If there’s something I learned most about my first years of being a Military spouse, it is to set aside my career for my family. I have always been in the Marketing and Sales field. And I was so used to having my schedule packed with my full-time job and side gigs like writing for our regional newspaper or managing events in our town or posing for photos. And for me to just leave it, it took a huge amount of courage and preparation for what was to come. How do I find a military spouse job?
It was not easy.
But, my will to build my own family with my Active Duty husband has been way stronger than just my personal longing for career success. And not to mention, we started our little family in Japan (where we were first stationed). It was hard to find a job or career that will fit our Military lifestyle then.
Then, we had our first baby. Everything just changed.
Our world started revolving around our little girl. And I devoted my time to her while my husband was deployed. The next we knew, we were to leave for San Diego, California for our next duty station.
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Stay-At-Home Mom (SAHM)
To find military spouse jobs that will suit an active duty military lifestyle is challenging. My husband and I had hundreds of talks about this. I never thought I’d be a stay-at-home mom. I have nothing against them for I truly admire them. They are enormously amazing! I did it for 4 full years and girl, was it difficult!
Living in the States, especially in San Diego, means very expensive child care. So, if I started working as an entry-level (because again, I just moved here), I knew that my earnings would just go straight to Daycare. And I would miss my baby’s first 3 years. So, why bother? I did the Math and my Momma heart just could fathom spending a day without being with my baby. So, I was a stay-at-home mom for my baby’s first 3 years.
I was able to focus and gave my full attention to my kid. And even though I started an online course (sponsored by the Military), I had my full day devoted to my baby. I was able to be her first teacher. I taught her colors, alphabets, shapes, how to write and read, and simple, practical life learnings.
The online course that I took was from Martinsburg College. It was sponsored by My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA), which is a $4,000 one-time financial assistance for financial assistance for licenses, certifications, or Associate’s degrees to pursue an occupation or career field. You can check more information here to check if you qualify. I was able to earn a certificate with the help of other military spouses. And I am thankful for them. They helped me find military spouse jobs. Because that’s one thing I also learned being a Military spouse, you will not know all your benefits and entitlements until you seek or ask.
Started a Military Spouse Job:
I knew it was coming but I was never sure when. So, when our kid turned three, we enrolled her in Pre-school, just a couple of hours a day. And I started looking for Military spouse jobs. I mean, part-time jobs. I needed a 4-5 hours a day part-time job. And while I was searching on Indeed, there were lots of openings inside the base. I applied for 4 positions. 3 were for the base where my husband was working at. The very next day, I was called for 3 interviews. I attended all three. One was for the Navy Exchange (NEX), one was for MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation), and one for a private company.
I was hoping I’d get the MWR one because I like what they do and where they’re located. Guess what, after two days, the private company was the first one to call me and hired me. And so, I started working part-time.
For me, you will have more chances of getting a part-time job by checking your local base. See their openings, go to the Fleet and Family Office, and even ask your Navy Federal bank and Navy Exchange or Commissary for openings. And because you’re a military spouse, they tend to prioritize you and accommodate your hours.
If you have background in legal or administrative work, the Base Legal Office and Post Office might have openings for you. And if you have medical or dental background, the base hospital and clinics are looking for assistance and experts all the time. The base daycare centers and schools are also great options to explore.
And then, my husband started his shore duty. And I started working part-time while our kid was in preschool. I needed a job that wasn’t tied to a desk and had the flexibility in case I needed to pick-up my kid or take her to her appointments. Also, I desired a job that will offer social interaction with other adults after being SAHM for three years.
The first two weeks were an adjustment period. And one of my co-workers recommended for me to get an Apple watch so I have peace of mind if the preschool suddenly contacts me for whatever reason.
Full-Time Military Spouse Job
The part-time job was working full well. Then, I had an offer to move up and work full time. I had to sleep on it for a few nights until I fully committed to accepting the job and started working full time. I had to make arrangements for my kid to be on full-time Preschool-slash-Daycare hours.
Mind you, it was not cheap. But I was confident that my salary after getting the promotion to be a manager would be more than enough to cover it. And my kid needed socialization and early education, too. However, in accepting the full-time job, I had to make sure that it still offers the flexibility that I need to sustainably do my roles as a wife and mom.
I need to make sure that I am committed to raising my kid and that I can be independent when it’s time for my husband to leave for deployment. The military spouse full-time job should be able to fully fit your schedule. It should be a step towards your career goals and not just a temporary “schedule filler”. It should be manageable when you had to wear both the Mom and Dad hats for your kid because your partner has to leave. And for me, I think that’s the key to have a successful full-time military spouse job.
I’ve been living this lifestyle for 3 years now. All I can say is that IT IS POSSIBLE. I’ve been juggling Mommy duties, household chores, errands, and working full-time. My dear Military spouses, you can do it! We can have a full-time job and still be able to be our kids’ Moms and Dads. There are a lot of resources provided by our base installations and Military Spouses groups. And to pay it forward, I have teamed-up with the MWR in my first year of being employed to offer employment and share our company’s hirings and openings to my fellow Military spouses looking for jobs.
Work From Home Jobs for Military Spouses
In these uncharted times, I feel like one of the best options for the military spouses to have a job is to work from home. There are a lot of companies recruiting and hiring for work from home jobs. This may include setting up your home office, being on your computer or phone, and working remotely.
And now that kids are doing distance learning, this is a great opportunity for us to do multiple roles at the same time. My husband is currently deployed, my kid is doing distance learning, and I am working from home. Again, it is possible to have military spouse jobs even if you are just staying home. But is it sustainable? It depends. It depends on the work you’re doing and your current and future situation.
What are some of the work from home military spouses jobs? I have seen plenty of ads about companies needing customer service and medical representatives, analysts and computer programming openings, and virtual assistant jobs. Also, there are tons of opportunities to be self-employed. If you are looking to start a small business, offer services, or do things for fun (with a lil monetization), there are thousands of choices. Aside from my full-time job, I do part-time writing and research gigs and “this blog”. You can apply at Upwork or Fiver, or be a translator for hire if you know other languages. These are awesome choices for military spouse jobs from home.
And one tip I can share with you is that if you can outsource some things to make your life easier to multitask, do it! For example, I do Amazon Fresh and Pantry and subscribed to Amazon Prime so whenever I need something right away, I don’t have to drive and go to the store. And if I’m preparing meals, I can make sure I have the complete ingredients. You can try out Amazon Prime free for 30 days and if you’re a student (or anyone in your household has a college or university identifications), you can have Amazon Prime 50% OFF for 6 months!
So as for me and my family, I am very thankful and grateful to have these opportunities. It is not easy, I can tell you that. But with perseverance and knowing what you want, it is achievable. I’m no expert on this but this is what’s been working greatly for me and my family. So, if you need someone to talk to, or ask more on how I’m doing it, please know that I’m here for yah! And if you decide to be a SAHM, work part-time, full-time, or from home, KUDOS to you!!! I am so proud of you and you got this!!!