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Military Mom Discrimination

I have a confession: I am an extremely overqualified army wife and I am tired of being rejected. After finishing two master's programs simultaneously, we had a PCS (aka Permanent Change of Station) to Fort Stewart, where I found few opportunities that seemed relevant to my studies, interesting enough to warrant 40 hours in the office every week or paid more than $30,000 a year.

Maybe my expectations were too high, but instead of jumping into a job I hated, I turned to my freelance business and decided to wait until the time was right to look for the perfect position.

RELATED: How to Be Working Military Parents

In the past year, a few really fantastic positions have come along, all at great times for our family. Applications, initial phone interviews and first formal interviews have all been successful and extremely positive—leading me to think it would be a good fit and that the prospective employer is interested. I never make my status as a military spouse and mom overt, but I definitely don’t hide it, either. A quick Google of my name will show blog posts, articles and social media profiles that mention it all, very proudly. However, once it comes up in an interview, the mutual excitement quickly simmers and the questions start rolling in:

  • Do you think you can handle the stresses of your personal life with the demands of the job?
  • What’s it like?
  • Do you think it will be a problem for you?
  • Did your husband see combat? (Also known as, "Is he crazy?")
I’m tired of feeling like my husband’s service to this country immediately gives me, as an applicant, a negative review.

Obviously, no, I don’t think my husband’s job is a problem for this position, or I wouldn’t have applied. But that isn’t the point, is it? The point is that prospective employers definitely think it does. They immediately perceive the applicant as an emotional, needy, dramatic character from their favorite Lifetime series and discredit the years of relevant experience, actual character and fit for the position. Let me tell you, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of feeling like I should hide that part of my life. I’m tired of feeling like my husband’s service to this country immediately gives me, as an applicant, a negative review.

Here’s the thing. Being a mom is tough—no matter your spouse’s career choice—but as a military spouse of a combat soldier, I’ve learned (very quickly) these things:

  • How to manage my time between mom, wife and business owner (or potential employee).
  • How to manage my emotions. Keeping emotions in check is paramount to keeping my sanity and still being a productive member of society—and running a successful business.
  • How to focus on multiple things at once. Just because my husband recently returned home and is dealing with the various issues of reintegration, again, doesn’t mean the world stops. There are kids to be fed, projects to complete and a life to lead. I am more able to manage stressful situations now, with complete ease, than ever before.
  • How to be creative on the spot. If I have a free 15 minutes, the wheels start turning and I am rapidly going through my to-do list, finishing projects and getting things done. There isn’t the luxury of unlimited free time or endless brainstorming sessions, so I figured out how to get in, get out and do great work efficiently.

RELATED: How a Military Mom Survives Deployment

To all the military spouses out there trying to make it work and juggle the dynamic roles of mom, military spouse and careerist, I salute you. Keep chugging along and don’t be afraid to stand proudly alongside your soldier. The right fit will support your role as a military spouse and value how that side of your life will positively impact the business.

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