Reinventing Yourself and Career Path as a Military Spouse

Written by TeLeah Thurston


For as long as I can remember I have always been a listening ear, nurturer and comforter to both family and friends. After some time, it became very clear to me that advocating for others was my purpose. At the time of this major decision, my husband had just completed his associate degree and was pursuing his own journey.

While still in the military myself, I decided I was finally ready to begin my college journey. I resigned from my position as a call center customer service representative and enrolled in school full time in pursuit of my bachelor’s degree in social work.

At the start of my second year, we began our family. I had an older female professor come to me concerned that I was continuing enrollment just a week after giving birth. I had heard of and knew of so many stories of other women who “did it all” — worked, schooled, and took care of home. So, I confidently told her: “I got this!”

But, a few months later, my mental health determined that to be false. I had to withdraw to focus on myself and our daughter on top of making the decision to move back home with my family because my husband was rejoining the military.

Just as I was discovering myself, it seemed as though my life was somehow falling apart. Feelings of defeat started to creep in and after a bit of turbulence, I found grounding. In seven years of military life as a military spouse and stay-at-home mom, this is how I’ve been able to reinvent myself and you can too!


Explore Your Strengths and Acknowledge Your Weaknesses

As I began my journey transitioning from soldier and student to military spouse and mother, I felt very lost. I was seeing classmates surpass my progress, friends consistently excelling in corporate America and I started losing the glimpse of hope and purpose I was just grasping.

Over time, I began to pull myself up by the bootstraps. I learned it was okay to acknowledge my weaknesses by accepting the things I was not good at, but I had to make a decision not to let them define me. Sure, I didn’t balance school and a newborn well, but I did find strength in managing administrative tasks in the little free time I did find. I journaled all the time in my youth. Through parenting two kids under two, I found strength in encouraging myself and other moms through my blog writing by sharing about the challenges of our military life and my career transition.


Versatility is a Super Power

Often, I come across spouses, mothers especially, who feel defeated because they’ve had to pause from work for numerous years or maybe they’ve had multiple job titles within a short timeframe. Personally, I had a five year gap in my resume that felt like a sinkhole.

When I considered going back to work, I became very overwhelmed with updating my resume until I shifted my perspective. I realized my versatile background between being a soldier, working in supply, being a student, and being a mom gave me so many skill sets to initiate my career reinvention! How you see your life in the moment matters. Being a spouse of many talents makes you a hero!


Be Resourceful

One of the best things I have done for myself during the different transitions and constant moving is become resourceful. You must come to peacefully accept the “instability” of this military lifestyle and be able to easily adapt as necessary. I am very intentional with connecting to my community for myself and for my family. In doing so, I have connected to solid social media groups, and joined supportive organizations of military spouses like Blue Star Families and the Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA).


We Need Your Support

When the ASYMCA presented a breakthrough writing opportunity for military spouses, I had my doubts about why I shouldn’t apply and what I thought would disqualify me. But all those assumptions were actually some of my greatest qualities. Not to mention, being a part of this team has helped me expand my knowledge as well as provide even more tools and resources for my overall family’s success.

ASYMCA depends on your gracious contributions for the success of its supportive programs for service members and their families. Please consider donating today!