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7 Ways Being a Milspouse is Like Parenting A Toddler

Our Tiny Human just turned 3 years old. And with the Terrible Twos behind us, I thought things would flip like a light switch as the final smoke wafted from her blown-out candles.

And it did. We went directly into the Threenager Stage.

It’s really not that bad. In fact, I like her more now than I did this time three years ago after 12 hours of Pictocin-induced labor with no pain meds. (Side note: I have, of course, always loved her. She is just more fun.)

Anywho, this girl is something else. Talk about a box of chocolates—you never know what you are gonna get with her.

And, because I’m a lover of all things analogies and find joy in comparing my military life journey to things like running a marathon and learning how to America!, I now present to you ways that being a milspouse like parenting a toddler.

1. It’s Challenging. 

Right out of the gate, this one is kind of a duh statement, but it still has to be mentioned. As you’ve gathered, I’ve been a mama to this girl for three years and on the military Party Bus as a girlfriend-then-fiancee-then-spouse for seven years. Every day presents a new challenge. New skills to learn (Resiliency? Is it really a thing? Yes!). Flexibility. The ability to totally wing it, improvise, and make things up as we go. Oh, and don’t forget the nod-and-smile technique. (That last bit has helped me through many, um, challenging moments.)

2. It’s Messy.

And I don’t mean like figuratively messy. I mean literally messy. I read a quote somewhere that cleaning with a toddler in the house is like shoveling the sidewalk while it’s still snowing. Or brushing your teeth while eating an Oreo. I think that the same can be said for being a military spouse. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, and my hubby is anything but a slob, but man, both of these humans in my life just have so. much. stuff. Army gear just shows up in the weirdest places, much like my toddler’s toys. Clothes in the toy box. Rite in the Rain notebooks in my roll-top desk. 550 cord on top of the microwave. Crayons on the bathroom floor. Plus, I think the toddler’s gear and the Army gear have joined together in some sort of conspiracy of anti-matching socks and constantly lost keys/wallets/PT belts.

3. It’s Emotional. 

My goodness. The mood swings of my sweet Tiny Human sometimes blow my mind. The smallest things can set her off, like mismatched socks “on the wrong feet” (which are the correct feet) or the wrong kind of spoon/bowl combo. When she wakes up from a nap, I feel like I’m playing Russian Roulette. Will she be in a good enough mood to come downstairs like a ray of sunshine? Or will she squall like a trapped, rabid raccoon? Oddly enough, I have similar thoughts whenever my husband comes home and starts a sentence with, “I have news.” Wait just a second, darling… I need to buckle my seatbelt on this emotional roller coaster…

4. It’s Entertaining.

“Gosh, I sure am bored today,” said no military spouse or toddler parent never. #Truth! Everyday seems like a new adventure. Sure, that adventure is sometimes a mission to hunt/match socks that have been sucked into the Dryer Vortex of Doom (see item #2), but it’s never boring. Something is always going on, ever-changing.

5. It’s Memorable.

I hope that I remember this season of life, assuming I don’t block it all out when we venture into Pretendland and have another kid or PCS again. It’s easy for us to remember the big moments (deployments, birthdays, indefinite re-enlistment day) but I sincerely hope we tuck away some of the little moments, too. Like how my hubby wrote me an encouraging sticky note when I was having a hard day. How my Tiny Human associates warm temperatures with being “sweaty” and thus called the fresh-baked-out-of-the-oven-supper “Sweaty Chicken.” Yeah. I don’t want to forget these moments.

6. It’s Fun.

Now that I feel a little more acclimated to being both a military spouse and toddler parent (see also: less deer in headlights moments) I am slowly becoming able to enjoy the everyday fun. Like, literally laughing out loud at funny Facebook posts from my Beloved when he’s gone. Or taking an impromptu trip to Mount Rainier when my family comes to visit. Or going to the park after nap time and playing “store” with my daughter, buying “pink ice cream” (aka pine cones) with “money” (gravel rocks.)

7. It’s 100% worth it.

Oh, come on. Don’t act so surprised. You knew this one was coming, but it’s so true. No matter what emotions, challenges, messes, or memories come my way as a military spouse or toddler parent, I’m in it to win it. Every day, I have the opportunity to get out of bed and stand by my service member to support a mission that is so much bigger than us. Every day, I have a chance to influence eternity by pouring into the heart of my Tiny Human. It makes this all worth it, a thousand times over!


Readers, did I miss any comparisons? What would you add? Which one was your favorite? Leave a comment! 


  • Sharita Knobloch

    Dr. Sharita Knobloch has been married to her beloved infantryman husband for 12 years. She holds a Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling: Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University. Sharita is mama, a smallish dog owner, aspiring runner, writer, speaker, and spiritual leadership coach. She has been with Mission: Milspouse (formerly Army Wife Network) since February 2014. In 2020, she was named Armed Forces Insurance Fort Bliss Military Spouse of the Year. Sharita gets really excited about office supplies and journal shopping, is a certified auctioneer, overuses hashtags on a regular basis with #NoShame and frequently uses #America! as a verb.


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