Military Spouse Appreciation Day is May 6th. Navigating motherhood, military spouse life and a career, Moni Jefferson has created several businesses before starting the Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs (AMSE) designed to help military spouses start, grow, and scale a business. We had a chance to chat with Moni about being a military spouse and her experience below. We hope you enjoy this conversation with Moni.
Wendy: Tell us a little more about you, your family and how long have you been a military spouse?
Moni: I am a military kid and lived in Germany and many different states which is how I met my husband who joined the Air Force in 2009. I was a freshman, and he was a senior in high school. We dated for a year and got married right after I graduated high school in 1998. Being a military kid vs a milspouse are two different worlds. As a kid, I enjoyed the adventure and the new places. As a milspouse, nothing prepares you for the endless uncertainty and flexibility one has to have to maintain a healthy military life.
Wendy: Where has military life taken you? Do you have a favorite duty station and why?
Moni: We have lived all over, mostly stateside. Charleston, South Carolina has a special place in my heart. It is just beautiful and full of so much culture. Not to mention the food and beaches.
Wendy: What has been the most surprising part of living the military lifestyle?
Moni: Honestly, nothing surprises me anymore. I feel that because I was a military kid, I was open to learning new things, navigating crazy situations, and making the best out of every situation. What I was not prepared for was finding issues so deep and creating a passion to support other military spouses.
Wendy: How do you stay motivated and committed to living a life of service?
Moni: I always kept it fresh. Acted like a tourist instead of a resident in each place we moved and embraced the culture as it was my own, teaching my children how unique and beautiful each new place was and to cherish the memories we made together. But I was not expecting to find a purpose to serve my very own community through the issues I had faced in finding employment. The difficulty forced me to dive into entrepreneurship, launching and scaling many companies until I found my true calling to launch the AMSE.
Wendy: Is there a special time or experience when you realized this life was different and that you were part of something meaningful beyond yourself?
Moni: Yes, honestly every day. I just can't believe how many spouses are part of our program. Learning, growing, and connecting because of our program and its resources and support. If I can just encourage and motivate one milspouses I have done my job for the day.
Wendy: What advice do you have for the new military spouse?
Moni: Don't let the overwhelm destroy your joy and gifts. Many times, I am guilty of this. We set aside our needs and desires to support our service members and our country. But not anymore with the resources and support out there it has proven that it can be done. So, find a way to make it work for you your way and keep it at it. No one's journey looks the same and that ok. It's not meant to.
Wendy: What does being a Military Spouse mean to you?
Moni: It means that I am never alone. My tribe runs coast to coast and continent to continent. No matter where I go will have a neighbor, friend, and support network willing to lend a hand, address, or shoulder when I need it.
Thank you to the all the military spouses that have loved and supported an Airmen, Guardian, Marine, Sailor, Coast Guardsman and Soldier. Your sacrifice and commitment does not go unnoticed.
About Moni: Moni, founder of the Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs™ is a multi-venture entrepreneur and Active Duty Air Force Spouse. She is the owner of Dog Tags and Heels, a PR and social media agency where she works with national and celebrity clients to build brand evangelism and social impact. Her most notable work has been with Blue Star Families, Heroes at Home, and Military Spouse Advocacy Network and Semper K9.
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