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Guest Post: Top Tips from another veteran military spouse

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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Guest Post: Top Tips from another veteran military spouse

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Guest Post: Top Tips from another veteran military spouse

Military spouses = stone wall (mutual support)
Many of you already know my good friend Susanna who runs Military Duty Stations.  It is a wonderful site that she has put together, detailing information on just about every military post you can think of, including some obscure ones you may have never heard of.  How does she do it all?  She doesn't....she gets her visitors to write in entries, and I think it's awesome that so many contribute...BUT she is always looking for new and fresh information, so please take the time to go help and leave your comment on your current duty station, no matter how small.  We can't expect Susanna to do it all alone, and I think we can all benefit from her awesome work!

And without further delay, Susanna would like to share some of her veteran military spouse tips, as she has been on this bus herself while.

When you are a part of the military life there will be plenty of moments when you are alone or lonely. You will have to deal with the situation, hopefully without becoming bitter but finding new ways to live through it. Attitude is half the battle. Here are a few suggestions.

Forget planning anything. If you decide to plan then make sure that you realize your spouse might or might not be available for the event. Trying to find a date for our wedding was fairly challenging and one of the first lessons for me to learn.

Become independent
Yes, the military brings us spouses up to be Type A, go-getters. Sometimes this seems to backfire on them. Seriously, we are married but we have to know what to do and how to do it without having our spouse there. I remember that I have taken myself to surgery or childbirth before. Unfortunately, this tough exterior comes with a price as I have noticed to have little patience with some civilian wives. I am very sure that most of you know what I am talking about.

Holidays, birthdays, important dates
As mentioned before, planning is an issue when you live a military life. It is even more devastating when your loved one is missing an important event in your life. I believe that in my 18 years of marriage my husband missed...I guess half. However, I am not complaining, as I know that there are ladies out there who have a much lower percentage of their husbands being available.  Holidays have taken on a different dimension. While birthdays and Christmas are still very important, things have changed. Christmas is when we can celebrate it as a family and not necessarily as a date. Birthdays...well, you do the best you can. It will be helpful to look at these dates differently.

Don't buy into the drama
Drama, there is a lot of it. Not sure why. Is it because most of us spouses are female and drama like that might be a female trait?  Is it an outlet for spouses? I am not sure.  Seems that sometimes the drama comes from hurt feelings. Sometimes it's a part of old baggage, when things only seemed right when there was a lot of upheaval in life. I do believe though that we, I , have to do the right thing. I want to grow, do it better. I want to accept others' opinion, even if I don't agree with it. I don't want to be hateful, but put good vibes and some love out in this world in hopes that this goodwill spreads. You try it, it will make a lot of things easier.

Finding new ways of finding together
After frequent or long-term separations it will become important to discover new ways to find your way back together.  Don't be too hard on yourself.....but know that you are stronger than you think. If your gut tells you one thing there is a chance you are right and you need to go with your gut until the situation is resolved. Don't take NO for an answer until you are satisfied. Disclaimer: You might step  on a few toes.

Seek support, support others!

Don't try and fight a situation by yourself. Find and join a support network, help if you can.

Thanks Susanna for those inspiring words.  It sure gives us something all to think about whether we've been in military life for 30 days or 30 years!  Thanks for your words of wisdom!

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Anonymous Julie said...

Independence...among the enlisted soldiers' wives in my FRG I see remarkably little. I'm having a rough time adapting precisely because I am so independent. I refuse to be treated as some accessory to my man's lifestyle, I'm not helpless and I don't live solely to support him. We each do things. Important things. We support EACH OTHER in these things. But when I've gone to our FRG, I realized quick that it was a waste of time for me. Out of control kids running around, and overweight women gossiping about who was cheating on whom. Demands to contribute to events and activities that one could only do if one didn't work for a living. It was like a holding pen for mindless, bored young females with nothing to do between babies. I found the whole thing repulsive. If this is my support network, I guess I'm doing it on my own. And whenever I find a military spouse with any sort of maturity or intellect, they seem to be married to an officer and unfortunately that means that apparently we can't be friends because I'm some lower caste of human being or something, married to a mere NCO. I'm just really sad and frustrated that, while I read stuff that is encouraging (like here) my experience has shown me otherwise. I wonder if there are other enlisted men's wives more like me, who have similarly rejected the FRG and live off post, and if so where I can find them?? Scared to death we might get sent somewhere where I actually need support, if this is what it's like...

July 22, 2011 at 9:46 PM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

Julie sounds like you've been in while and been bitten by the big negative. I can only assume you've been in units with a very large proportion of brand new military wives who are still maturing and fresh out of HS. It is up to us older wives to set the example and mentor these young ladies. I see no rank when I look at wives. I truly have friends in all ranks and I do sometimes catch myself rolling my eyes internally with my friends who are just starting out so I mostly try to mentor them. Please give your next FRG a chance and when the wives who've been there and seen that, they have no good choice other than to jump in and join you. Believe me that this works if you are genuine!

July 24, 2011 at 8:54 PM  

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