Why Mil to Mil Life Wasn’t for Us Anymore

One of the most common questions people ask me when they find out I served in the military is why did you leave? Why didn’t you stay until retirement?

My husband and I both served in the military. We were a mil to mil couple. And people often ask me why I left the military behind to be a stay at home mom. But the truth is military life requires a lot of sacrifices. #miltomil #militarylife #femaleveteran

And while the retirement package is desirable. There is a lot of hard work and sacrifice required to get to that point. Military members who are married to people who are serving in the military, often referred to as mil to mil, make countless sacrifices.  

In the six years of mil to mil service, my husband and I spend a lot of time apart. Both of us attended various training events and work travel. Along with the fact my husband sometimes had to work nights for various missions. And then there were the base exercises causing my schedule to go a little sideways. That doesn’t even touch on the deployment. A deployment that ended with me coming home to a pile of stuff left behind at a friend’s house. My husband had already moved due to a Permanent Change of Station (PCS). Eventually, we were reunited. But with a year combined of training and being deployed apart. Those last two and a half months of separation while we were both stateside was added salt to a wound.

Did I mention we never PCSed to the next assignment at the same time?

And these things, although not desirable were pretty easy to navigate as a military couple without children. It was easy for us each to chase our career dreams and go where the military needed us to go. But we were beginning to feel the pinch of our career field differences and knew with each assignment the likelihood that we would actually be stationed together would continue to decrease.

There are a lot of advantages to both being in the military. When you do get to move to the next assignment (hopefully together) you have a job right away. You are even paid for your current job as you move from one location to the other. The military pay for both of us combined was a great plus. It also helped us prepare for the next life phase. Life with kids. And we both got a chance to see the world. But…

How long would the sacrifices required by the military be worth it?

When I found out I was pregnant it was a hard and easy choice to leave the military behind. When you put the pros and cons on paper it was a simple choice. And at the time was the best choice for our family. It is easy to look back at the choice and think it might have been the wrong one to make. But it doesn’t take a lot of reflection to realize that my ideal form of military life wouldn’t have been a reality.

The one deployment to Afghanistan was a quick reminder of how hard it was to be away from my husband, family, and friends. Add kids to the mix and it would have been a lot harder, not only on me but my husband as well.

Mil to mil life was actually a lot harder to walk away from than I ever expected.

The good parts of the military are truly hard to say goodbye to. And I guess that is why in some families it makes the most sense for both parents to continue to serve in the military. There is no one quick answer to help you decide what is best for you and for your life situation.

Have you served as a mil to mil couple? What was your experience like? What was the biggest challenge you faced while serving? Or What was the thing that made you decide it was time to walk away?  

Are you leaving the military? Are you unsure what comes next? Struggling with what do next? I can help. I served in Air Force for six years before becoming a military spouse, mom and blogger. The transition from military to mom was a hard one for me and the one thing that helped me was finding purpose again. I want to help you navigate the transition of life after the military and help you thrive. I created a workbook with the tools I have learned the past four years. Leading me from lost, lonely mom to momprenuer. #militarylife

Want to hear more about mil to mil life check out my podcast interview with Dear MilFamily Podcast: Here!

3 comments on “Why Mil to Mil Life Wasn’t for Us Anymore

  1. As you and I have discussed before, you are so spot on! As I currently try to figure out where our family is headed, I am struggling to put the pros and cons on paper. Do you remember some of yours?

    • I think the biggest one for me was my deployment experience and the fact that my husband’s career field made it difficult for us to continue to be stationed together. I wrote a short series on why I left the military about a year ago (http://www.airmantomom.com/2017/01/leaving-for-war/) it is mainly focused on my deployment experience. This is a great question, I’ll start working on a free resource guide to help you make a pro and con list. Once I’m done I’ll send you a copy.

  2. So happy to find this blog. My husband and I are PCSing for the for the first time as mil to mil and as new parents! I’ll be getting out after that tour, so he can stay in and advance in his career (air and surface differences). Can’t wait to read your other posts!

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