Thank you for those two extra!
At this time I have three nephews in the military. I try remember to tell them and their families “Thank you” often. My dad was never in the military due to a physical issue. He did make sure we were raised with great respect and appreciation for everything our soldiers and their families do for us.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Thank you for the kind words! Like your dad, my husband’s dad was unable to serve, but is one of the military’s largest supporters! It is quite the adventure and experience, and I am grateful for our family’s experiences!
I think my dad always regrets he could not serve.
I was medically unable to serve. Something my family reminded me of, before I met my husband even, was that we all can serve in some way – some people wear the uniform; others support those wearing the uniform. But, I know the feelings your dad must have struggled with (when he was younger, I’m sure) quite intimately!
I have a feeling that is why he is so proud of my nephew in the 82nd Airborne.
Not sure about all this “soldier stuff”…just kidding!!!!! ❤ My favorite is being open and welcoming to new people, because someone is always new! Oh and don’t forget making “home” a home no matter for how long or how short!
Oh! Yes!! For us, “Home is where the Army sends us,” and it’s so true – no matter how long or short a period you are there!
And, one thing I love is how there is a (usually) friendly sibling rivalry between branches – something others don’t entirely understand… 😉