The Independent Military Spouse
When you have a spouse that is away from home a lot of the time, things change. You have to become more independent. Even if you don’t want to be. Even if you want to fight that. Independence will come even if the skill is a hard one for you to learn. You simply can’t rely on your spouse for everything that you used to. When my husband has been deployed, I am 100% in control of everything. I have to be. Sometimes we would go more than a week without talking. I was the one that has to make most if not all of the decisions. All the daily stuff falls to me.
You become the Independent Military Spouse!
What we do each day, what we eat, when the kids go to bed and everything in between. I have had to make decisions about preschool, special needs, traveling and what to buy for the home. Decisions on things that might not have been all up to me if he had never been deployed. I have to be the one to make sure all the bills are paid and that we are doing everything we are supposed to in order to keep the home running.
When he would get home, I didn’t want to be 100% in charge anymore but that was a role that was hard to drop.
The Independent Military Spouse is going to be in charge more often than not. She or he has to be. It wouldn’t make any sense to have the person who is not even home to be in charge of the running of the household.
The best thing to do is to talk about your expectations ahead of time. Find out if your spouse cares about where your children go to preschool, if you travel anywhere or what bills to pay down before others. Find out what they want to have a say in. You might assume they don’t care because they aren’t home but that might not be the case for everyone.
After years as a military spouse, you will have no choice but to become more independent. You will have to step up, even if stepping up is not in your nature to do so. If you have never been in charge of the bills, sit down with your spouse and talk about what is expected. This can be a scary change but going over everything so that you are both prepared for any separation is a must.
Being prepared during any type of separation includes how to run your household.
I never used to know how to mow the lawn but when my husband was set to deploy the first week of June, I knew I would have to learn. We didn’t want to have to spend money on someone doing the lawn for us. I was scared and unsure of how to use the mower so my husband took some time to show me. I tried mowing the lawn on my own the first time before he left just so I knew I was doing it correctly. It might sound like a silly thing to worry about but after learning how to do the lawn myself , I was fine. I didn’t have to depend on him to get the lawn mowed.
Talking with other Military spouses about this can also be helpful. If you are struggling with doing it all or not sure what your role is anymore,talking to others in the same position can help. A military marriage is going to look different than a civilian one. Find what works for you and your family and what can work while your spouse is away. Figure out how to be the Independent Military Spouse you need to be.