April knew when she received her bachelor’s degree that she wanted to earn a doctorate and teach English one day. Shortly after graduating, however, she met her husband who was attending the Naval Academy. Looking back, she had no idea what it would mean to be a Naval officer’s wife. Maintaining a career, moving every 18 to 24 months, and eight deployments in 12 years have not been easy. She managed to complete her master’s degree during a two-year duty station before they had children, but this heightened her feelings of being left behind in my own career field. As she watched most of her colleagues go onto full-time careers, she had to make a tough decision to stay home in order to be the often ‘single parent’ for their two children. She is grateful to have been able to teach adjunct classes to stay connected to her career as they moved, but she often felt resentment. She felt as if she was wholeheartedly supporting her husband’s career while putting aside her own. She also felt she had to maintain a public image that would benefit his career—that is, no complaining.
Her own research has shown that the no matter how career-oriented they were prior to marriage, most majority of military spouses, both officer and enlisted, have become stay-at-home parents. She believes much of this is due to being placed in duty stations far from family and friends while spouses are away for extended periods of time. Further, the tempo of back-to-back combat deployments in the Special Forces community contributed to additional stress and emotional strain for her family. They have had to adjust non-stop sweeping changes before, during, and after a deployment.