Sunday, March 14, 2010

Curious.

I saw something really interesting on website this weekend. A woman had posted a picture of her baby girl reading (looking at) an issue of Military Spouse Magazine.

And, no this isn't going to be a rant...I promise.

Anyways, her post was super innocent. It was just a cute picture. But her comment on it was something like "Aww she wants to be just like her Mommy."

That just got me thinking. I really will support Lucy (in the way distant future) when she finds "the one" no matter what his job may be. If he's the one God has for her then great. However, I don't know that I'm really thinking "aww" or "how cute" over the idea of her wanting to be like mommy and marry a soldier.


Don't get me wrong. Its one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had, but its also one that's brought its share of hardships. If I could chose a "more comfortable" life for my child's future you can believe I would.


When I was pregnant and before we knew we were having a girl, G.I. Joe and I had this talk. He really wanted a girl because deep down he didn't ever want to have a boy who would be tempted to try and "live up to him" in that way. We would definitely be proud military parents, but we would just prefer it if our child doesn't have some of the same experiences we have had. Like war, for example.


For all you gals out there who love someone in uniform, how would you feel if you had a daughter one day who picked the same path? Or what if your son decided to follow in his dad's foot steps?



36 comments:

Erin said...

That is such a hard one. On the one hand I am so proud of my husband and all he does for us and our country. On the other I don't want my girls to marry a soldier. My son would have definitely joined had he not had a stroke. He got a pair of ACU's for his second birthday and wore them every day the summer before the stroke. He would salute every one when they left our house. Soldier and gun were some of his favorite words. Blackhawk down is still his favorite movie.
I'll support my kids if they want to serve or even to marry a soldier but it will be with mixed emotions. I'll be proud but hesitant knowing what I know. Sorry for rambling.

Megan (MeganWrites1) said...

Well, I'm not married and won't be having children for a while, but I think I can respond honestly :) If I were to have a daughter, I wouldn't encourage her either way about being with someone in the military. To me, the man should matter more than the profession or career.

You said it perfectly about hardships. It's not an easy lifestyle. And while you know if your daughter so chose a similar path to yours you could be there for her, it does come with its difficulties.

If I had a son and he chose to do what my husband did, be that to join the military or some other job, I would support him no matter what. I would be proud of him and would hope along the way he would learn a lot and decide on his own whether or not he wanted to be like his father through his experiences.

I don't think it would be such a bad thing for boys to be like dad or girls to be like mom, but the caveat is the lives they choose (if they choose lives similar to the ones we lead) may or may not be influenced by our actions and choices. I would encourage independence in my children and just hope to teach them to make good choices. That's the best a parent can do!

Jen said...

I'm new to the whole military thing..and its been hard for me already! I agree with you..I would full support my daughter if I had one and now that I am pregnant with a son, I would support his choices...but I would do anything for my son to not have to experience war...

Expat Girl said...

I really think this can be a touchy subject and by all means I dont intend on offending anyone. I love my husband our I would go through anything for him but it doesn't mean its easy and I kind of pray my little girl will have an easier life. However, I will do the same as you and smile proudly when she is lucky enough to find the one. When it comes to have a son, if I have one I have nooo doubt he will want to follow his daddy and I guess I will cross that bridge when it comes to it!

Tara said...

I don't think most mothers would truly wants the military life for their kids. Not being able to watch your grandkids grow up has to be one of the hardest things ever. I know my mom is having a really hard time with it.
But like you, I will definitely support any choice they make, as long as it's good for them.

Alia said...

I totally agree with you, if it's what God has planned that's awesome, but I don't want my kids feeling obligated to follow in my or my husband's footsteps, I think we work super hard so they DON'T. I just think that I want even better for my kids than what I had :)

Sara said...

I'm going to be the odd ball out here.

I am a third generation military brat but have lived both the civilian life and military life since my parents ended up divorcing. They divorced for reasons completely separate from the military, for the record. We aren't always going to be at war.

My husband and I would both be happy to have our son in the military. We wouldn't force it on him by any means but the thought does not at all bother me or him in the least. I think being around many military families with multiple generations being part of it, and being part of a multi generation military family myself, I see how it works. There's an extra binding factor every time we get together. We've been so fortunate that we've never had to explain much to my side of the family regarding PCSing, leave time, the difference between a 4 day pass and taking leave, his career path, etc. It's a relief for us. And sometimes they are even able to give us assistance and advice in things we hadn't considered before.

As my parents have told me, there's no place too far that we wouldn't come visit. My parents are still very much an active part of my life despite the military life.

Ashley said...

In all honesty, we are HOPING that Everett (& Aidan, and if we have another son) will follow his Daddy's footsteps and join the Army (or military, period). As hard as it can be, we both feel that is the most rewarding and strongest thing a man can do for his country. We also feel that if he is to join at 18--which, we are hoping--and spends 4 years in, when he gets out at 22, he will be much stronger and smarter, and a better man. At 18, you're still a kid, and when you go off to college and the "real world" you are more apt to make bad decisions. At 22, you're still young, but you're an adult--especially if you just served 4 years in the military. (And the money for college would definitely help us out, ya know?!)
We don't really encourage women in the military--gasp! I know--so we don't want Briana (or any other daughter we have) to join, but if she did, we would support her just the same. And, if she chooses to marry a soldier, I will be there with all the support and helpful stories I can manage.
Yes, it can be hard. Yes, it can be painful. Yes, it can sometimes be the worst thing in the world. But all of the fear and anger I feel, doesn't even compare to the surge of joy and pride I feel when I stand next to my husband in uniform.

ABW said...

My girls are older--8 and 12--but they do not want to marry a Soldier. They love their dad to pieces, but they don't want to have them leave all the time like their daddy does. I can understand that, but will support them. If they do marry someone in the military, you better believe I will support them as much as I can, something I am lacking in my own life. :)

stacie-marie said...

I adore my Husband and all he has done and Im like you with who my future child chooses if it is God's will ..but maybe it's because I didn't see the picture but what I get the picture meant was she was sitting down "reading" a magazine like mommy not so much she is going to be a military spouse like mommy.. but like I said I didnt see it so I don't know

Mateya said...

This is tough. Of course I would support any decision they made and if they meet "the one" than who am I to say they shouldn't be with them. Although there is heartache there is also a huge amount of pride and I guess I feel blessed to be able to feel that for my Fiance. If our children have the opportunity to feel that too then that is great, but if not I will be glad to see them safe from extra heartache.

Michelle Ioapo A'etonu said...

Well, I think I'd be happy either way, having done both--following my dad's footsteps and joining the Army and then marrying a man who's also in the Army. We've had some tough times, no doubt, but there have been overwhelmingly more good ones.

GUAMtastic said...

We don't have kids (yet!), but I will/would be supportive of a child joining or marrying in. Of course you don't want heartache for your children, but it's inevitable on some level, whether or not they are affiliated with the military. We have had SUCH a blast the past two years and shared experiences most of our friends only dream about, all courtesy of the Navy. I spent my birthday last year bungee jumping in Australia while I was visiting my husband in port. We played golf together in Singapore and I sang karaoke with him in Japan. And, while I'm not super stoked for him to leave for the desert in a few weeks, I am so SO proud of and humbled by what he's doing--- something that a lot of wives will never comprehend. How could I not want that for my kids?

Mrs. G.I. Joe said...

Haha...its good to know everyone has a lot to say on this :)

First of all...I need to say I FULLY comprehend and appreciate how amazingly brave my husband is and the huge sacrifices he makes and is willing to make for other people. I would have never dreamed up a better life for myself than being his wife.
Not wanting a child to experience extreme anxiety attacks, depression, PTSD and flash backs of horrific memories that I won't even describe doesn't mean I'm any less proud than the next girl.

As far as the picture goes, I really don't know what the woman meant by it. I don't care though. The post wasn't to pick on her, it was just to say it got me thinking. I knew how GIJoe and I felt about that subject. So I was curious about others.

Next: Generations of military...I should have mentioned in this post but GIJoe is technically a 3rd generation military member. His grandfather fought in WWII, his dad in Vietnam. I would LOVE for my father-in-law to chime in one this. I'm pretty sure he wasn't jumping out of his skin excited when GIJoe joined, and deployed so soon. But he is also one of the proudest dad's I know. Even with all that, the last time I checked GIJoe was still very certain he wouldn't want a son doing what he's done.

The part about us not always being at war is basically true. But the problem is that if you look at the history pattern over the last 100+ years each generation sees a war. We may not be at war in Iraq when Lucy is 18 but my guess is we will be at war somewhere around that point or later.

GIJoe went to Iraq when we were 19. Kids out of high school need to learn responsibility and build character but there are other ways to do it. The military turns out fine young men and women. BUT not everyone who goes through the military leaves with honor and dignity.

Bottom line is this: if there is another way for our child to live selflessly, live a life to be proud of, and have a passion for their family that is not a military life, then good. It is possible. But if it truly is God's will for them to join the military or marry into it, we won't stop them. We'll be extremely proud parents.

No one's opinions are wrong on this. We all have similar experiences in our military lives...but we gain different knowledge and viewpoints from it.

Mrs P said...

I am the daughter of two soldiers and before I married my Marine I was getting ready to go into the Army myself. My parents really didn't want me to, they didn't want me living that life they did especially with the wars that are going now (dad's a Vietnam vet), but they were like if it's what you want to do good luck but we really hope you don't. When I first brought home my Marine at first they were a little WTF? Because 1. Like I said, I grew up Army and 2. I met him on an ARMY POST so how I brought home a Marine, well... it was all fate I guess.

The funny thing is they loved him right off the bat, once they got past the jarhead part of course, and they were just happy to finally see me happy. Daddy of course, wanted to make sure I was a billion percent certain before walking down the aisle and made sure I knew what I was getting into. They've supported me (and him) every step of the way.

And they do not let me get away with being weak. When I have a meltdown, my mom who has been there-done that is the first to remind me that I KNEW what I was getting into.

That being said, I wouldn't be totally opposed to Ari marrying into the military, or even joining herself (although I dont know how I'd ever send any of my children off to war, sending hubs off was hard enough). I think it is a lifestyle to be extremely proud of. I won't encourage her to ONLY date Marines or military people either, I just want her to be happy with whomever God has planned for her to love.

Caitlin said...

I wouldn't want my (future) kids to go through this. That said, they would probably be more suited for it than I am, if they live the military life. If I have a daughter, and she falls in love with a military man, I'll know better how to support her than my parents do. I don't know how I would feel about having a son in the military. It's tough enough when the guy I love is in.

That said, my 13 year old brother is talking about joining, and I really hope it's just a kid thing. I fully support the military, and I am so proud of Steve, but I don't want my brother to do this.

Erin said...

This is a really tough one. I would support them no matter what, even if it meant a harder life for me or them. I want my kids (well kid for now) to be happy. At least I would be able to relate to what they are going through.

Krista said...

maybe the mom meant just reading magazines? i can only hope that a mother wouldn't want her daughter to have the exact same life she has no matter how great her life may be :)

Lisa said...

I grew up without military influences, but always as a military supporter. I worked with Air Force ROTC cadets in college, and then when I moved out to WA, most of my friends were Army.

I've been dating P for a year now, and I have a lot to learn, but kids are a few years out. We've sort of talked about this, though. He talked to a coworker of mine who was considering Army ROTC (and has since joined, and is loving it). He told me that my coworker's parents weren't thrilled, but took it well, which is how his parents reacted as well.

I never thought about it the way he put it, but something along the lines of would any parent ever be ok with their child putting themselves in harm's way voluntarily? Probably not. But I would support my son or daughter if they chose to join the military, do ROTC or dated/married a military member.

Overall, I do think that service to the country is important, and I would hope to instill that same value in my future children.

♥ Annie ♥ said...

I was born and raised a military brat, and now I'm married to my soldier, so you could say I've never known any different. My hubby and I have actually talked about this quite a bit. Although military life is challenging, I think it's amazing, full of rewards and endless opportunities. I know it comes with worry and risks, but then again so does any kind of lifestyle. I would be proud and excited if I had a son who joined the military (only if it's what he wished to do), and if I had a daughter who joined or married a soldier I'd be just as happy as long as she was happy and loved by him.

Mary Teresa said...

Remind me of this when my baby boy is old enough to start thinking about what he's gonna do with his life. lol. I hope and pray that I will be able to raise my children to make their own decisions, and to be able to defend them. If that decision is to join the military (or marry a military man for any little girls in my future), and they can express reasons for that decision I will support them and be proud that they saw a marriage that was healthy enough that they would choose to follow the same path. It wouldn't be any easy path, but as long as they are the ones choosing to walk it then I am 100% behind them.

Kerry said...

I already told hubby and my boys that I'd prefer if our boys not follow in hubby's foot steps and join the military, especially the Marine Corps.

Of course hubby would love for them to join. I just don't want to have to go through what I had to go through with hubby with my kids. It's too emotionally exhausting. I love what the military does for this country but it is A LOT to deal with.

Riding the Roller Coaster said...

That's such a tough question, especially because I have both a boy and a girl and those questions are very realistic. Of course I would support my children in whatever path they chose. But I don't think I would hope for my daughter to marry into the military. I also don't think I would hope for either of my children to join the military. But it's way too soon to tell since they're only 2 and 6. Right now my 6-year-old boy is all about military stuff (he just had a camoflauge theme at his birthday party), but we try not to dwell on it. I guess my biggest hope that neither of my kids resent the lifestyle so much that they rebel and get into trouble. The teenage years will be interesting. Once I get through that, then we'll see!

Alison said...

It is so interesting that a lot of people are looking at this from the "girls marry Army men and are dependents" approach. I know FOR SURE no one purposely did that but I just wanted to remind everyone of a different perspective. I joined the Air Force after college and completely baffled my entire family and all my friends. I spent time in A hospital on Iraq and it was the scariest, hardest, most rewarding learning experience of my life. On the other side of the coin, I've known my husband since grade school and have seen him grow into the responsible, powerful leader, deep thinker that he is since he joined th Army. I would 100% support and agree with my son or daughter joining the service or becoming a dependent of a servicemember -I do not know personally of a more rewarding way of life and because I am NOT an Army/AF/service brat I definitely know there are comparable problems, separations, and hardships in civilian life.

Mrs. G.I. Joe said...

Alison, I never got that people were looking at this in that way. Mainly because all we can each go on are our own experiences. That's it. Its not to purposfully generalize things too much but that's really all we can go by.

For example: the ONLY part of military life I know is war and separation. Really, that's about it. So of course my thoughts are swayed by my experiences.

The whole dependent thing is a funny one. I admit...I do roll my eyes when I hear girls go off about not being their husband's dependent and they act like its soooooo offensive to be called one. Its just a term. Nothing wrong with it. I'm proud to be an Army wife and I'll carry my "dependent" title with pride too. I serve my country in this way even though I'm not in the military myself.

I think there is an interesting dynamic between spouses who are in the military themselves and those who aren't. A lot of defenses go up. And biggest thing of all: military spouses who also are in the military seem to be more likely to be in the "I would love my kids to stay in the military" camp.

Nothing wrong with that either. Like I said, its just all of our different experiences shaping our families and personalities.

Mad {Life Happens During Naptime} said...

I hope this is not taken the wrong way, but even as a non-military wife I have thought a lot about how I would feel if one of my sons wanted to be a soldier.

I would support and be proud of him, but honestly it would be really hard for me. All the worry and stress of having him deployed, the psychological issues that can come with the experience, and the idea of him having to be away from him wife and kids for long periods of time would be rough.

That being said, I do appreciate everything that soldiers and military families sacrifice for all of us.

Alison said...

Oh I definitely understand you didn't polarize the conversation or want to make it seem like women can only be married to a military member...I tried to point that out but I should have been way more obvious bc I definitely do not mean to be negative in ANY WAY!! My service committment is fulfilled in August and I'm getting out and am very proud to be a "dependent" and support and follow my husband in his career.
At my first dining in there was a promotion party going on at the same time and I kept seeing all these women walking around in nice dresses with these huge cardboard ranks on their shoulders - I finally felt so confused that I asked someone...the women were wives and they were being saluted (so to speak) by their husbands for all the support they had given their husbands to make rank. I loved that. I'll always remember it too.

Mrs. G.I. Joe said...

I get what you are saying now Alison. I just really didn't want anyone to think I was specifically leaving it at "women shouldn't serve" because I wasn't. That's just really not an issue in our house so it didn't cross my mind. That was all I wanted people to know.

I posted a note to you on your blog b/c I tried to reply to your comment email notification but I got a "no-reply" address. Its all good though. :)

Madison, I was hoping to hear from some civilians too. And I totally agree with what you said. I don't think anyone should take it wrong when a mother would prefer their kids not have to go through certain things. That's something we can all understand.

MommyToTwoBoys said...

I will be honest because you were. I do not want my boys in the military. The military has been great to us. Benefits are awesome for your family. They have really helped us in times of need.

But like you, we have also seen the down sides, and I mean real down sides of military life too. And I would rather my son's choose something different.

And it isn't just military. My husband is a professional musician and he doesn't want the boys following in those footsteps either. He knows too many musicians who just struggle and struggle, including us at several points in our life.

Baby Love said...

This is such a great question! As a dual military couple (husbands active duty and I am in the Reserves) we have both gotten to experience life in the military and being a spouse with a partner in the military. Both my husband and I have deployed (at different times) so we have both experienced the separation.

Our "relationship" with the Army is DEFINITELY love/hate. The experiences we both have had are unmatched by any other career path. HOWEVER, I would NOT want my beautiful daughter to go into the Army. With the state of the world the way it is, I forsee things getting worse before they get better.

mrs_muffins said...

How strange... The other night at dinner Matt asked me, "What would you do if Riley wanted to be a Marine." Without even thinking, I jokingly said, "I'd rather her marry one." He said (to put it nicely) no. I asked why and he said, "Because we're @$$holes".

On a serious note though... whether she wanted to join herself or marry someone in the military I would feel something like sadness/fear because I know what it would entail. But because she's my daughter, of course I would support her. But also too... I love the military life and the community I belong to. So it's hard to condemn it or discourage her from it.

Only time will tell!
xx

McV said...

I'm a baby girl who grew up in a military family! I grew up moving frequently, lived overseas, the whole gamut. I'm married to a government brat who had a VERY similar childhood. We both agree that the experience was very formative for us (and he has older sibilings so we've gotten to talk with them about what it was like to go through all the many stations as a pre-schooler, a high-schooler, etc.). I have always felt that if husband wanted to join the military tomorrow I would support him 100%, but had he been in the military at the time we got involved, I might have questioned how involved I wanted to get. I saw how hard the military lifestyle was on my parents marriage--they did not make it, and I've talked with husband and sister in law about what the guvvie lifestyle was like on THEIR parents marriage (it stressed the marriage, but they are still together) and it gives one pause. It's a life that really puts a strain on your marriage and in turn, I think puts a strain on your kids and your parenting. I hate that my dad was away so much. Husband hated that his dad was in such a high stress position that "stole" his dad for so long. We both agree though that moving around and experiencing life abroad is something we hope to give our kids. It was very special for us and really made us who we are.

Great topic!! Thanks for posting this question!

_26Mama26_ said...

I understand what your saying. My GI Joe is out after 8 years and I really dont want our daughter to grow up and join. Its too scary for me. But I dont want her to grow up and live the life i have, not thative had it bad. I just want 100% better than what ive had. I think that how all mother are suppose to feel however.

Erin said...

I swear my computer has a mind of it's own. I thought I had put in there a part about my girls joining up. I guess I deleted it or something. Anyway. My soldier is a recruiter so my girls actually see a lot of girls joinng the army. I've also gotten to talk to a lot of recruits wives because they are nervous and want to know what it's like to be an army wife and all that. I swear some times I do more work recruiting the wives than my husband does! Totally kidding.

We know a lot of dual enlisted couples. We dont live on base and hubby is a reserve recruiter. Actually we've never lived on a base. I don't think I want to honestly.

I would fully support my girls if they want to join. I think the military is great for lots of people. The benefits certainly have been wonderful when you have a son who in 3 months runs up a million dollar hospital bill. I just think that for some people marrying into or joining the military isn't the right thing.

I also think that it takes a very committed couple to serve. I think both parties serve their country no matter which one is in the military. My husband asked me when we were dating if I'd follow him if he went back and 7 years and 5 pcs's later I'll still follow him any where he goes.

Amanda said...

I'd support my children no matter what they choose, but I too would choose a more comfortable life for them. Army life is rewarding and at the same time it almost gives you an aneurysm. As long as my kids are happy, that's what is important to me, but if they choose Army life, I would definitely tell it to them straight about our lifestyle so they can make an informed decision.

Ashleigh said...

My husband was SO happy when we found out we are having a baby boy. He recently deployed for a year and won't be back {except for R&R of course} until baby is 9 months old. He wants to have a son to play football with and to wrestle with and, you know, do all the guy things with. I think he would be elated if our son one day decided to join the military and serve his country. BUT I feel like I wouldn't ever want to push our kids in either direction. I will try to support our son's decision {in 18+years lol} to join the military if it's what he chooses, because although it's a difficult life, it's also one that brings much joy to us as a family. I think, like it is for my husband, the choice would be totally up to him :)