I would like to introduce a friend of mine who is smart, athletic, and has a wonderful outlook on military life. Our husbands worked together a few years ago and we keep in touch via Facebook. Their family goes on lots of adventures and they have no trouble strapping those little ones in their carriers and hitting the road! Meet Stephanie…
I am a mother. That is mostly what defines me these days. I like to sew when I have time and always enjoy trying new projects to challenge myself. There is such joy in creating a soft blanket or shirt that your child loves to cuddle with. I have started making blankets as baby gifts for friends as well! I love, love, love to read. It’s not something I get to do often with 2 under 3, but my kids have started to have the patience to sit down for entire books so we spend time throughout the day reading. I am so excited to see their passion for books growing. I grew up as a competitive athlete; I played through college. I miss being on a team, but I try to stay active as much as my schedule allows. I also work a few days a week in my church’s nursery. Nothing is sweeter than loving a room full of children.
Josh joined over 10 years ago. We met 5 years ago July. Wow, I can’t believe its been that long. Time is flying by! In that 5 years, we did 4 deployments together. He has done 7 total.
Life Achievements | I completed my masters degree and had our daughter. I gave birth with a few classes left and my clinical hours to finish. I took a quarter off and then went back and completed those last classes while working to gain my clinical hours. Plus, Josh deployed a few weeks into the quarter. It gave me such strength to see that I could be a full time grad student, new mother, counselor and military spouse all at the same time.
Major Challenges | Josh’s work isn’t always something that I can talk about or share. This is especially hard when he is deployed. I can’t share that he is gone but yet I have to tell friends or family that he won’t make events. At first, I struggled with this. I wanted to be proud of what he was doing, and to share my stress and anxiety. It took me awhile to finally find the balance. I needed him to not worry about me at home. That I was handling the deployment just fine, while still getting out and socializing. I also started to really understand the importance of not sharing information when wives started getting phone calls from the enemy while the men were overseas. That really hit home why, as a spouse, my role is just as important in helping fight this war while at home.
Advice for a New Military Wife | Always talk to your husband, especially when your struggling. He can’t help you, if he doesn’t know there is something wrong. Be supportive. His job seems like a lot of fun, but they are always worrying about you, your family and how your handling this. He needs your support to be able to focus on his job and staying safe. You are strong and able. Everything will break the week he deploys. Your kids will stop sleeping the month he is gone for training. It will seem overwhelming and too much, but you have the ability to handle it all. And when you need an extra hand, ask for help. No community bands together like military wives. We are always a phone call away to help you clean your house, watch your kids, walk you dogs, or more importantly share stress over a glass of wine, or encouragement over a much needed cup of coffee. You are surrounded by a group that takes care of their own, and you are now a part of this family.
Last Book I Read | The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler. I highly recommend it. Its packed with great tips on all areas of families with young and older kids.
Mentor Wives | There have been two wives that have had the biggest impact on my transition into military life. The first, Julie, I met shortly after I met my husband. She was his boss’s wife. She was seasoned, intelligent and welcoming. She gave me all the information I needed and why there were all these rules. She was funny and so real. I am always a person who gravitates towards real, honest people. My life is too raw to have fake friendships. She has been the one person who taught me the most about this lifestyle. I got a very upfront look at how often my husband will be gone, what to tell family when I needed to tell family he was gone without telling them where, and how to handle our home life by myself. The second, Dana, showed me about compassion and passion. She was so loving towards all those she met. So friendly and always there to help if you needed anything. She introduced me to wear blue: run to remember. I remember the shame when I showed up to the first meeting and she ran twice the miles I did! Everywhere she goes, she just wants to lift up others and be that shining light in the military community.
My Military Experience in Two Words | (this is so hard!!) Enlightening + Inspiring. Enlightening as it forces you to see the world on a global scale, not just the town you live in. Inspiring because of the stories of strength, loss and hope that I have witnessed or heard.
If I Knew Then What I Know Now | I had a hard conversation with myself before we got married. I knew that life would be hard. He was attached to a very active unit at the time and deploying often. He was ambitious. If I married him, I had to accept his career and support him in whatever we wanted to do. I couldn’t love him conditionally as long as he was home. And that’s what I have done. It’s not always easy to say yes when he wants to take a job that will move us across the country, or to one that will have him deploying often. But it’s what makes him happy and it’s what he was doing before we met. I can’t change who he is and what he wants to do with his career. I can just support him and be here when he is home. In return, he has always been my biggest cheerleader and supportive in all that I have wanted to do.
Best Memory While He was Gone | Makena had just turned one and the whole family was able to meet up at Disney World for the half marathon. I had a photographer friend meet us at the park and she captured the day for us. The pictures are beautiful. You can see the joy of having Josh’s family and mine all together. Plus the innocent joy of a toddler experiencing all that love while being in an exciting park. It’s something I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Thanks so much for sharing with us, Stephanie!
The purpose of the Military Monday Series is to highlight the many women that help make the military community a great place to be. Some women are experienced, some are new and hesitant, but we are all a part of something bigger than ourselves, and it benefits everyone when we support each other!