Clickin' Moms

Who Will I Be Without The Military?

download (4)When we were in Germany, the Military was pretty much all around us. There was no way to escape it. From where I shopped to where I lived to who my friends were. All Military, all the time. I could never quite relate to people who were married to a service member and yet didn’t feel so Military spouse like. It was all just who I was and what I was a part of.

Then we moved back to the United States, decided to live off post and four years later I feel a little differently. My life isn’t all Military all the time anymore. My kids go to school off post, we go to church off post, we have friends that are not in the Military and some who have never been in the Military. I only shop on post once or twice a month and I don’t really depend on the post for all of my needs. My husband goes to work, some days are longer than others but then he comes home to our civilian house.

As we look ahead to leaving the Army altogether I am not sure what it will be like. What will I feel when I know longer have access? When I am no longer apart of the Army wife “club?” When I no longer live that life?

I have had people tell me that it was so hard to not be a Military spouse anymore when their husband left the Military. Most of the people who have said this to me married into the Military or became a Military wife at 18-20 years of age. Some even grew up in the Military as well. The Military life is all they have ever known. I can see why leaving it would be a very big change.

I am not saying I won’t be sad or miss it or wish we were back in sometimes. I just think it is a little different for me. I was not raised in the Military and didn’t even know much about it until I was 26. My husband and I had about three years of married life before he joined. I think it will be different at first, I think it will be difficult but I think it will also just be a chapter in our lives that came to a close.

I don’t feel like my sole identity is being an Army wife even though I have been one for 8.5 years. Yet at the same time I know my husband’s time in the Army was more than just a job. It was a lifestyle and soon we will be living a different lifestyle. I have learned a lot over the last few years and I know this time has made me a much stronger person. For that I am very grateful.

 

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Having Children When Your Husband Is In The Military

As April is the month of the Military child, I figured I would blog about having children while being a Military spouse.

When my husband joined the Army, we had one 13 month old boy. I got pregnant with boy #2 about 5.5 months in. We had our #3 about 4.5 years in. So I had one child before the Army and two after. I know had we stopped with one child we would have had it a lot easier. Deciding not to have a child while in the Military is a choice some people make. It just wasn’t the right one for us.

487247_4872976988480_1591817069_nThe hard part about that is that we did have to deal with certain situations that we never had to even think about with my first. When I was pregnant with Daniel, my husband was always around. He didn’t leave to go to the field, he never had to work a 24 hour shift. If I needed him, he could be there.

When Daniel was born there was no question that Ben would be at the birth. All he would have had to do is call into work and tell them that I was in labor. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t have gotten out of. With Drew, he was deployed, coming home on R&R when I gave birth. Luckily my Mom was with me but as every Military spouse who has given birth without her husband knows, it really sucks when your husband has to miss a birth.

And the birth wasn’t all he missed. He went back to Iraq when he was 2.5 weeks old, kissed his newborn son goodbye in his crib and didn’t see him again until he was 11 months old. That is exactly what can happen when your husband is in the Military. There were families where the husband missed the entire pregnancy and then the birth. Sometimes you do get lucky and the husband can make it home in time but you can’t depend on that.

Those in the Military miss so many events in their children’s lives. That is just the way it is. They might have to be away at a school or in training. They might be deployed. You just have to assume it is possible that they could miss these things and you will just need to solo parent through it.

It is a difficult choice having children when one parent is in the Military. For some it is better to wait. To enjoy the Military life kid-free, get out, find new jobs and then start a family. For others, that just isn’t an option. For some the Military career can last 20-30 years. Raising children in the Military is just apart of the deal.

If you are someone who knows you will be having children while your husband is in the Military, although it might be rough, you can do it. The thing is, so many of us going through it. So many of us have had to deal with solo parenting, dealing with deployments and all of that. You will not be alone. There is a lot of support.

What about you? Did you have children while your spouse was in the Military? Are you waiting until they get out?

Where To Meet Army Wife Friends

I have been an Army wife for 8.5 years now. I have made many many friends over those years. Some of my Army wife friends and I will be friends forever. Even though we no longer live close. Facebook has helped me keep in contact with more people than I would have been able to do years ago. I get to keep up with their lives, see photos of their children growing older and be able to still know what is going on with them.

The hardest part of being at a new duty station is finding those friends. Where do you look? How do you do it?

I thought I would write about all the places I have made friends over the years.

  • FRG- It can be nice to bond with other women whose husbands work with yours. They will be going through the same trainings and deployments. FRG has a stereotype of being filled with drama but I think it just depends. I have experienced great FRGs and not as great ones. It doesn’t hurt to go to a few meetings, especially when you first get to your duty station. The FRG was a huge part of my life when we were stationed in Germany. We met for coffee every Monday during the deployment. It was so nice to have that to start off a new week.
  • PWOC- This stands for Protestant Women of the Chapel. A lot of places also have a similar group for Catholic women. They meet weekly at a chapel on post. There is usually time for fellowship, singing, food and then you break up into Bible studies. When we were in Germany, PWOC was such a huge part of my life. I was on the board several years in a row. I found the Bible studies to be exactly what I needed to get through my deployments. I also met some great woman who I still are connected with today.
  • The Park- This is a simple way to meet people if you have kids. Just take them to the park and see who else is there. You might go to the park and be the only mom, you might not talk with anyone or you might find someone else you want to hang out with later. If nothing else, taking your kids to the park is good for your kids so you really haven’t lost anything even if you don’t meet anyone there.
  • Playgroups- Playgroups can be another way to make friends. We had an amazing playgroup on post when my older two were younger. My kids enjoyed the playtime and I loved talking with the other Moms. A group of us even went on a trip with the USO together. And just like the park, even if you don’t meet anyone you click with, your kids will still have fun.
  • Kid Activities-I met one of my best friends at my son’s swim lessons. We jut clicked. If your kids are involved in activities, you will probably be able to meet other moms that way. And usually your kids have something in common too.Army Wife Friends
  • MOPS- If your duty station or city has a MOPS group, it can be a great way to meet new people. MOPS is great because your kids are able to go play with other kids and you get some Mommy time. You eat, listen to a speaker, make a craft and have time to get to know other moms going through what you might be going through.
  • Book Club- Not all of the places I have met people involve my kids. There are other parts of me besides being a Mom and my kids are a little older now so I can spend more time without them. I do remember how hard it is when they are babies. A friend of mine started a book club two years ago. We are small but we really enjoy getting together and talking about books, tv shows or whatever. Some of us have kids and some of us don’t. It is a great mix.
  • Bunco, scrapbooking, other types of activities-What do you enjoy doing? Look and see if there is a group for that. I have been able to go to Bunco and scrapbooking groups over the years. I enjoy those types of activities and it is great getting to know others that do too.

Where have you met some of your Military spouse friends?

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