Military spouses are often called terms like , “dependapotomuses” or lazy. Sure there are a few bad apples in the bushel that can give us all a bad name. However, there are many bad apples in the civilian world too! I hate these terms since I have my own rank to wear that I earned by serving. To me Military Spouse Appreciation Day is silly, since I think spouses and service members work hard everyday with different missions. Military spouses have to give up their careers, homes, and hold down the home front as they support their spouses protecting the country. It is hard to constantly be changing careers, states, and countries every few years and try to maintain stability for the children. That is why many of us do not “work”. People say things, “like your spouse is gone but they are in the states” as if their mission is not hard on the military family. However, they forget to realize kids do not care where their parent is in the world. They just realize they are not home to tuck them into bed or wake them up in the morning. Spouses can breath for a moment knowing their spouse is safe when they are away stateside. However, they know that it is only a matter of time that can change. I have seen many successful military couples and families. I have seen even more dysfunctional military families.
I have learned that military spouses that succeed for their family all possess a few attributes.
- They are STRONG. I am not just talking physically since many have to hold up their entire family. I am talking emotionally. Even in the states, depending on the training or mission, you may not hear from your spouse for weeks. That means decision making, and tough situations are entirely on you to handle.
2. They are RESILIENT. Obstacles are always met in life. Normally, couples meet and tackle them together. Military spouses handle problem after problem life hands at them with grace. Things like moving cross country while pregnant or delivering a baby while your spouse is out of the country is just another day. Moving cross country while driving 7 kids alone for 31+ hours 2.5 months after a c-section is done with a smile. Workarounds and prioritization are second nature. If you are not multi-tasking, you are bored.
3. They have POKER FACES. Yes, I’m sure you thought of a few more military spouse jokes. However, it is true. This week, has been insane and stressful. In addition to keeping everybody alive. Our house is still for sale, I keep driving an hour+ each way to check on it, I had 12 hours of clinical, 30+ hours of homework/papers, 12 hours in class, our van/only vehicle is broken indefinitely (lots of fire/smoke when driving), money is ridiculously tight with all of the weird setbacks lately, our AC at the new house is broken and its 90 degrees out, the fence is not installed yet and it was suppose to happen 2 months ago, the dog ran away on my way to a test (I found her), my workout routine has left me struggling to move my body, Conner has had a lot going on at school, Conner had a choir concert, and the rest of the kids have been mischievous…I mean 2 and 3 years old. I may be on the verge of stressed, overwhelmed tears. However, when I finally talk to Michael for a 15 minute phone call if I am lucky. My voice is stoic and I say, “This week, I have been very busy but all is well.” when he asks how things are going. That is not to say we keep secrets from each other since open communication is integral. However, he has a mission to focus on away from home and does not need to be distracted by what is happening at home. My mission is to grow happy, healthy kids and hold it all together for him to return home. My Mom has been a huge help this week as we adapted to my new school schedule. She has been keeping up with the 3 loads of laundry a day! Talk about lifesaver. I really appreciated the help!
4. They have PATIENCE. I am a huge calendar and list maker. It helps calm a little of my anxiety. I love to have a plan and schedule. However, with time (okay really 5 minutes into military life), I learned to make a plan but expect for it to change a billion times up until the last possible second. Patience also goes with your children as they adapt to the new schools, new sports, new churches, new friends, and their parent being away again.
To all the military spouses out there, know you are appreciated. Without you, they could not keep protecting all of us. We feel blessed to stand alongside you. Also, for the 99% of us that are baller military spouses, we request the 1% of “dependas” to put down the designer handbag and work hard at home like the rest of us.
***Side note, I don’t even own a purse ;).