by Brittany from AnchoredMommy.com
We are starting a new monthly series collaborating with military spouse bloggers and are thrilled to introduce our first guest: Brittany from AnchoredMommy.com. Brittany actually reached out to us first not knowing we were in the beginning stages of our collaboration planning and she was a perfect fit! A military spouse who moved from North Carolina to Kodiak, Alaska last year she knows all too well about the highs and lows of military life. Her blog follows her family's military journey and features stories, advice and humor on parenting, motherhood, recipes, fitness and of course, being a military spouse.
We hope you enjoy Brittany's "Lessons Learned as a Military Spouse" post below and don't forget to check out her blog (which happens to include a review of The January Six Box and a guest post by us too)!
Alana & Megan
Lessons Learned as a Military Spouse
The first 16 years of my life were spent being a military brat. My Dad was Active Duty Coast Guard but settled in North Carolina for his last twelve years of service. We didn’t have the typical military kid experience and only PCS’d twice during my childhood.
When I met my husband, he was in the same rate as my Dad had been, but that’s where the similarities ended. After four years in North Carolina, we were up for PCS and were stationed 5,000 miles away in Kodiak, AK. This was my first PCS as a spouse. Over the past two years I’ve learned that experiencing the military life as a spouse is completely different than as a child.
These 9 lessons are what I’ve learned through my experience as a military spouse.
- Spend Time Together When You Can - Whether deploying, going away for a school or having duty, military members are always busy and often away. Take advantage of the time you do have together, instead of worrying about the time you don’t.
- Home is where you are together - I’ve learned to make the best out of your duty station, whether you love the location or not. Our most recent PCS was to Kodiak, Alaska. When we found out our orders I was so upset. Kodiak is a small island that is only accessible by ferry or boat. It took me a while to realize that I didn’t need a Target or Panera to be happy, although let’s be real those do help, I only really need my family. I’ve learned that “home” is wherever the Coast Guard sends us together.
- Don’t take it personal that the military comes first - Sometimes it’s hard to not get upset when our spouses have military obligations that trump family obligations. I’ve had friends deliver their babies while their husbands were deployed. While stationed in North Carolina 8 months pregnant, and a hurricane approaching our town, my husband was sent out with a C-130 to another location where the plane would be safe to fly in case it was needed for any Search and Rescue (SAR) cases. I’m not going to lie and say I never complained, but I did understand that this wasn’t his doing.
- The importance of communication and trust - As in any relationship - communication and trust is key. When your spouse is a service member this is a million times more important. When we are unable to be with or talk to our spouse, this is what gives us faith and keeps us going. When you do talk, make sure to communicate about what’s been going on in your life and what they can tell you about theirs. Please understand that just because they say they will be able to talk on X date does not mean that it will happen. You have to trust the system and realize that there is a reason beyond their control that probably bothers them just as much, if not more, than it does you.
- When you least expect it life will become unpredictable - I’ve learned not to have expectations with the military. Whenever I do, something absolutely insane happens, like getting orders to Alaska when we expected Florida.
- Always have a backup plan - Never underestimate the military to not make things crazier when you need a plan to work. Going on vacation? If your spouse gets called into work are you going without them? Need your child picked up from daycare? Make sure to have a friend on speed dial that can help. Our spouses WANT to help, sometimes the military just needs them more.
- Be flexible - This goes along with the previous two reasons. I promise you, that if you’re flexible in your plans you will be SO much happier. It’s hard to set a plan in stone with a military spouse. Things happen and change daily that don’t allow our personal plans to work out. Going with the flow will make your life so much happier and easier.
- How to be Independent - The military will move you away from your friends and family every few years. By being independent you’ll be able to create a new life and happiness wherever you go. I met my husband when he was stationed in my hometown in NC. The hardest part about leaving NC was leaving all of my friends and family 5,000 miles behind. Due to my husbands work schedule, I wasn’t able to depend on him to experience discovering our new town with. By being independent I was able to step out, try new things and make amazing new friends. All of this has helped me adjust to living in a new environment.
- To Appreciate My Spouse - My husband has missed holidays, birthdays and other important events - not because he wanted to but because he had to. He works so hard for our family and does all he can to be there for the important events. I’ve learned not only to appreciate the fact that he works to provide for our family, but to also appreciate that he works to protect and serve our country.
- To Enjoy the Journey - Every couple has a different and unique journey. Enjoy the one that has been given to you and make the best out of the good and bad times. Things are not always going to go our way and more often than not we’re going to be making sacrifices, just like our service member. Enjoy the moments you have together, make new memories and enjoy the ride.