MilSpouse Mondays With Amanda Huffman
Another Monday means another installment of our weekly interview series, MilSpouse Mondays. If you’re new to this series, each Monday, we feature a new military spouse, and discuss ways in which they’ve managed to overcome their challenges while serving their communities. This week, we talk to Amanda Huffman, a military spouse who’s gone from “active duty to diaper duty.” Amanda has a very unique perspective on being a military spouse, as she has served many years serving this country with her husband. We discuss with Amanda her transition from Airman to mom, and get to know what life has been like for her after the military. Read our interview with Amanda below: Amanda, can you provide a brief overview your experience as a military spouse? My husband has been in the Air Force for 12 years, for six of those years I was serving on active duty with him. We met in college during the Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) program. My husband graduated college a year before me and went out on his Air Force adventure while I still had a year of school left. We got married that year and then after I graduated we were fortunate enough to be stationed together in New Mexico. While in New Mexico I deployed to Afghanistan and was gone for a year. While I was deployed my husband was selected for school to get his Masters and moved to Ohio before I returned home from Afghanistan. A few months after coming home from my deployment I was able to get a join spouse and follow my husband to Ohio. While in Ohio, we decided to start our family and since we had not ever moved to the same assignment at the same time, I decided to leave the Air Force to be stay at home mom and military spouse. We have moved two times since I left the military. 4 years in Los Angeles and we recently moved to Northern Virginia. My husband has yet to deploy. He has volunteered for a few deployments and was never selected. His career field is less likely to deploy, but before he leaves the service he will likely be tasked with a deployment. Lack of deployment doesn’t mean that he is always home, he travels regularly with his current job and as always with military life there are various extended trainings that take him away for weeks or months at a time. You’ve had the interesting task of transitioning to active duty service member to military spouse. Can you give a brief overview of how the transition felt, and are there any parallels you can find between these completely different roles? It was not easy to leave the military. On paper, when we were trying to decide our path forward, it was the obvious choice to leave the military. But it did not make it the easy one. I loved being part of the Air Force and the mission and walking away to be a mom was exciting and terrifying. I didn’t realize that leaving the military was going to have such an impact on me. Being a military officer had become part of my identity. I spent four years in ROTC and over six years in the service. Walking away from it to become a military spouse and mom seemed like the easy choice. And even though I know that it was the best choice for my family, it did not always feel that way. The role of military spouse is not an easy one. I would say the major parallel between military spouses and service members is that they both have to make sacrifices. I think military spouses’ sacrifices often go unnoticed. The service member and the struggles they go through are often pushed to the forefront but having to restart your life every time your service member moves is a huge sacrifice. Being in the service and being a military spouse are both hard, in totally different ways, but hard just the same. After spending six years in the military serving on active duty with your husband, it’s safe to say you have a slightly different perspective on life with the military than most MilSpouses. What impact do you feel that serving in the military has had on your experience as a military spouse? In reality, I thought I would have an edge up on military spouses. I knew the lingo. I knew the why and the processes of the military. But when I became a military spouse, I realized so many of my struggles were similar instead of different. Knowing the why didn’t change the frustration of long days or make the time apart any easier. And losing my career to follow my husband was not easy. This is something I feel many military spouses can relate to as they follow their spouse’s career around the world. I could have continued my career as a licensed Civil Engineer, but when my son was born, I knew we would move in a year. And starting over at each assignment felt like I would always be moving backwards instead of forward. One of my roles as a writer is to share my experience as a military spouse after having been a service member. There are groups out there belittling the military spouse community and I try and share my experience to let people know that military spouse life is not easy. It is also hard to be a service member. I have walked in both spaces and I can speak to both sides. I know the person I used to be and how I couldn’t understand the challenges of military spouse life. And I know how lonely and hard military spouse life can be after many times of being alone, moving and starting over. You graduated school with a degree in Civil Engineering, and, before leaving the military, you earned your Professional Engineering License and became a Certified Energy Manager. In your opinion, how important is it for military spouses to have professional goals and aspirations? If you have professional goals and aspirations, you should go for it. I don’t think the military should stop you. It doesn’t mean it will be easy and you may have to shift your dream along the way, but if you find something you love to do you will find a way to make it work. With the way the world is changing I think the possibility of working as a military spouse is more feasible than it was even a few years ago. I often have mixed feelings thinking about how I walked away from a career that could have continued even after I left the military. But I didn’t love it. Had I loved working in the Civil Engineering career field I probably would have worked to make it work even with the challenges of being a military spouse. But I did not feel the challenges were worth overcoming. Then I found writing as a way to connect with others and possibly make an income for our family. It started as a hobby and was a way to keep my mind busy as I struggled with my new role of motherhood. I love writing and I love the community I have found through writing. It challenges me and stretches me as a person. Through your website Airmantomom.com, you share a ton of interesting and engaging resources for other military families around the world, such as stories, guides, advice, tips, and other motivational resources. What inspires you to create these pieces, and what can we expect in the future? My blog started as a hobby I wrote about anything and everything. As I learned about blogging and becoming profitable, I realized my view as both a military spouse and veteran was unique and not often talked about. I wanted to share my experience to encourage and inspire others. My inspiration comes from my readers. I write to a specific person and when a person who meets most of the boxes of my avatar find my blog, we always have an instant connection. If I can help one person, I know I have done my job correctly. And one person then turns to two and I can slowly grow my blog and business. I’m currently working on launching a podcast called Women of the Military. It is focused on sharing the stories of women who have served in the military. People often ask my husband about his military experience, but rarely ask about my experience. This led me to realize women often don’t talk about their experiences and I wanted to start changing that by sharing stories through a podcast. To help launch the podcast I’m creating an eBook with stories I have collected from women over the last year. Some of the women included in the Book will be featured on the podcast next year. The podcast is set to launch in January. We at Meditec want to thank Amanda for taking part in MilSpouse Mondays. You can stay up to date with Amanda on Twitter, Also, be sure to sign to check back next week for another installment of MilSpouse Mondays, presented by Meditec. If you missed last week’s installment with Katie Christy, a MilSpouse entrepreneur and athlete, you can read the interview here. About Meditec Meditec is a career training site specifically designed to help America’s military spouses succeed professionally, regardless of where life takes them. Our accredited, affordable, MyCAA-approved courses are centered around career opportunities that allow individuals to work from home or on the road. Not only that, but we also guide military spouses throughout the MyCAA process, helping them earn scholarships to put towards career advancement programs.