We have all been the newbie military spouse. The one who really didn’t know how to navigate this life. The one who had all the questions.
But as time goes on, as you go through a deployment or two, have a PCS under your belt, you realize you are no longer the newest military spouse on the block. You realize that you actually have the advice to offer and you are working to find out your place.
Now you are trying to figure out your place in the military spouse community.
How involved do you want to be in the military spouse community? What can you offer? How do you make sure you are not ignoring your own dreams during military life?
The truth is, finding your place in the military spouse world depends on so many things. From where you are first stationed to what you left behind when your service member joined or when you married them. It depends on the goals you have for yourself, and how involved the military is in your life as you try to achieve them. And this isn’t the same for everyone.
As a new military spouse, I arrived in Germany with an 18-month-old and got pregnant again right away. I was trying to navigate military life as a SAHM in a 3rd-floor stairwell apartment in Germany. My life was pretty much 100% little kids and military, without much room for anything else. The military was in charge of so much of my life.
Moving back to the US four years later, we finally had a little more space between us and the military. Choosing to live off post allowed us a little more space as well as simply being stationed in the U.S. versus overseas. It’s just a very different type of military experience.
Finding your place in the military spouse world is going to be so different depending on who you are and your own experiences.
There are different “roles” you might find yourself in. And you may or may not want to stay there. They might not be a good fit.
The truth is, finding your place in the military spouse world is all about what you feel comfortable with. Some military spouses want to be as involved as possible. They volunteer for the FRG or other on post events. They seem to know a lot about military life and can direct you if you have a question or tell you where you can go to get an answer.
Other military spouses take a back seat to the military world. They stay away from post as much as possible. They work, live, and spend their free time away from the military. They have more of a hands-off as much as possible approach.
And then, there is everyone in between. The reality is, there is no right answer on how to military spouse. You should be involved as much you want to be or as little as you want to be. And your spouse’s rank shouldn’t even be a factor.
We, military spouses, should never feel like we have to run an FRG meeting or set up a spouse’s group. We should do so because we have a desire to do so. We should do so because that is what we want to do, not because it is expected of us.
We, military spouses, have the right to focus solely on our careers. Solely on our children and homes. Or solely on both without worrying too much about the role of the military in our lives. Doing so isn’t for everyone.
We, military spouses, have to find our place, and we get to decide how involved we want to be.
We get to choose, and being able to choose leads to a healthier military spouse community.
I am so thankful for the military spouses who have stepped up. So many have come before us and have said, “no, this isn’t okay” and they work to change things. I am so thankful that the military spouse norm of the past isn’t the norm anymore. That we have so much more freedom than previous generations.
But, will the military itself catch up to modern times? What can change to make a better military life balance for everyone? Both spouse and service member?
Even though I live by a large Army installation, most of my interactions with other military spouses seem to be online these days. Maybe this is due to the pandemic, or maybe just the way modern life is. As modern military spouses, you can reach out to anyone from the comfort of your own homes.
The military community is online, with so many resources at our fingertips.
We no longer have to attend an in-person event in order to get that information we might need to thrive in our military spouse life. We can connect to other spouses, through Facebook groups, TikTok accounts, and Instagram.
We can share our stories and know they will be seen by military spouses worldwide. We can offer advice to a spouse in another branch, stationed somewhere we will never go. The world is truly changing.
Military spouses have always been about community, and there have always been roles for us within that community. But things are changing, and what worked 10-15 years ago, might not work today. Modern military spouses are able to focus more on their own goals and are not as held back because of the military.
Hopefully, no matter how long you have been a military spouse, you are able to figure out where you fit within the military spouse community. And hopefully, whatever your choose to do, no matter how involved you want to be, it is respected. By other spouses, by your service member, and the bigger military as a whole.
How did you find your place within the military spouse world?