That Military Life
Military mentality has been a part of my life, all of my life. My dad served in the Army, a Veteran of Desert Storm. I vividly remember moving state-to-state roughly every 3 years. I was proud of my dad for serving our country, although I never fully understood what he did in the Army. What I did know was that he was away a lot, and we moved…a lot.
I knew that I wanted a life of grounding for myself and my future family. There would be no more moving, no more uncertainties, and no more worrying. What I learned was that the experiences we have in childhood have an influence on our lives as adults.
Flash forward to today, Military life has been a sense of normality and stability in a crazy world, and growing into my adulthood. From being a child of the military and now a spouse of 17 ½ years in the military life, there’s an admiration and respect for our servicemen and servicewomen. What life in the military teaches fairs far beyond push-ups, tours, and ranks. It teaches balance, adaptability, and community.
Military Life Balance.
Many young families begin their military lives together with eager dreams, guaranteed healthcare, promised paycheck, and a new view of the world. That’s what gave me peace. Knowing that we’d make the same amount each paycheck no matter what, gave me solace as a new young wife. Knowing that the healthcare of my future family was set, gave me hope. But balance, that was something that came with living the military life that came as a surprise. Balancing the bi-monthly set amount of money with lifestyle needs and wants, was a new venture. Learning to be responsible and accountable for our monthly spending and saving was quickly found out. Balancing the emotions of deployments, TDY’s (temporary duty), and orders is one that is never easy to endure. Will this be the last kiss? When will be the next kiss? How will I liiiiiiiiive without youuuuuuu?! (Thanks Leanne Rhymes) Finding a balance that’s right for your family is a great way to start a platform for what the next 4, 10, 20 years has in store for your life growing a family in the military.
Military Life Adaptability.
“Home is where the Military sends us” and “Hurry up and wait” are a few sayings that us military folk say often. Being able to decipher and speak in every acronym under the sun, is a talent. The ability to adapt to the unknowns of being in the military, and supporting a spouse in the military, is practically a requirement. Changes in decisions are constantly being made. (hey, it IS the government) Shucking and jiving is a dance well-learned. One moment, you’re packing up and saying ‘goodbyes’ for a new destination of orders; the next, you’re living in a TLF (temporary lodging facility) due to completely different orders being cut. There’s deep respect for the code we sign up for when we raise our right hands and receive our pins.
Military Life Community.
The military institution has done its due diligence in creating a community for the families within a community. Bases have grocery stores, hospitals, and housing. There’s daycare, schools, and resources. Squadrons have First Shirts, Key Spouses, and Clubs to help generate a comradery amongst the Soldiers and their families. As a military spouse in a new city, building community is a must. There’s Facebook groups, Meetup.com, squadron parties, jobs, and neighborhoods all within one’s grasp. Getting to know your new definition of “home” will make it feel more like home. When a deployment hits, these will be the communities that bring over meals. These will be the faces that turn that sea of tears into a fit of laughter. This community you create will be what holds you together as the days…into months… pass by. And as you welcome new members into your family, they will have become your family.
With all that the Military stands for: Respect, Sacrifice, Security, etc; it also stands for Balance, Adaptability, Community. Working as a doula and supporting Military families during their labors, births, and postpartum experiences is an honor that I hold near and dear to my heart. Understanding what the families are going through, while being able to be a voice of safety and support, is a small ‘thank you’ that I give as my deepest gratitude.