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Living The Military Wife Life

As a military wife and mom of 2, Roxanne Matammu learns to deal with taking care of the household and while strengthening her marriage while her husband is deployed.


Roxanne: So, I mean, we’ve gone through a lot of stuff. But, one of the hardest things that we’ve had to go through as a couple, and also for me as a mom, was um -Rob had deployed early October, and maybe just a few weeks later, we were surprised to find out that we were actually pregnant! But, unfortunately, the pregnancy didn’t last. We ended up losing the baby,

Mariel Gutierrez: Parenting isn’t easy. It’s challenging and frustrating, but it’s also rewarding and inspiring. We just need a few reminders sometimes. Parents, dads, mamas, you’re not alone. Let’s do this parenting thing together. I’m Mariel Gutierrez… 

Jewell Buenavista: And I’m Jewell Buenavista. We are the tired but inspired moms, and you’re listening to the Faith and Family podcast. A Christian family community that aims to promote Christian values for every phase of your family life. 

Mariel: So, Jewell, the other day – I have to tell you just a quick story – I was busy, right? Going between meetings, and deadlines, and spreadsheets. And, of course, homeschooling… still! That I completely forgot to look up and cook dinner. 

Jewell: [Laughs] 

Mariel: And, unfortunately, it happens frequently. [Laughs] 

Jewell: Especially these days, right? 

Mariel: Exactly! Especially these days. I have no sense of time, it’s always dark, so I just keep going. But, you know, fortunately for me, my husband swoops in. By about 4:30, if he can see that I’m still, you know, in a meeting or doing something, I don’t even have to ask – he’ll cook, you know? He actually did that these past few days. Yesterday, what did he cook yesterday? Yesterday, he made clam chowder! Today, he made kalua pork! 

Jewell: Yum!

Mariel: I know! You know? So, I’d totally be lost without him. I think it’s a good reason that God made parenting a two person job, you know – marriage, sharing the household stuff – a two person job between husband and wife!

Jewell: [Laughs] Seriously, Mar! I can barely take a trip to Walmart by myself. I mean, it’s really sad. 

Mariel: I give credit to those that have to do it on their own. Like, I can’t imagine… So, Jewell, today, we have Roxanne Matammu, a mother of two sweet and energetic boys, who is also a military wife! 

Jewell: Mmm! 

Mariel: So, when Roxanne’s husband is deployed – his name is Robinson – he’s gone for months at a time, and she’s left to champion a home base.

Jewell: Oh wow…

Mariel: I know! And, you know, I’m only cleaning bathrooms like, sometimes? [Laughs] There’s a schedule for it, but I’ll also forget, you know? But, she’s doing everything! She’s doing the cleaning, cooking, home cooking – oh home cooking? Well, yes – home-schooling, biking, working, laundry… everything falls on her plate! Roxanne’s on with us now, and she’s going to talk about her experience as a military wife. Hi, Roxanne! 

Roxanne Matammu: Hi Mar! Hi Jewell! 

Mariel: Hi! I know it’s like, morning there, currently, in Japan, right? 

Roxanne: It is. It’s about… almost 10 o’clock. 

Mariel: Oh, nice. 

Roxanne: Yeah, it’s early in the day. 

Mariel: So, how’s your day going so far? 10 A.M. in Japan – I’m so jealous! 

Roxanne: Around this time, I mean, the boys are already at school, so, it’s kind of my “me” time. It’s nice and quiet inside the house. [Laughs] 

Mariel: Oh, niiiiice… 

Roxanne: It only lasts for a little bit, though. [Laughs] So I take advantage. 

Mariel: Right, right. Yes, absolutely! You deserve it! Tell us about your boys! What are they like? 

Roxanne: They’re very… they’re very… different! You know? One for example, Rylan, is my oldest, and he loves to talk to anybody. No one is a stranger to him, and he loves, loves being around people. As opposed to my youngest one, who is like the complete opposite. He’s very careful who he talks to. We used to joke around about how he won’t say hi to you unless, you know, you’re in his circle of people that he trusts. So, they are very completely opposite boys, but they… honestly they just, they have their moments! But they’re very, very sweet mama’s boys. 

Mariel: Ohhh! You’re so blessed then. [Laughs] So, I’m going to jump right into it, because me and Jewell were just talking about how we don’t think we could be, you know, military wives. But, as I understand, you and Robe were long distance before you got married, right? 

Roxanne: Yes, yes. He was early on in his military career, so I know already that if we were to get married, that was a lifestyle change that was going to happen – for me at least! You know, when you marry into the military, you already kind of have an idea of what their job entails, like, in general. When we say military, it’s like, they leave for a certain amount of time, but I don’t think you really know what you get into until you’re actually in it! It’s kind of like when you get married? 

Mariel: Oh, just like marriage, yeah.

Roxanne: Yeah! 

Jewell: Roxanne, what’s the longest Rob has been deployed? 

Roxanne: Oh my goodness. Umm… I was actually thinking about this the other day, and I calculated this last deployment was the longest that he was on. It was slated to be for 6 months only, because it’s just part of the cycle that they go through with his job, but it ended up being almost 8 months. It was short of 8 months by like, 2 weeks, I think. 

Mariel and Jewell: Oh wow. 

Roxanne: Yeah, so it was unexpectedly extended. But then, the thing is, in the military, that’s… 

Mariel: Normal? 

Roxanne: … expected for things to be unexpectedly extended for whoever knows how long. There’s just – you never really can guarantee anything that the military says, because it changes constantly. We never know what’s going to happen. 

Jewell: You know, we have a lot of military wives listening to this podcast, and I’m sure they can relate to the frustrations, you know? Tell us about a time that Rob was deployed and it was difficult for you? Can you think of examples that you can share with us? 

Roxanne: Oh my gosh. There have been so many! 

Mariel: [Laughs] She’s like, which one? 

Roxanne: We’ve been through natural disasters without him, we’ve been through a tornado without him, we’ve been to a couple ER visits with just me and the boys, and Robs deployed, or he’s on what they call a TDY, which is also kind of like a shorter deployment. Let’s see… oh! I’ve even had our pipes burst in our house while he was gone.

Mariel and Jewell: Nooo…

Roxanne: So, I mean, we’ve gone through a lot of stuff. But, one of the hardest things that we’ve had to go through as a couple, and also for me as a mom, was um – this happened, actually, last year – and… it really, like, it really showed… I felt like it really showed that… Ok, I am a strong mom. I can get through stuff! But, last year, Rob had deployed early October, and maybe just a few weeks later, we were surprised to find out that we were actually pregnant! It was a surprise, definitely a big surprise to us, but it was something that we had been praying for for a long time, so we were happy with the surprise. But, unfortunately, the pregnancy didn’t last. We ended up losing the baby, and, mind you, Rob had already deployed. Once they deploy, there’s no way that they would be able to come home unless, you know, there was a death in the family, but when I say death in the family, I mean like, their parents, or the kids, or anything like that. But this wasn’t one that would really validate him to come home. And so, that was hard. Because it was the first time that it had happened to us, you know, and not something that we thought would ever happen to us… 

Mariel and Jewell: Yeah… 

Roxanne: But just going through the motions of… physically, going through the miscarriage alone, and without him as my support, and at the same time, having to put on a happy face, and a strong face in front of the boys was probably thee hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do. 

Mariel and Jewell: Yeah… 

Roxanne: For Rob, it was hard for him, too, because he did want to come home, and help, and be there, but he just couldn’t, and it was almost like… ok, this is something I have to [do / go through]

Jewell: Like, he felt helpless

Roxanne: Yeah. 

Mariel: So, you know, going through situations like that – not just, you know, the calamities, the tornadoes, but even the moments when you want to lean on someone, and they physically just can’t be there – how does your faith help you, both, get through things together while you’re apart? 

Roxanne: Oh my gosh. That… I think that’s the only thing that kept us, you know, strong through… that situation, really, and any situation, because we… we both believe that, you know, God’s not going to give us anything that we can’t handle. And, as long as we trust God, that He’ll help us, that’s really what keeps us strong, you know? And we, as a family, set devotional prayers with the kids, and also, just with the both of us. I think it’s really important to share. You know, we’re praying, we recently started doing this thing where one person prays… 

Mariel: Right 

Roxanne: But each of us will say, oh, can you pray for this… for me? Or can you add this to the prayer? You know what I mean? 

Mariel: Yeah

Roxanne: Because I want them to know [that] each of us have our own things that maybe we think is hard, that we need help with. And hearing it from somebody else in our family, they know that they’re not alone, and we all trust God. That God is going to be the One that is going to get us through it! And so, that’s something that we started doing. But just our faith, I mean, it’s really what keeps us strong, honestly. Through deployments, through anything. This military life, a lot of it [are things] that you cannot control, and so we have to leave everything up to God, you know? If we have to go through something hard, God [wants] us to see that for a reason. And, it’s funny, now that I think about it, that’s something Rob and I always say, like, well, there’s a reason for this, we just need to get through it and keep praying. I feel like we’ve said that, like, a million times! [Laughs] Because of all the things we had to go through! 

Everyone: [Laughs] 

Mariel: That’s amazing. So, this whole time, you guys don’t miss prayers? Your whole family? Even when he’s deployed? 

Roxanne: No. 

Mariel: Do you pray together? 

Roxanne: Yeah! 

Jewell: That is awesome. 

Roxanne: He purposely chooses a schedule like that, so that at the end of the day, when the boys are getting ready for bed, he’s also getting ready for bed, and so we have our family prayer together. 

Jewell: Awww, I love it! 

Roxanne: But, I mean, it’s not always possible, but that’s always what he wants to be able to do, because, you know, being away for that long, it messes with your routines and things. And so, try to do everything we can to keep the routine as is, even though he’s on the other side of the world. We just try to keep the boys in that same routine as much as possible. 

Jewell: Well, that’s conscious parenting right there. 

Mariel: Right! Yeah. What other tips do you have? [These] are actually good nuggets here. What other tips do you have for other military wives whose husbands are going to leave them for a bit just because of an assignment? 

Roxanne: I think the number one thing, you know, is to have your devotional prayer and keep it, you know? Another thing is to always have open communication. Letting them know even the smallest things. Sometimes, I’ll just text him and say oh, I’m eating flaming hot cheetos or something! [Laughs] And then it’s like, you know, just little things, like just keeping the communication open. They want to be a part of your daily life still, you know? 

Jewell: Yeah 

Mariel: Right

Roxanne: They still want to know what’s going on. And even if it’s like, like I said, the littles things to the biggest things, they want to be a part of it. And, I think, that’s what keeps your family, and your marriage strong, as well. 

Mariel and Jewell: Those are great tips 

Jewell: I love it, love it! But you know, I mean… I watch you, Roxanne, you’re also on social media with a handle @bravebeautylife

Roxanne: [Laughs] 

Mariel: I love it! 

Jewell: And you spread so much positivity about going after your passion, being a conscious parent, and just an all around good Christian! I mean, how did “brave beauty” even come about?

Roxanne: [Laughs] Every woman should feel brave enough to be themselves, and to… like, ok! This is kind of silly, but, it’s like… you know, sometimes [laughs] and it almost seems superficial! But I really believe, really, the way we look and feel really can affect the way we are the rest of the day, you know? 

Jewell: Oh yes! 

Mariel: Mhmm

Roxanne: Putting on a red lipstick. Most of the time, women won’t put on a red lipstick because they’re worried that, oh that person thinks “oh, that’s too much” you know? Or “it doesn’t look good on her” or, you know, whatever. Those are the kind of things that we kind of tell ourselves, but really, they’re not true! And so, I want women to feel like, it’s ok to try those… that lipstick! Or, it’s ok to try that… um, outfit, or that hairstyle, or whatever. 

Mariel: Yeah 

Roxanne: It’s ok to be like, hey, I’m going to do it! I’m going to be brave, and I’m going to do it, and feel confident, and try it, you know… 

Mariel: I like that! 

Roxanne: It started out with that, and then I would tell stories of things that I’ve done that I feel like I hope… hopefully, if I share this story, then more women, or, you know, moms will say, “ok, if she’s a mom, if she can do it, I can do it, too!” You know? Just be brave, and do it beautifully, and feel beautiful doing it. That’s kind of the whole feel behind that. [Laughs] 

Mariel: I love it! 

Jewell: That’s right, mama! That’s it, I’m going to wear my red lipstick for my Zoom meeting tomorrow! 

Mariel: I know! And I saw her feed! She even had a blonde wig! It was so cute! 

Everyone: [Laughs] 

Roxanne: It’s funny, because those are things that I never would do, but I’m like, you know what? I can do this! 

Mariel: Yeah! Beautiful. I love it. You’re such an inspiration! I loved having you on today. I even saw your post today about the quick makeup, and then I did my makeup. [Laughs] 

Roxanne: Yay! 

Mariel: I know. I had no meetings today, but I was like, you know what… 

Roxanne: That makes such a difference, you know? It’s so little, but it makes a difference. 

Mariel: You go from no eyebrows, to eyebrows, and conquering the world, so… 

Everyone: [Laughs] 

Mariel: Yeah. So, you know. We wanted to thank you, because you know, it really is… you’re such an inspiration, you have such a positive outlook on things, um, and you know. So, thank you for being with us today, Roxanne. Hopefully, our listeners can learn a few things from this discussion. 

Jewell: And, you know, thank you so much! And I hope all of us can exude brave beauty! I love that! 

Mariel: Yeah

Roxanne: Yes! 

Jewell: Thank you so much, I hope all of us can exude brave beauty as much as you do. I mean, did I even use that correctly? That’s it, you’re going to start seeing my hashtag: #bravebeauty. 

Everyone: [Laughs] 

Roxanne: [Laughs] I love it. Thank you so much for having me! It’s nice to have other adults, or, other moms to talk to during the day. [Laughs] 

Mariel: I love it. All right, well… Thank you, everyone, for listening to this episode of Faith and Family. If you enjoy listening to us talk, cry, laugh, build each other up, you can download more on Google Podcast, iHeartRadio, and Apple Podcast, under Faith and Family. Please, leave us a review, or just say hi! Take care and stay safe!