It’s important to note that I never thought this would be my life. My grand plan was to join the military, serve 6 years, get out, get a degree in Aeronautical Science and fly helicopters. (HA…yea only a fraction of that happened)
I never joined thinking I would meet anyone and especially never thought about what life would be like if I met someone and they actually wanted to do this for forever.
But I must say, this lifestyle has been such an incredible blessing so far and has set us up for a life we can be proud of.
Now, here we are almost 6 years later, recently reenlisted, new orders, and coming to terms with this new commitment and what it means.
I have learned a lot of what it’s like to be the one who isn’t wearing the uniform and living this lifestyle. And if we decide to do this for forever, I know I could survive it all knowing what I know now.
So, here are 5 tips to know before becoming a military spouse or choosing this lifestyle for your family.
1. Find a FLEXIBLE career.
This is absolutely number one if you want to have even a hope and a dream of having a career of your own. You will be moving, a lot. Anything online is ideal. But if there isn’t anything you would want to do online then think in terms of, “What could I do anywhere?”
Just try not to lock yourself down with things that revolve around location, state licensing (avoid if you can), brick and mortar business, etc.
…I have come to find this to be the most difficult part of living a military lifestyle, especially when overseas. Unless you have an online business, teaching degree, are a hairstylist, photographer, or mad crafter, finding work you want to do can be, difficult.
2. Have a flexible schedule and at least 4 different babysitters. (no exaggeration) lol
Your day to day life revolves around whoever is wearing the uniforms work “schedule”.
I know that if he has to go in before the daycare opens, we need someone els’s help getting Isaac to the daycare.
If he walks into work and finds out he will be working a 14-16 hr shift that night, I need someones help getting Isaac from daycare.
Maybe, they walk into work and are told they are leaving for 3 nights to go to Louisiana and they can’t even drive home for clothes. I know there’s no arguing with it. I better find someone to get Isaac last minute and then find someone to watch him that Saturday. (Real life example here)
I say 4 different babysitters because likely you will be in a place where you don’t know anyone but other military families who will be working with a wonky schedule too and won’t always be available.
Point is, be prepared for anything. Ask for help. It will make your life a lot easier.
3. Try living off base.
Something Tom and I are very intentional about is not letting the military feel like it’s anything more than a job.
I don’t want Tom to feel like he lives where he works. It’s important to us to separate the job from the lifestyle as much we can because this job (depending on your job) can be very high levels of stress.
It’s so important to come home and feel like you’re just a normal person.
You wake up, go to work, come home, take of the uniform. Wake up, go to work, come home take off the uniform, and so on. The military already, inevitably, has it’s hand in so much.
Just try and do your own thing the rest of the time.
This is definitely personal preference. I know a lot of people like living on base because they feel it’s easier to make friends that way but, I enjoy emersing myself with the local people.
4. Have a positive mindset when it comes to duty stations.
Not every base is the ideal location. For some, Goldsboro, NC has “Nothing to do” and “Horrible crime”. But to me there is SO much to do here and I’ve never felt unsafe.
Sometimes it’s necessary to ask for advice from those who have been in the game a little longer. But some people in the community are bitter Betty and will try and bring your opinion down on certain bases.
So try not to ask for many opinions on whether or not they “like” a base. You’re going no matter what, so you might as well draw your own conclusion.
5. Make sure you can trust your spouse.
If you don’t trust your spouse even just a little, this won’t work. At all.
There will be many late nights, long hours, last minute work trips and deployments. If you don’t trust the person you’re with, this lifestyle will drive you mad.
Hopefully these tips can make this experience a more pleasant one for you and your family. And just remember, everything is what you make it. You choose if this will work for you or against you. So keep a positive mindset and positive people around you.
Shout out to one of my fellow military spouse mamas, MIROSLAVA and her awesome lifestyle/fashion blog! She is such an amazing blogger, wife and mother making the most out of this lifestyle! Check out her blog!💕