Military Life Lessons Learned From Our Mothers
I’ve never been much of a homebody. I’ve always wanted to go see what else there is out there. I begged my parents to go to boarding school at the tender age of 13. They refused, saying I was too young. At 15, my dad consented and convinced my mom to let me go. I know she always wished that she had more time to teach me things. I’m sure she never imagined that I would never return home to live again. After college and grad school, I married my high school sweetheart who magically transformed from a bookworm into a soldier and he took me far away across the ocean for many adventures. Moms quietly sacrifice a lot for us to live this lifestyle, but the lessons they taught us continue to make an impact. Today, we honor them.
Each of the InDependent team members answered: What is the one lesson you learned from your mom that has most helped you as a military spouse?
Meg: My mom has helped me in so many ways as a military spouse, but the thing that stands out as the most important lesson is how to be optimistic. Every time I have told her that we are moving she lists several positive aspects to the move, even when we went to Fort Polk. She told me that it would be fine since it would be the first place my husband and I would call home together, that I would be able to provide support to him after returning home from deployment, and that she would always be a phone call away.
Michele: My mom is the strong, silent type. Lessons learned from her were usually gleaned through observation. Little did I know that watching her can-do, fearless attitude would prep me for challenges tied to military life. Countless times, I watched her tackle obstacles head-on without complaint or resentment. She simply rolled up sleeves and powered through, often lending a helping hand without expecting anything in return. Her mental tenacity is a gift I envy and strive to emulate daily.
Kimberly: We weren't a military family but we moved around a lot. Some houses were better than others. Growing up, mom taught me to bloom where I'm planted by fixing up every rental as if it were our own, and leaving each place better than we found it. We once learned how to irrigate 10 acres of alfalfa because we thought the dead field was an eyesore. Now, I tend the garden and fully unpack no matter how long or short the stay.
Joy: My mom is my role model of mindful and loving patience. That old chestnut that patience is a virtue turns out to be especially true in the military life. Through deployments, PCSing, career moves, and having children, the number one skill that's helped me is the ability to recognize that, whatever the Army my bring my husband's way, that "this, too, shall pass." I'm so grateful for her taking the extra steps to instill that in me.
Leslie: My mom has taught me that no matter what happens, someday you'll look back and laugh. We're both pessimists and worrywarts by nature, so this thought is particularly difficult to keep in mind, but extremely important. The stressors of military life can bog you down, both physically and mentally. Without actively combating that stress you can fall down a slippery and dark slope. But every day you make a decision: dwell in the negative or find the humor.
Emira: My mom has taught me so much that has helped me as a military spouse since she was one herself for over 20 years. If I have to choose one though, she taught me to always put family first. This can be hard to do when the military seems to run your lives, but it was important for her to ensure that even when the military was no longer our way of life, our family would still be there for each other. I have learned to do this by always placing emphasis on my marriage and making sure we take advantage of the little time we do get to spend together.
Now it’s your turn. What is the one lesson you learned from your mom that has most helped you as a military spouse?