My four-year-old tries on his daddy’s Army hat and backpack and proudly declares, “I’m a soldier, Mama!” I smile at him, yet the protective mother in me winces. I wonder if I’m seeing a glimpse of the future.
Photo Courtesy: Jacqueline Toops
Photo Courtesy: Jackie Toops

My husband was an Army brat, and like his father, decided to answer the call of duty. My two sons idolize their father and want to be just like him. For now, the military is their life, their security, and their reality – and my boys are not alone.

On base, I see little guys with high and tight haircuts, dressed in camo and playing with plastic guns on the playgrounds. They are used to frequent moves, TDYs, deployments, and strong mothers — it’s their world and it’s their norm.

Upon meeting other Army wives, I’ve learned that their many of their husbands were also Army brats and followed their fathers’ lead.

Is there a pattern here?

I’ll admit, as a mother, the thought slightly terrifies me. Yes, I know, I shouldn’t jump to the worst-case scenario, but these are my babies we’re talking about. Even when my husband initially mentioned joining the Army in our first years of marriage, I fought it tooth and nail. After many honest discussions, we agreed that he would enlist, I would finally become a stay at home mom, and that we’d support each other in our new venture.

When looking at this logically, we’ve had a positive experience. We love our opportunities and benefits such as travel, rent-free housing, reliable healthcare and our tight-knit community. I am proud of my soldier and love being an Army wife.

When looking at this emotionally, that’s another story. How can we happily live this military life and then tell our sons to find a “safer” career? The short answer is that we can’t. We won’t. It is their choice to make.

Although the cautious mother in me anticipates the hypothetical day my son joins the military, the strong woman within me will support and love him, no matter what. If he chooses to follow in my husband’s footsteps and sign up for this selfless, honorable and respectable profession, I will proudly be behind him every step of the way.


Jackie Toops Head ShotA 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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Krystel is the mom of two and an Army Wife. In addition to Army Wife 101 she is the Co-Founder of a digital media agency that connects brands with the military market. She has appeared on MSNBC ,FOX LA and formerly was a weekly contributor to HLN's "Raising America". She has written for various outlets including Sheknows and Lifetime and is a big fan of cupcakes and french fries.

2 Comments on Will My Son Grow Up To Be A Soldier?

  1. I get this “fear” too. It’s just the thought of him choosing a frontline job. Makes me feel all mummabear protective. Like you say, it’s their choice…but still makes my heart lurch. Good post

  2. I can honestly say I never encouraged him to join the Army but I am extremely proud of him – and those little soldiers.

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