(Reprinted with permission from Savas-Beatie)
An Interview with Mollie Gross, author of
Confessions of a Military Wife
SB: Thank you for discussing your book with us today, Mollie. Why did you decide to write a book about your experience as a military wife?
MG: I was a hot mess when I first got married. I had no idea what was going on around me on that military base. I was petrified I was going to get water boarded for wearing flip flops to the commissary! The new generation needed an updated guidebook. I felt like I had to learn the hard way on how to assimilate to the military lifestyle, and humor helped me. I thought maybe I could help someone else learn from my mistakes and use humor to navigate the new situations. I also felt like I needed to preserve my memories like my grandma did for me.
SB: How did your grandmother preserve her memories? Why did that inspire you?
MG: My “Granma Ruby” married my grandfather before he deployed during WWII. When I met and then married Jon, she was my role model. I did not know at first how to be a military wife, but her example from 60 years before inspired me. She looked at her role as a military wife as a job. She told me that even though I did not get medals or wear ribbons that I served, too. That if I was happy, Jon would be happy, and a happy leader can focus on his job 100%. That saves lives. When Jon was deployed to a war zone and was so far away, and I was far from home, she understood and was there for me whenever I called. She understood the lifestyle, the choices we made, the stresses. She knew what it was like to be married during war and separation that followed. She had seven children and lived all over the world while he served in the USAF.
SB: How did other military wives help you with the information in the book?
MG: My friends and neighbors gave me permission to share their stories. And in sharing their experiences, they have also helped so many of the next generation of military wives. I learned a lot from my friends on base.
SB: Why do you think humor is a good outlet?
MG: There have been so many studies done on the healing power of laughter. When we laugh it actually creates a positive reaction inside our bodies. Endorphins are released. When we laugh at stress, we also own the stress instead of it owning us.
SB: Why is it better to laugh than cry?
MG: Unless you had a baby and pee your pants every time you laugh, I think it is always better to laugh than cry . . . or pack an extra pair of panties in your purse. I do!
SB: How do you think your book will affect military wives?
MG: From the reviews on Amazon and also the feedback I have received on social media and online, I know the book has already positively affected so many women. I hear from them all the time that I helped them make friends, get a better attitude, survive deployment. It is an honor to not only make someone laugh, but to help them as well.
SB: What was difficult about writing the book?
MG: I can’t spell at all. What a nightmare. It is embarrassing how bad it is. So I just gave up and wrote. It is easy to write a book. The editing and process after, that’s the hard part. Thank god for Sarah. She helps me with most of the hard part.
SB: How do you handle what you can’t control, especially when you said almost everything is out of your control?
MG: I stress out easily. My go-to response is to freak out. The first time I tried to upload to Instagram I had a nervous breakdown that resulted in a tantrum that my 1-year-old could not even compete with. Not my brightest moment. At the time, I was angry, crying. Two minutes later, I was laughing so hard at how silly I was being. That is why I have had to recondition myself to choose to find moments in life to laugh at. It isn’t always easy, but once you do find the moments to laugh at, it changes the perspective.
SB: How does marriage change when your husband is at war?
MG: You are on autopilot. You are relying on your vows and a promise to God to fulfill your word to stay married. When he got back, I learned really quickly not to come out of the shower with a towel on my head. [Lauging.]
SB: What makes your book unique?
MG: Besides confessing I pooped my pants? I doubt that happened anywhere else. Honestly, it is the only book about having a husband deployed in combat that is funny and positive. Yes, there are serious moments in the book. Yes, you might cry, but the overall tone and message of the book is to be positive and laugh. There is no other book like it out there.
SB: Did anything surprise you when you wrote the book?
MG: I did not think it would start a tribe. I had no idea it would get a cult-like following. Women have told me they read it four or five times. They have asked me to sign their Kindle editions. It’s nuts and flattering.
SB: I understand there is a lot of great additional content in the new, updated and expanded paperback edition of your book. What did you include and why?
MG: My fans have given me so much. I wanted to give back to them. Because of my fans, I have toured all over the U.S., speaking and doing stand up. Now, I am launching a podcast for them. In addition to all the projects I am doing, I wanted to let them know that I am a mom now. There have been lots of changes, and much of it because of my fans. They always ask for more, so I wanted to share how they can get more of me: podcast, social media, etc. I also included info I got from my fans. Basically their responses to the book: what tools and feedback they had to share, book club questions, a place to keep memories, and feedback from other military wives. I really am so thankful to all of my fans. I hope they enjoy these additions.
SB: I’m sure they will. Thank you for talking with us today, and best of luck!
MG: You’re welcome.