Cover To Cover…The Mocha Manual…

Your husband lives with his uncle. It’s an interesting relationship.

His uncle tells him what to do and where to go. Your husband is obviously a grown man, but he must get permission from his uncle to go almost anywhere and do practically everything. This uncle says “Jump” and your man says “How high?” And the most interesting thing is, they both think it’s all good.


You haven’t been married long, and you really don’t know if you can live with this uncle in the picture or not. But with “The Mocha Manual to Military Life” by Kimberly Seals-Allers and Pamela M. McBride, you and your man and Uncle Sam will do just fine.

So that man in uniform caught your eye and then he caught your heart. You’re looking forward to a future together. Just you, him and the U.S. government.

As an MS (Military Spouse), you’ll take on some challenges that will be difficult and some that will be fun. You’ll learn, you’ll travel, and yes, you’ll be lonely sometimes. But there are things you can do to make life easier for both of you and for your future family.

Because your existence will, for expediency’s sake, be tied to your husband’s rank, you’ll need to learn as much as you can about the Armed Forces, particularly rank, structure and what’s expected as the wife of a man in uniform. Understanding protocol is key to your sanity and your husband’s career.

And on that note, just because you’re an MS doesn’t mean you can’t have a career, too.

Be ready to gather lots of paperwork and then gather more. Understand that freebies exist in the military, but the government moves s-l-o-w-l-y. Know that being separated from your military spouse will happen more often than you think, which means, basically, that you’ll be a “single parent” a lot of the time. Be willing to take care of things yourself, be flexible, and ask for help when you need it. Learn that CP time is totally unacceptable. And those infamous moves? Yes, you’ll have a lot of them but the rewards definitely outweigh the hassles.


Someone had the good idea to tell it real, offer advice from the trenches, gather helpful information into one bound book, and present it in a useful way. Finally.

“The Mocha Manual to Military Life” is, foremost, written for the benefit of African-American wives and service members. Seals-Allers and McBride offer information specifically meant for women of color, and they address racism in the ranks (among other things). But don’t let that deter you from using this book because the vast majority of information—including a glossary of military terms, a list of resources, and more—is useful for any new military spouse, no matter what race, and that includes men.

(“The Mocha Manual to Military Life” by Kimberly Seals-Allers and Pamela M. McBride c.2009, Amistad, $14.99, 365 pages.)

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