Real Talk with the Ms’s
What if you had to choose between your own career and supporting your spouse? What if you were afraid to share photos of your kids and your spouse, or even share your last name in public, because of the constant threat of danger? What if you lived a cycle of meeting new people, finding a close friend, and then having to say goodbye because you were just told you will be moving to a place you did not choose – again? If you had to help your kids do the same?
That’s just a sliver of what it’s like to be married to an active duty member of the military. Tiffany and Tara – we can’t share their last names – know all about it.
Granted not all of the military community lives in fear of sharing their full identities, but many of the Special Forces do. As for the rest of it, it’s pretty much par for the course for those in the regular military. For those in the Reserve and National Guard communities, it’s a little different. Those families live among the civilian communities. They are your neighbors, your teachers, your landscapers, your doctors, your police and first responders, and even your elected officials. They live without the ever-revolving but still a tight-knit community of other families who understand the life attached to loving someone who must constantly leave their family to deploy to places they cannot always disclose.
Marrying a member of the military while that person is still in service means you face a staggering divorce rate, months of living alone, and constant worry.
It would be a terrible life if you chose to see it that way. But for women like Tiffany and Tara, it’s about more than the hard times. It’s about remembering to be grateful for the blessings in life. It’s about being proud of their spouses’ service and leading their children by example. It’s about the men these two women fell in love with and committed to spending their lives with.
It’s hard but it’s not impossible, and Tiffany and Tara are easing the strain for themselves and other military spouses through their podcast, Real Talk With the Ms’s.
Ms’s, by the way, is short for military spouses. Tiffany laughs when she admits people can have a hard time understanding what they were shooting for with the title. She just as quickly shrugs it off. “I know it’s confusing but we thought of it so it stuck,” she says.
That’s kind of Tiffany’s style, says her best friend and co-host, Tara, “Tiffany goes full throttle.”
Overthinking something can lead to stagnation, says Tiffany. She’d rather just move on an idea and figure it out along the way. It’s pretty much how she’s always done things. When still a teenager she decided to forgo the college fund her parents worked hard to build in favor of enlisting in the military. No designated specialty? No Problem! Tiffany didn’t spend time worrying about where the military would place her – that would, well, be a waste of time. Her blind faith worked out for Tiffany, who loved her life as a medic and built it into a nursing career. It’s also how she met the man she would marry.
When Tiffany’s husband’s military career became more involved, she knew it would mean she would be doing most of the parenting alone, and made the decision to leave one career she loved; With faith, she would find another.
Once again her take-the-leap tactic worked, and Tiffany is now working as a Hospice nurse.
Tara was also not a complete stranger to the life she would be living when she married the man she knew she didn’t want to miss out on life with. In fact, she knew enough about that life to swear she’d never follow her sisters’ footsteps and marry into the military. Cupid called her bluff, though, and Tara happily folded.
Like Tiffany, Tara had a decision to make in terms of managing a career alongside parenting her children while her husband is so often away. She’d already been a single parent when she met her husband, and knew she could do it on her own if she had to. This time, though, she wasn’t entirely on her own. With the support of her husband, she was able to make the choice to be home and focus on being a mom instead of worrying about juggling a career as well. Still, she braced herself for another challenging time in life.
The women may have known to expect their husbands to be gone a lot, but nothing had completely prepared either of them for the enormity of years where their husbands could be home for as little as two months in total.
So the two women doubled down on their marriages and their families and formed a strong friendship when their paths crossed. It was another hard goodbye when duty called and sent the families to two different states. But Tiffany and Tara came up with a solution to their separation and launched a podcast that allows them to connect with each other as well as military spouses all over the world.
Though still fairly new, Real Talk with the Ms’s has thousands of downloads.
The duos signature “cut through the crap” recipe consists of humor, raw truth, expert insight from guests with valuable experience turned into tips and advice for their listeners. Their message is connecting with military spouses who share similar struggles. It’s a place where this mostly women community can feel like they’re sitting down with friends who understand them, celebrate the “comedy in their chaos” and realize they are not alone.
The podcast started in a closet, with no concrete 5-year plan, has huge plans now; Tiffany and Tara want to bring it to life through live events. They’d like to host events throughout the military community, bringing in experts on things like PTSD, marriages, and entrepreneurship. They want to offer childcare at these events because they know right away that could be a barrier for women who’d like to attend.
They are even about to release their own theme song. “Patriot Belle” is crafted to resonate with every wife who is managing the home front while her husband is serving this country, or has done so in the past. They shared a snippet of it with us, and you can hear it here:
Patriot Belle Teaser
“We want women to be able to turn up a song when they’re having a hard day and remember why they do this,” say the podcast co-hosts. It’s a celebration of strength rather than a reflection on the struggle.
Tiffany, Tara and hundreds of thousands of others are the forces behind our Forces. They are the ones who forgo the opportunity to share those everyday moments with their spouses so many of us take for granted. They give birth, mourn loved ones, find new jobs, doctors, friends, and homes on their own while their spouses step onto foreign lands and into the line of fire, so their families, our families, and people in less blessed lands can rest, knowing they’ve got our backs.