At some point, after juggling multiple challenges of military life, relocating your family, re-starting your career, and navigating a lot of time apart from your spouse, you’ve gained invaluable experience and become a seasoned spouse.
On the one hand, for some, there’s a badge of honor that comes with being a seasoned spouse. You have interesting stories to share. You have learned your own strength and coping mechanisms, and you know how to navigate military resources. You may mentor other spouses who come to you with questions, seek your advice, or marvel at how you appear to handle military life so well.
But on the other hand, being a seasoned spouse can be an invisible burden.
After living through a few years of military life, you may feel others expect you to have it all figured out. Maybe it feels like others assume you already have support and don’t need any extra help. Or maybe you feel like you’re expected to put on a brave face and just get things done. It can be a very lonely and frustrating stage of the military journey.
Who will support you?
When you first became a military spouse, you were probably full of energy and excitement. Every move was faced as a “new adventure,” and each time you poured yourself into encouraging your family to make the most of the new location. You got out and explored, signed up for new activities, changed your job, tried new things, and sought out new friends.
But now, after multiple years, houses, and duty stations, you are just worn out. Moving doesn’t feel like an adventure anymore—just an expensive and draining hassle. You are tired of putting on the brave face.
Who will be there to encourage you while you are encouraging others?
Sometimes, the more experience you have, the more invisible you feel. The longer you spend in military life, the heavier this burden can become. When you are a seasoned spouse, you don’t need a “Military 101” informative pamphlet. Instead, you need someone who understands that it is exhausting to be moving, again. You need someone who can relate to the challenges of solo parenting. You need a hug from a mom with older kids, who understands that navigating high school or college with a military kid is different than the challenges you faced when they were in preschool.