Home Career and Education How Family Life Changed: Leaving Active Duty USMC for the Reserves

How Family Life Changed: Leaving Active Duty USMC for the Reserves


How family life changedAs I sit here this morning drinking my coffee, I’m getting butterflies thinking about my husband coming home from his first business trip. I can’t help but feel a little pathetic. I’ve gone through two extended deployments and more schools than I can even count and yet somehow, I have already forgotten what it’s like when he’s away.

After being an active duty Marine for 9 years, my husband recently left, became a Marine reservist and has a full time job in the civilian world. When he was in the process of transitioning out, the job he has now was on a hiring freeze. He had to take a job that would make enough to allow us to qualify to buy our house, but it definitely wasn’t his ideal job. It paid the bills and allowed us to buy our first home and it was a perfect stepping stone to his new career.

Last week, I had to go in and get a new ID. To say I was a little disappointed in the fact that my new ID is now pink is an understatement. Every time I go through the gate or shop at the commissary, I’m reminded that I’m a reservist spouse now. As far as changes go, I don’t really feel any different. We still live close to base and all of our friends are still in the Marine Corps. There isn’t a day that goes by that one discussion doesn’t involve something around the Corps.

I truly thought that my husband being a reservist would change our lives so much, simplify it. It really hasn’t! He still gets calls late at night from the reservists wondering about pay and finalizing details about their next drill date and what the agenda will be.
As for medical, we go to an actual doctor’s office instead of the hospital. This has been a welcoming change. We get insurance through Tricare but we have to pay for it. It’s actually a much better deal than what his current civilian job offers.

Our 3 children haven’t noticed anything different except for that we no longer live on base. This is their first year at a school off base, so it was a chance to meet more local friends that won’t be moving in the next couple of years. They are all under the age of 9 and I think they are just too young to understand the huge life change that just occurred.

All of the worries and stressors that I had while he was transitioning out have definitely eased, we kept going back and forth, wondering if we were making the right decision. If he wouldn’t have opted to become a reservist, I think this would have been a much more difficult transition. We will always love the Corps and completely stepping away from it just wasn’t the best for our situation. However, everyone has their own journey and path and this just happened to be ours.

In my opinion, I get the best of both worlds! I get to see him wear a suit and tie 5 days a week and then once a month, he puts those cammies on! Sometimes I’m even lucky to see him in his Charlies! There’s something to be said about a man in uniform.


Shannon is currently living outside the gates of Camp Pendleton with her husband and kids. She is an avid fitness buff and a Certified Personal Trainer & Health Coach. Follow Shannon’s health tips at The Queen of Peanut Butter.

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