What it’s really like to be a Military Spouse, my guest post at The Mama Nurse

Posted May 20, 2016 by Julie in Guest Posts, Military, TopPosts / 13 Comments

I am excited to be a featured guest post today at The Mama Nurse in her Women Who Inspire feature. I am talking about what it’s really like to be a Military Spouse. A quick excerpt of the post is below (because I just had to share my infographic with you) but you can read the full post at The Mama Nurse.

 


 

It is my opinion that military spouses go through a cycle of emotions similar to the process of grief. In a way, we are grieving for the absence of our partner during this time, as well as the lamenting the extra burden that we accept as responsibilities shift. In my mind, the military spouse cycle of emotions looks something like this.

 

Military Spouse Cycle of Emotions

 

That is a typical military spouse cycle of emotions. It does cycle, and there may be infinite loops between some of these steps. The important thing is to recognize when we are struggling and to ask for help. If we remember to look around, we see our friends who want to help us, even if they do not fully understand and appreciate the life. Despite the anxiety, the self-doubt, and the added stress, we are strong and resilient. We carry the membership to this special club proudly and support our service member completely.

Do you have a military spouse in your life? What ways do you show your support and encouragement?

 

Read the full post, including the explanations of each part in the military spouse cycle of emotions, at The Mama Nurse.

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Sometimes, it seems easier to introduce myself as a single mom, then to explain our situation. In reality, I am solo parenting for the foreseeable future. Outsiders either understand what it means to be a military spouse, or they have absolutely no clue. I have heard "I know what you mean, my husband is away on a business trip" so much, and I have to bite my tongue to keep myself from saying something nasty to these people. It is just unfair and, dare I say, ignorant to compare a short business trip to a semi-permanent separation. For Military Spouses Day, I wanted to share what it’s really like to be a military spouse.It is my opinion that military spouses go through a cycle of emotions similar to the process of grief. In a way, we are grieving for the absence of our partner during this time, as well as the lamenting the extra burden that we accept as responsibilities shift. In my mind, the military spouse cycle of emotions looks something like this.Inciting Incident Stress. Some event is causing a significant change in your routine. You feel stunned, and anxiety levels are high. You try to remain positive, but that nagging fear is there.Preparation and Planning Anxiety. You and your spouse try to talk through and plan out how the next set time frame is going to go. You discuss the shift in responsibilities and (hopefully) get on the same page about expectations and how certain situations should be addressed. You feel like you have this under control and can handle it. You are strong, right? You've done things like this before.Separation Depression. When your service member spouse leaves, suddenly you catch a cold or the flu, or hell - get pink eye, because all that stress and anxiety has weakened your immune system. You desperately wish your spouse didn't have to leave, or that you could have a little more time, and could use the help right now. You already miss your spouse more than you expected to so soon, and that empty spot in your bed is making it difficult to sleep at night. You start to resent your spouse for making the decisions that led you to this point. You start to hate yourself for agreeing to this life.
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The Self-Doubt Phase. All that planning doesn't seem enough, and you start to doubt yourself and whether you can truly handle the extended separation. Can you realistically take care of the kid(s), the house, your job, and everything else pushed onto your plate? Why does Murphy's Law strike just as your service member has left home? You tell yourself that solo parenting, managing the finances, and maintaining your dignity is simply impossible. If one more thing goes wrong at home, you think you might lose it.The Relief that Comes with Time. After some time passes and you have managed to keep everyone alive, keep the house together, and haven't lost your mind, you start to realize that you've got this. You just had to prove it to yourself.Empowerment. You're stronger than you give yourself credit for. You're quite remarkable. You knew this, but you let all that anxiety get the better of you. Well, now you can kick that fear to the curb because you know deep down that you can handle whatever life throws at you. You are a military spouse, and military spouses are built strong. You have a support network that is ready and willing to help out, and you just need to ask. You are a nurturing parent, solo or otherwise, and you and your child(ren) have grown very close during this time. You cherish that new special bond and love your child(ren) more than ever.That is a typical military spouse cycle of emotions. It does cycle, and there may be infinite loops between some of these steps. The important thing is to recognize when we are struggling and to ask for help. If we remember to look around, we see our friends who want to help us, even if they do not fully understand and appreciate the life. Despite the anxiety, the self-doubt, and the added stress, we are strong and resilient. We carry the membership to this special club proudly and support our service member completely.Do you have a military spouse in your life? What ways do you show your support and encouragement?I'm Julie, a new mom who works full time and blogs, all while wishing I had more time to read fun books. I write about being a first time working mom in order to help myself and other working moms in our journeys to find balance between family, responsibilities, and hobbies so we can thrive both at home and at work. I can be found blogging at Fab Working Mom Life and Chapter Break, and hanging out on social media: Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ Facebook ~ Instagram -->

Military Spouse Cycle of Emotions for The Mama Nurse