Memorial Day Weekend 2018, I found myself sitting in front of my laptop scouring the web for articles and blogs about being a woman in the military. I was 2 months into a 6-month deployment and felt lonelier than ever before. I spent a majority of my time writing and working on my blog, but I felt unworthy and ill equipped to start a blog. As I searched and searched I didn’t understand why there wasn’t more information out there. At this very point I was considering my options to stay in the Air Force or separate, but I couldn’t find anything that discussed what happened afterwards...Until that is, I miraculously came across a blog – Airman to Mom. My heart nearly exploded as I explored the site. Finally, someone just like me! A previous dual military Air Force spouse.... a momma... a veteran... It felt surreal to find someone who seemed to be just like me. I had never before left a comment on a page before, but decided I absolutely needed to let the author know how much I appreciated her words. Her blog was exactly what I needed to come across. It was so perfectly timed out it was as if it was God inspired...
Shortly after I left the comment, an email appeared in my inbox from Amanda Huffman---momma to 2 boys, Air Force Veteran, Daughter of the King, and founder of Airman to Mom. From that day forward, things would never be the same.
Amanda became a friend and mentor to me. We chatted about our similarities and differences. We chatted about our experiences in the military and her experience with transitioning out of the Air Force. Amanda, unknowingly, became someone I would come to admire, trust and rely on as I continued on the journey of being a Dual Military spouse, momma, and blogger.
Her story inspired me in so many ways. Her blog, Airman to Mom, initially covered her experience transitioning from the military into motherhood, and it was that very idea that comforted me during a season of self-doubt and confusion.
See, God used Amanda’s words to show me that separating from the Air Force would not be a bad thing. Her words served as a reminder that separation would not nullify my service to my country.
Although Amanda’s blog isn’t classified as a Christian Blog, Christianity has played a significant role in her life.
She served 6 years in the Air Force as a Civil Engineer, where she was tasked to deploy to Afghanistan in 2010 as a part of Provincial Reconstruction Team, working alongside the Army running convoys and helping rebuild Afghanistan. Surprisingly, the law to allow women to serve in a combat role wasn’t uplifted until 2016, yet Amanda along with many others were already serving in that capacity. The nature of this deployment significantly impacted her life in so many ways.
Through her unique yet challenging deployment, she learned that she could do more than she ever believed she was capable of and that small acts could in fact change the world. She became more compassionate. And her eyes were open to the kind of suffering that was happening outside of the US every day. She realized she had to do more, so upon return home, she started donating to various organizations in helping people less fortunate than many Americans.
Although deploying changed her in many different ways, another challenge also significantly affected her --- transitioning from Airman to Mom.
When asked was there a challenging moment in her life that played a huge factor in her Christian walk and/or life?
Amanda replied, “Leaving the military to be a stay at home mom. A lot of parts of motherhood helped me grow in my faith. I had to rely on him to get through so many of those early days. I also find when we move my faith is stretched and grows as he provides in unexpected ways.”
How could transitioning from the military be almost as difficult if not more than deploying to a combat area?
“Becoming a mom is often a difficult transition and to lose my identify as a military officer at the same time made it even more challenging. I had always thrived at anything I set my mind to, but motherhood had many unexpected challenges and things I couldn’t anticipate. My husband also left for training when my son was two months old. It was really difficult to be a stay at home mom who was alone night and day with a baby. A baby who didn’t sleep at night and I was struggling to find a routine with during the day.
I was confident the switch from military to motherhood would be a smooth one. I had no reason to expect it would be difficult. But those lonely moments where it was me and a crying baby I had to reach out to God to get me through. It took a lot of work on His part to help change me into who I am today. But it was a struggle looking back I’m glad I went through. It changed everything. It made me a better person and has helped me as I continue to raise my boys.”
Amanda’s struggle, although very unique and personal is not abnormal. Often, women struggle with finding the right balance between motherhood and being their own person. Of finding self-worth or their identity beyond little kids that test us mentally, emotionally, and physically from the point of conception. As Amanda transitioned into a completely different chapter in her life, God provided for her in unexpected ways. God works in the little moments of our lives. He is there when we are up in the middle of the night consoling an inconsolable baby. He is there when we feel as though motherhood isn’t enough, that we should be doing more. He is always there to remind us that only through Him do we become enough. When we accept that, then we can accept the role transformations from Airman to Mom, or from working to “Stay-at-home” that has transpired for many women.
When asked, “What piece of advice would you offer to someone who is walking through a similar journey?”
Amanda replied,“You can do it. You are stronger than you think. Be open to learning about yourself and the place you are sent. The life experience you go through can change your life in positive ways, you just have to be open and willing to learn.”
Amanda is a military spouse and veteran who served in the Air Force for six years as a Civil Engineer including a deployment to Afghanistan. She traded in her combat boots for a diaper bag to stay home with her two boys and follow her husband’s military career. Which currently has them stationed in Northern Virginia. Her blog Airman to Mom incorporates stories from her past military life and how she views life through her unique life experiences of both a veteran and military spouse. She recently launched a podcast sharing the stories of Women of the Military. If you would like to share your story click here. You can check out more about Amanda on Instagram, Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.