LEXINGTON, Ky. –Military spouses face many unique challenges, including finding and retaining employment and child care during frequent relocations.
Retired Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, a former military spouse herself, talks to a military spouse stationed at Fort Campbell about the rewards and challenges of being part of a military family in one of the latest “On Duty with Amy McGrath” podcast episodes.
“The sacrifices for me personally come with me having to put my career on hold and constantly be switching in that avenue,” said Marysa, who has a two-year-old daughter. “My husband left when she was only three weeks old, so I was a first-time mom. My closest family was 2,000 miles away and it was obviously really difficult figuring out the whole parenting thing, especially being alone and worrying about my husband’s safety while he was away.”
McGrath, a mother of three children, said she experienced a similar situation after having her first son, Teddy, while her husband Erik, who was a Navy C-130 pilot, was deployed.
“It was so hard…it was one of the biggest challenges of my life, taking care of this newborn by myself,” McGrath said.
Marysa, who works in the health care industry, advocates for military spouses who are “underemployed,” meaning they may not work full time or in a job related to their education and training.
“I learned through my experience in getting to know other career-oriented military spouses that it’s just not unemployment that hurts us…but underemployment,” Marysa said. “So for a lot of military families who are already struggling financially, you have one spouse who can’t find the work they are trained in and that puts additional stress on the family.”
Marysa said the COVID-19 outbreak presents another hurdle. A federal study found that when the national unemployment rate was 4%, unemployment for military spouses was six times the national average. COVID-19 has drastically increased unemployment rates.
As part of the military families podcast, McGrath also speaks with a veteran who flew F/A-18 fighter jets like McGrath. The veteran is currently a pilot for UPS and talks about the challenges of being a former female fighter pilot and a logistics pilot during the current COVID-19 outbreak.
Other podcast episodes released include:
Supporting food banks during the COVID-19 outbreak. McGrath speaks with Feeding Kentucky and Henderson Christian Community Outreach food bank. McGrath has raised over $50,000 for food banks statewide.
Participating in a virtual half marathon to benefit hunger relief and #TeamKentucky. McGrath speaks with the organizer of the KY Shines Virtual Half Marathon and a northern Kentucky resident who ran with McGrath on her team.
Highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on Kentucky’s opioid epidemic. McGrath speaks with author Dr. Kimberly Luse of northern Kentucky and former UK and NBA basketball player Rex Chapman.
McGrath will be releasing new episodes in the coming weeks. To listen to the podcast series, go to amymcgrath.com/podcast.