I’m sure you’ve all heard different stories and sides of being a military wife. All from actual military wives and others who seem to think they know what it’s like. Let me break it down for ya in one word…challenging. Yes, it’s rewarding. Yes, it’s prideful. Yes, it’s [extremely] frustrating at times. But the best world I can think of is challenging. It’s challenging being away from home, extended family, and umm hello Whataburger. It’s challenging moving from place to place, meeting new people, adjusting in general. Now, full disclaimer here, I by no means have been through the mud and the muck of the military life. My husband has been in for 4 1/2 years now. Not long in some minds. But we’ve been through it all together. Boot camp, schoolhouse, the fleet and beyond. Throughout those years I have learned so many things. Like seriously too many to put on this post. Three things stuck out to me though that I want to share.
1. Have realistic expectations
Don’t expect to get anything you want just because your husband or wife is in the military. Many wonderful places offer discounts and freebies for those in the military and their spouses, but don’t ever expect this. No high horses here people!
Also, don’t set such high expectations about where you’re moving to, who you’ll be living next to and the amount of time you’ll get to spend with your significant other. One way or the other, you’re gonna be let down. Be thankful for what you have and set realistic expectations for yourself and your family. I can’t tell you how many times my husband said he’d be home at a certain time and we didn’t see him until after dinner. It’s the life. It’s what you signed up for. It sucks, but you get through it. And you love each other through it. God never gives us anything we can’t handle, right? So don’t pile things on yourself and make your life so much more stressful than it needs to be. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way. More than once…
2. Time is valuable
Quality time is essential for families in the military. I can’t stress it enough y’all. Our husbands and wives are gone for days, weeks, months at a time. Deployments, field ops, schoolhouses, boot camp. It’s rough. And can take a toll on a growing, little family. Value the precious time you have. Not only with your spouse, but your families as well.
Confession time…my husband and I love to go home to Texas. But we always dread it a little too. Our time is always so scrunched when we go home and every minute of every day is planned out to see someone or go somewhere. It’s exhausting to say the least. We normally don’t spend more than 10 days back home so our time is so valuable to everyone. In the midst of our frustration and exhaustion, we have to stop and think about others. About our parents, grandparents and siblings. Our friends and our extended families. They miss us so much, as do we. And we are blessed enough to be able to visit from time to time. We have to remind ourselves not to take that time for granted. To soak in every minute our sweet babies get to spend in their great-grandma’s arms. Because one day we will look back at those pictures and be so grateful we had that time. So if you’re a new milso reading this blog, please never forget that! Time is valuable. It is precious. Always use it wisely.
3. Always be humble and kind
I’m going to tell you a short little story about our last neighborhood to illustrate this one for y’all….we had been in our home for about 2 1/2 months when our son was born. He was delivered 11 weeks early at 29 weeks gestation [a story I will save for another time] and our lives were completely turned around. Our sweet, amazing angel of a neighbor watched our dogs for us for about 3 months while we were basically living in the hospital. We hadn’t even officially met her yet and she was so kind and willing to help us with anything we needed. Oh and she had a 2 year old and a 1 month old newborn at the time AND her husband was gone at the time. I mean, if that’s not a sign from God that you’re in the right place I don’t know what is. Fast-forward a few months into the new year, when our other neighbors moved in on the other side of us. Let me tell you how rude I was the first time this wonderful woman came and introduced herself to me. I totally wasn’t meaning to be, but I was the worst! I was outside with my littles. My oldest was playing with chalk and my baby boy was swingin’ away in his rocker. I was on the phone with my momma when she came over to introduce herself. What I should’ve done was say “Oh, hey mom let me call you right back.” But no, I’m a dumbie and stayed on the phone acting like I had a total wall up and kept trying to talk to two people at the same time. What the heck?! Anyways, those two women have now become two of my very close friends and two women I know I can call at the drop of a hat to help me with absolutely anything. They each have beautiful families that we have grown close with and have grown to love like family. Without those women I would have stayed cooped up in my house with my kiddos all day everyday. They got us out, they got us active and having fun. They never judge me, no matter how crazy or annoying or fussy my kids get. They each have two kids of their own, so they get it. It’s amazing what God does and who He puts into your life at just the right time. After my son was born I was sad and homesick. A LOT. These ladies made me feel at home. And I don’t know what I would do without them or their families in my life now. My kiddos have friends for life and I’m so, so grateful for them. They are the definition of being humble and kind. You never know who lives just right next door. Granted, it could be some weirdo. But it could also be that person. Your person who gets you through the days and gives you that 30 minutes of adult interaction that you so desperately needed. You ladies are the real MVP.
I mean, c’mon, who wouldn’t wanna live next to these cuties?!
Quite honestly, this could apply to anyone, anywhere. Not just military spouses. Don’t let the stereotypes of what military life is ruin your perception of us. We are a family. We are there for each other through all of it. It’s challenging. But it’s worth it.