Veteran’s Day is often a time to celebrate active and retired military as well as those who have given their lives in service of this country. But often behind the scenes and sometimes overlooked are the spouses of those in service. Military spouses often make numerous sacrifices to support their spouses and also keep their families and households running smoothly. Caitlin Buschman the wife of Sergeant Luke Buschman, shares the difficulties of that can come with raising a family while having a spouse that is gone a lot of the time.
“Luke being gone a lot is difficult at times especially for our children, he misses out on a lot of ‘firsts’ so to speak. But having a routine is key when being alone with children, it gives structure and it makes it all less stressful for both myself and the kids,” Buschman said.
Not only do these spouses have to take on the responsibilities of a single parent when their spouses are gone, they have to be adaptable to any situation and move their family all across the world if needed, which often causes military spouses to put their careers on hold. Cindi Anderson, the wife of retired Major Brian Anderson, shares how not knowing where they were going to be stationed mad it hard to establish a career, especially when their family was relocated every few years.
“It can make it difficult for the spouse to have any type of career. You can’t establish much if you move every few years,” Anderson said.
Buschman shares similar sentiments; sharing how it can be hard to find work with the constant moves that her family has to make.
“When finding employment at new bases, employers take a look at my resume and assume I job hop or can’t hold down a job because of how often we move. I’m never at a job for more than 2 years,” Buschman said.
Other challenges that come with constantly moving around is never really getting to plant roots in a community and always being the ‘new kids.’
“There’s a saying, ‘it takes a village’ so finding friends is extremely important when moving around a lot and being a part of the military community,” Buschman said.
The positive aspect of moving often is other military families understand the struggles that come with the military life and often rally together at every base and station. Anderson shares more on this unique aspect of the military community.
“The military provides a good community to make quick connections with when you move because everyone is in the same situation. Being assigned away from a military post provides a difficult time,” Anderson said.
Another aspect of military life is going through normal experiences like childbirth in unfamiliar areas. Anderson shares her experience of giving birth to her first child in a German hospital.
“Lauren my first born, was born in a German hospital. The language barrier was an issue, but overall we had a great experience. But, I didn’t know any different since she was my first,” Anderson said.
While Buschman did not give birth overseas, she was pregnant while her husband was stationed in Italy and experienced some prenatal care appointments abroad.
“Some of my prenatal care when I was pregnant with Ryan was done in Italy. Obstetrician appointments in Italy consisted of an ultrasound every appointment. If there was ever an emergency, the wait time in the ER was minimal,” Buschman said.
There are many aspects that civilians may not know about military life. Even some aspects civilians may take for granted like their homes, can be so different from the homes that military families live in.
“Military housing is mediocre at best. There are always issues with mold, faulty AC systems etc. ‘Civilians’ always hear that military housing on base is free, which isn’t always true. At our last duty station, we paid $1450 (Which was all of Luke’s allotted Basic Allowance for Housing) for a house worth maybe half that,” Buschman said.
So, this Veteran’s Day while families are celebrating active and retired military as well as those who have passed, they should also consider military spouses and honor the sacrifices they make daily for their spouses who are on duty and their families.