The MilSO community is an amazing resource for wives and girlfriends to support one another while navigating the military lifestyle. I love this community and cherish the unique bonds we share. With all the positivity, I’ve noticed a disconcerting trend of MilSOs struggling to maintain their own identity.
I’ll begin by sharing my own story of how I coped with such sentiment. I found that when I stopped working, I struggled with my self-worth and what my purpose was. I took pride in being independent and earning my own money. Social work was, and will always be, my passion. No longer doing what I loved, and what I worked so hard through 6 years of education to obtain, left me feeling lost. I thought to myself, “Well if I’m not working, what am I contributing to the world?” I felt that by not working outside the home, I wasn’t being a productive member of society. I now know how wrong I was. Being a mom is an amazing and most difficult role to fill. The expectation of being responsible for yourself, little humans, your household and marriage is formidable. This only added to my anxiety and uncertainty about this new stay-at-home military wife journey I was going to undertake. Will I be a good mom? Will I be able to take on all of these obligations? I’m a first-time mother and I’ve always worked, so this is all foreign and scary territory for me. My husband has been amazing through this transition and helped me realize that I am more than capable. He’s helped me comprehend that I never truly lost my identity at all, that I’m simply adding a new role to my repertoire.
Circling back, I’ve noticed other MilSOs seemingly losing their sense of self as I had, particularly via their social media posts. I see excessive posts about their service members’ achievements or goings on, but rarely anything relating to their own. What is going on in YOUR life? What did you do this weekend? Did you try out the new restaurant that opened? Are your coworkers driving you nuts? Do you think you’ll ace your finals? These are all things that are relevant in your life, and are equally as important.
While technically, we are MilSOs, we have separate identities, just as our service members have identities outside of their profession. I feel if I called my husband simply a soldier, I’d be discounting him as a person. Yes, he is a soldier, but he is also a husband, father, brother, uncle, engineer, book and cat lover, sushi addict and so much more. We too have various traits that make us unique as well.
This is the idea I want to get across in this post. Service members have distinctive occupations, but that doesn’t mean it should overshadow our accomplishments and who we are. Yes, we are military wives and girlfriends, but we were also our own person before we met them, and we need to remember who those people were. Let’s not get lost in the labels that society and even our own community give us, but rather pave our own path and distinguish our own worthy and significant identities. We are important too. Never forget that.