Not all women marry into the military — some enlist in it. Across the country, brave women answer the call of duty and make the choice to serve our country. It is safe to say that some aspects of their commitment were expected, such as physical challenges and a demanding lifestyle. What they may not have expected was that they would find a husband.
The Milspouses Who Served series takes a look at women who have made the selfless decision to serve. We honor their bravery, sacrifices and choices to support our nation both in uniform and on the homefront. For privacy, names have been changed.
I Was a Soldier
“I liked the idea of being military. I liked the idea of uniforms and shooting, not necessarily shooting people, because I never wanted to do that,” shares current reservist and former Army soldier, who has asked to simply be known as Mota.
She enlisted as a 92G Culinary Specialist and dedicated three years to active duty. Mota married her high school sweetheart, and when she became pregnant, she separated from active duty and became a reservist. At first, Mota faced some initial transitions. Her biggest hurdle? “Having to do PT on my own,” she explains. She was used to the structure and togetherness of her previous unit, and felt that the reserve experience was a bit more isolating.
Mota’s husband serves in the Air Force, and throughout their 10-year marriage, they were never active duty at the same time. She feels that as a couple, who now has three children, this helps their family dynamic. “It’s a balance because he works during the week and I work one weekend a month and two weeks a year, so it’s even. In my opinion, reserve and active is easier than active and active.”
Life as a Milspouse
Today Mota has several titles — she is an Air Force wife, a mother of three, but most importantly, she is a former soldier with over 10 years of service under her belt.
When reflecting on her transition to reservist, Mota shared some honest thoughts. “I miss being a part of something every day instead of once a month and getting called a ‘weekend warrior.’” She is still used to being known by her last name, and is initially taken aback when people address her by her first. Mota further explained that her prior military experience left her with high uniform presentation standards. She laughs, “I shine my husband’s boots because to me, he can’t do it right. I even iron his uniforms because I do it better.”
Mota’s husband was recently promoted to E5. Her feelings were mixed and she shared, “I’m so happy for him but at the same time sad, knowing I’ll never get there.”
When it comes to life as an Air Force wife, she candidly explains, “Being a military spouse, I don’t know how to fit in.” She discussed the perceived stereotypes about milspouses and what she’s learned on the contrary. “A lot of people think we’re stuck up, drinking wine all day, but no — we’re all normal everyday housewives. We go to school, we work, we take care of our family.”
Mota continues to enjoy the culinary arts and, in particular, baking cake pops. Her favorite creative outlet is photography and her ultimate dream is to become a photojournalist. She explains, “I like sharing the moment. I like the idea of capturing something that will last a lifetime and sharing it with other people.” You can view Mota’s work on Instagram at Atomic Pixels.
With a passion for creativity, this former soldier and current reservist now supports her family and nation from the homefront. I thank her for her assistance with this article, and for her service to our country.
A self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” Army wife Jackie Toops is a mother of two and enjoys writing, travel, art, languages, slow cooking and peaceful parenting. She studied Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. She is a contributing author for Wall Street International Magazine and has discussed her articles on-air with AFN Wiesbaden. She’s usually seen adventuring with her Canon, a coffee and two small children. Follow her on Twitter.
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