Sunday, April 22, 2012

Military Monday-Tips for a New Military Wife

Upon saying "I Do" to a soldier, a woman is faced with a whole new battleground.  There are skills and abilities that she must have in order to survive military life.  When first learning about the military most spouses are left learning the hard way to adapt and adjust to military life.  Below is a list of helpful tips for new military wives.

1) Learn to be Organized- So many people claim to not have the capacity to stay or be organized.  For those people this task may be a bit difficult but it is essential especially facing things such as a PCS, deployment, TDY, etc.  For the bare minimum, get a filing cabinet or even a small filing box and be sure to keep record of all important personal documents (birth certificates, marriage licenses, wills, etc.).  It will make your life a million times easier when the Army requires you to whip them out at the drop of a hat.  Bonus points if you keep them in a fire-proof safe.

2) Be Flexible-  Nothing in the Army is predictable or permanent.  It's the way of life.  I don't know how many times we had to reschedule our plans or were surprised at what was thrown at us.  Take a step back now and realize that at this particular moment you have no control over certain parts of your life.  Your husband may have to deploy with as little as a few weeks notice or you may just get to a new duty station and learn that you won't be staying there long.  Get it in your head now that things will not always go the way you expect it.

3) Learn to Control your "hopes"-  This goes hand-in-hand with the previous statement.  When the Army controls so many aspects of your life your emotions are likely to flip flop a lot.  If something exciting comes up, sure get excited, but don't put all your faith in that one possible moment/event/etc.

A perfect example is what just happened to us.  When we arrived in Germany we were told from the start that there was a very good possibility that my husband would deploy.  Fast forward two months, the unit comes out with their deployment list and my husband is put in the rear-detachment unit and we are told that he won't deploy.  Fast forward another two months, a very short time from the deployment date, plans changed and surprise surprise, Matthew will be deploying.  Of course I got excited about the possibility of him staying home but I also kept the option open in my mind that his orders could change, which they did.  It saved my sanity.

4) Study up on OPSEC-  So many new military spouses make this mistake.  Please know what you can publish to your friends and what you cannot.  ESPECIALLY regarding deployment.  I truly cannot stress this enough.  If you are unaware of the OPSEC rules or do not even know what it is, I suggest you read my post about it.  If you'll notice on my blog there are certain things that I am tight lipped about... I will never post my family's last name, only those people that know me on a personal basis here know it.  Neither do I post the name of the town we are located.  I generalize greatly when talking about deployment dates, and I do not list the location where my husband will be sent downrange.  If you have a personal blog or something of that nature you should practice at least some censorship as well.

5) Create a strong Support Group-  Having a support group can mean the difference between losing your marbles or slipping into a depression when you SO deploys and making the time fly by.  When moving to a new duty station it is so tempting to lock yourself in the house and not do a thing, but don't.  Read my post here on how to make friends after a PCS.

6) Find information sources- Almost every military wife has at least one thing in common... they are research experts.  There is a wealth of information on the web, with your local ACS, Army OneSource website, through your FRG, on sites like mine, just about everywhere.  Figure out where you're comfortable getting information and what places give reliable info that you trust.  If you are unsure where to turn to, turn to your fellow military wives.  If they don't know the answer to your question they almost always can point you in the right direction to find it.  The more you know, the better prepared you are for any situation life (and the Army) throws at you.

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