Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I am a real military wife

Today I'm linking up with Samantha to share with you what a real military wife looks like.

Mal Smiles
Who I am- My name is Ashley. I am a 23 year old stay at home mom to my 18 month old little man and currently finishing up my degree online. My husband, Chris, is an OS2 in the Navy and recently reenlisted for the next four years as a recruiter.

I do fit a few of the military wife stereotypes
-I got married to Chris at 19 in a Chicago courthouse. We knew from the beginning that we got married when we did so that I would be on his orders, but that wasn't the reason for getting married. Being aware of that fact made our decision even stronger.
-I had a child at 21, but it was something that my husband and I were hoping and praying for. After being diagnosed with endometriosis, all of our future plans were rewritten to (hopefully) include a child in our young family.
-I am a stay at home mom, but I don't sit on my ass all day while my husband works his off. My husband and I made the decision to have a child, and we made the decision that I would stay home and give our child some consistency in this inconsistent life.
November 2011
My military story- Chris and I got married during my freshman year of college and while he was in a-school in Great Lakes, Illinois. Chris got his orders to San Diego, and during his leave we looked at apartments and made plans for me to move a couple weeks after he got settled in. That all changed when Chris called me the night he got to his ship to tell me that the next day they were leaving for a week, and would only be back for a few days before a 2-month long underway. I definitely got thrown right in to the navy life!
While Chris was underway, I packed all of our belongings into a uhaul with my car hitched to the back and drove from Arizona to California to our new apartment. We spent the next year soaking up newlywed life in sunny San Diego without a single underway while the ship was 'in the yards' for repairs.
When the ship came out of the yards, underways and workups started immediately, and I was once again reminded what it was like to be a military wife. During this time, I was working full time as a supervisor at a deli and going to school online. I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2010, and with a deployment a year away, we started trying for a baby. With all of the stress surrounding us, we went through one negative test after another. We had already made plans for me to move back home with my mom in the hopes of me being pregnant, so I left my job and packed up my stuff even though we hadn't gotten a positive test. We were both surprised when Chris called on the second Friday he was gone to hear the results of one more positive pregnancy test.
Chris was gone for almost my entire pregnancy, besides two weeks in between underways, and it was a really difficult experience. He came home when I was 7 months pregnant, and even though it is always a learning experience to transition back to being at home after a deployment, the pregnancy made it even harder. The ship once again went into the yards, and Chris has been home for the first year and a half of our son's life.
We are getting ready to start work ups and underways before a deployment again. After a year and a half of having my husband home, I'm not ready for him to leave again.
Our decision to reenlist was not made lightly- there are so many positives and negatives that come with military life. I know that my husband will excel at being a recruiter, and I know that I will look back and be happy that we took our family on this adventure. There is a sense of pride in being a military wife that I will always have.

November 2012- Yes there is a baby in all that camo!
One thing I wish people knew about being a military wife- I don't wish for people to know how hard it is to be a military wife. I don't want them to experience the lack of control we have. I don't want them to feel the pain of a tearful goodbye at 3 in the morning. I don't want them to worry about feeling like a single parent for months a time. I don't want them to worry about their husband when communication has been down for days. I don't want them to experience the transition from a whole family, to just a part of a family, and back again.
But I do wish for people to know what it's like to be a proud military spouse. I want them to experience a homecoming after being separated for months. I want them to feel the pride in seeing their husband in uniform. I want them to know what it is like to be a part of something bigger than themselves, to know that their family is serving their country.

March 2010- Basic Graduation


  1. <3 Very sweet blog. Found you through the link up. <3

  2. So sweet. You really focused on the positive and that is oh so refreshing. I'm glad your endometriosis diagnosis didn't pump the breaks on having children. :) AND I think it is important that people realize that a lot of times being a SAHM is a calculated family choice...NOT made out of laziness.

  3. Cheers to you for showing and not just saying the benefits of military life by choosing as a family to have him re-enlist. I know many teachers with whom I worked, who would've loved to be SAHMs. I'm so glad that you appreciate your good fortune to do so. Rock on!

  4. Love that last part... so true. I don't want them to experience all of the hard parts, I want them to realize how valuable it is to have the good parts with your husband. Visiting from the link up!