How to be a MilSO and Maintain Your Identity


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.



  1. […] Career goals. How committed are each of you to your careers? Are you prepared to sacrifice putting your career on hold in order to support your partner’s military career? Do you have more schooling to accomplish? There are many resources for military spouses to return to school including transfer of the post-9/11 GI Bill (if your spouse agrees), financial scholarships and grants such as My Career Advancement Account Scholarship (MyCAA), Salute to Spouses, Career Step and various other educational assistance programs for military spouses. If you are climbing the ladder in your current career, how does that affect the dynamic of your relationship? Basically, are your career goals compatible with your life goals? I am a clinical social worker, and love my occupation, but have decided to become a stay at home mother while our children are young. We came to the decision that this is what is best for our growing family. You can see the details of this decision in my previous post about maintaining your identity. […]


  2. I have found it extremely beneficial to spend some time volunteering in order to allow me to feel useful. That said, my rule is I don’t volunteer unless my kiddos come with me – since I don’t bring in any income anymore, i don’t want to pay for childcare. My volunteering allows me to maintain part of my own identity, even if it looks paltry compared to my husband’s accomplishments on our annual Christmas letter. 😃

    That said, it is a HUGE adjustment, from the employed career trajectory to the SAHM career. Remember self-care… A lot of SAH moms forget their adventure in the home also requires some TLC occasionally, even if it is a morning cup of coffee before the children wake up!


    • Great advice! I planned on volunteering as I find that has helped me feel productive and helping others always lifts my spirits and makes me feel like I’m contributing. I agree with self care as well! As a social worker I am familiar with how vital this is for my emotional well-being, and thus the overall the balance of the household. Thanks for commenting, by the way. I’m new to the blogging world and I appreciate the welcoming response!

      Liked by 1 person

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