Get instant answers to your questions about The InDependent Spouse® or the Milspo Business Network™!
Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/theindependent-spouse
Sadly, this podcast isn’t yet available on Google Play Music as I am based in the UK, but hoping this will change soon.
I’d love you to be a guest on the podcast series. If you’re a milspo running your own business, charity or you’ve done something inspirational through the challenges of this military life and think that your story could inspire others then please get in touch. Just fill out this form for Series 4.
No, the podcast series is 100% free and has been 100% funded by my own company, Design Jessica, and Series 3 has been granted some funding from the Aviva Community Fund. That cost includes this website, insurances, trademarking, content, podcast hosting, software and lots of my time! There is no advertising associated with the podcast series and no money is exchanged by guests or the host. I have been incredibly lucky that the fantastic guests have share their stories and their time for free. I have also been lucky to have a ‘team’ of wonderful volunteers that help me.
The reason that The Milspo Business Network™ exists is to inspire milspo’s in business. It’s a non-profit-making project, and it’s simply something that I believe needed to be created. I read the quote ‘you cannot be what you cannot see’ and realised that although milspo’s in business were achieving amazing things no one was shouting about it. This needed to change, and that is the big motivation behind the podcast series and the new Milspo Business Network™.
This is a tough one. I hate labels, in fact, I often go out of my way to challenge others opinion of me – I am a bit stubborn like that. To start with I was very different. When I first got married five years ago I spent a long time trying to fit into what I believed was expected as a military wife, and I was terrible at it! I don’t bake, I can barely cook and I quite like it when my husband is away. The ‘military spouse’ stereotype that I thought was true just didn’t fit me.
But the longer I was married the more spouses, partners and other halves I met helped me realise that we aren’t all the same, there is no ‘milspo’ mould. Turns out, like all groups of women (and men) there is so much more to us than expected, and it would be frankly ridiculous to think that because our partners happen to work in the same industry that their spouses would be the same. You wouldn’t expect any other industry to be like that, so why do we think this of ‘milspo’s’?
The difference being that the milspo community face a unique set of challenges in our everyday lives and a certain level of instability that I don’t think other groups in society experience. It’s these differences that I think make us incredible business owners who should be celebrated.
I don’t consider myself Jess, ‘wife of’…. I am Jess, the designer, the podcaster, the terrible cook, the clumsy hockey player, who loves cheese and wine, and my cats, my dog, and my husband…oh, and he happens to be in the Armed Forces.
So, that’s the at the heart of it really. I don’t think of myself as ‘milspo’ first and foremost, there’s a lot more to me and to everyone else that I have met. Of course, we aren’t all the same, and we don’t really live very similar lives, but I think we all have that resilience (and slight bruising) from this crazy military world we are linked to and we are achieving amazing things in spite of this….and sometimes, if you catch me on the right day I am super-proud of my milspo label too!
Firstly, I am extremely proud of the hard work that my husband does in the RAF, but I am also aware that his career is incredibly important to him. He’s good at what he does and I give him enough credit to be able to achieve his goals without my input – or potential to ruin it! I am also aware that I, in my own right can achieve amazing things without hanging on his coat-tails and using the title ‘wife-of’. I want to be known for my own accomplishments, not just my husband’s achievements.
Although clearly The InDependent Spouse® and The Milspo Business Network™ is tightly aligned with the UK Armed Forces it really isn’t much to do with the serving personnel, I promise! It’s about celebrating the amazing Milspo business owners in this community.
Secondly, I am SO bored with talking about my husband’s job! Yes, it’s very exciting, and yes, he does very cool things, but I have lost track of the times I have spoken to new people who never think to ask what I do for a living. It sometimes wrongly thought that ‘military spouses’ don’t have their own identity away from their partners, so The InDependent Spouse is my attempt to change that perception.
And this is why is why my husband doesn’t really feature here. He’s incredibly supportive, he is very proud of what I’m doing, but he knows that this is very special something JUST FOR US, and shouldn’t be interfered with by the ‘military-wifes-husband’.
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to live in or visited a military married quarter you’ll know that they have magnolia coloured walls! The carpets vary, and the provided curtains are also a colourful source of amusement but the walls are very much magnolia. (Unless you’re one of those spouses who are acing life and are organised enough to paint them).
The phrase ‘the magnolia wall life’ was something that popped into my mind recently as a way to explain the life we live in – The crazy armed forces life of deployments, detachments, tours, and postings.
A ‘Dependant’ is the official term used by the Ministry of Defence to anyone linked to the Serving Personnel – be they wives, husbands, children, or those under the care of the serving person. You’ll probably know if you are one. It’s a term that seems to make a lot of us cringe – I for one don’t feel that ‘dependent’ on my other half!
The reality is that military life has probably made me even more independent. If anyone’s ever experienced a deployment curse or posting you’ll know how bloody awesome we can be. I wanted the name to reflect on how remarkable we are.
In February 2020 a gentle rebrand happened, moving the podcast series under The InDependent Spouse banner and launch of The Milspo Business Network™ – combining all the business support under one roof, and expanding the brand to ALL military Spouses, Partners, and Other-halves – which is how I use the term ‘Milspo’.
Currently, I am following my husband around with his career and living in a very magnolia married quarter in the UK. Due to the sensitive nature of his work, I won’t shout about exactly where I am, but this is my husband’s fourth posting since I met him and we are already on house number 4! And we are posted again this summer.
My story isn’t unique. I could tell you about loads of Milspo’s who’ve moved way more times than me, and those who have taken the brave decision to stay in their ‘forever home’ while their partners work all around the country and sometimes the world. Neither of these choices is particularly easy, or really something to be competitive about. Like I’ve said before, we really all do live very different lives and make our own choices. The Milspo Business Network™ is all about celebrating what we achieve despite these challenges.
The motto for the RAF is ‘Per ardua ad astra’ – through adversity to the stars. There’s an awful lot of uncertainty in any relationship, especially those with one or more serving members of the Armed Forces, and even more adversity. But with the right support and the right tools ‘military spouses’ can achieve anything… even the stars!
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