Cussing Ahead. You’ve been warned.
I am a stressed out military spouse.
We’re moving soon, and my stress level is threatening my sanity. Writing is one of my coping mechanism, read more on Moving and Losing your Village. It doesn’t take much to see that my ability to “roll with the punches” is starting to wear out. We’re about half way into my spouse’s military career and I’m about ready to call it quits.
I don’t want to move.
I don’t want to deal with deployments.
I don’t want to continue to be a unemployed because of constant change of situation.
I don’t want to live across the globe from friends and family and support.
I don’t want my kids to grow up without a steady home.
I don’t want to investigate into every public school, private school, homeschooling option because we’re moving and our house location depends on this.
I don’t want to say goodbye to my best friends.
I don’t want to move into a new house only to hate it 6 months down the road.
I don’t want to move into a new neighborhood to hate it 6 months down the road.
I don’t want my kids to forget their first language because we’re stranded in a country that doesn’t speak it.
I don’t want apply for jobs I have no idea if I will be able to keep if a sudden change comes our way.
I don’t want to start new projects that need a lot of time and energy because I know I will have to eventually pack them up and leave them unfinished.
I don’t want to be a house wife that sucks at keeping up with her house.
I don’t want to have a pity party because holy shit how fucking entitled am I.
I have a lovely home, filled with crap I can afford to buy.
My children are beautiful and healthy.
My husband is incredibly patient and loving.
I have friends.
I have family.
They might not be close all the time, but they are there, cheering me on.
My fridge is full.
I have access to medicine and care if I seek it.
My children are safe, my home is safe.
Who the fuck said that I could “have it all” or that I deserve to have it all.
I’m sitting here having an identity crisis because the world is telling me that being some mediocre stay at home mom isn’t enough to be happy, it isn’t enough to feel accomplished, it isn’t enough to feel proud.
Well fuck that.
I have accomplished plenty. I have plenty.
I have more than most. MUCH more than most.
Fuck off with your ridiculous WANT IT ALL bullshit. I don’t need to stress about that garbage because it’s not even real.
DO YOU HEAR ME, BRAIN?!
IT IS NOT REAL!
I AM enough.
I HAVE enough.
And sure, there is plenty of stress on my plate, but good lord, OPEN YOUR DAMN EYES, so much to be grateful for.
I’m getting sucked into this culture of more more MORE and forgetting I ALREADY HAVE MORE.
This is all a bunch of bullshit stress caused by some culture built on greed and entitlement, a culture that promotes individuality to the point of isolation, that promotes hate to the point of self loathing, that promotes monetary success to the point of degrading service and self sacrifice.
FUCK THAT NOISE.
You know what’s happening this weekend? Memorial Day.
Sitting here stressing over the little things when I have brothers and sisters crying over a grave.
I will pick myself up, take my military spouse shit sandwich and eat it. And I will be fucking grateful for my shit sandwich, which is a hell of a lot better shit sandwich than a whole lot of other folks around the globe, near and far.
It’s called PERSPECTIVE. Wake up. Stop crying. Put on your big girl panties on and move the fuck along, Lili.
Glad I got that off my chest. PEACE.
Clarification, in the case that any is needed… I wrote this piece to myself, for myself. Please don’t assume that *I* assume that a change in perspective is going to alleviate depression, anxiety, or any other mental health disorder, that’s just stupid. Take your fucked up notions of “just stop thinking about it” as appropriate advice for anyone suffering through mental health issues somewhere else. We good? Ok. Bye.
Once upon a time, what feels like a lifetime ago, this was an exciting time.
A time to imagine a new beginning, a new start, a new place to call our own. It was just the two of us, a couple of star crossed lovers taking on the world. Living in a new place, a new house, meeting new people and seeing new places. It all brought great excitement and anticipation. It was a fun time, PCS season… The excitement of orders being around the corner, finally learning where we were headed and rushing off to google the local area and possible houses and neighborhoods. Packing it all up, shoving ourselves into a car, and driving off into the sunset. Then arriving to our new home and exploring restaurants, and walking down town… Oh what an adventure. It was really fun…
But that time has long passed it seems. Because at our last dutty station, something new happened. We started a family. And that was our new adventure. Or new tiny family member brought us so much joy and happiness that it’s difficult to imagine a life before her smiling face, and soon we were engulfed into the life of mom and dad.
As it so turns out, the life of mom and dad is quite different from the life of husband and wife.
Going from relatively carefree, well rested adults, to responsible fairly tired parents made us (in time) realize how important your support system is. As the main caregiver for our daughter, I happily and loyally went from the library, to baby music classes, to play dates each and every day. Enjoying the company of several new mothers I met along the way. I didn’t know it then, but these women were the glue that were keeping me together. Their friendship and support gave me a sensation of safety and security in motherhood that I took for granted.
Not only that, but we also happened to be a very short flight away from our island home, Puerto Rico. Both my husband’s and my own family could visit us comfortably and often. What a lovely (and comfortable!) support system it was.
When PCS season came about, those feelings of excitement were there once again. I had no reason to feel any differently at that point, moving had always been fun. But as we packed up our new family to move half way across the globe I didn’t realize that I couldn’t pack with me the glue that had been holding me up, my support system, my village.
There were many difficult goodbyes, but none so painful than saying goodbye to our dear friends Kelly and Little Miss O. I met Kelly the first day I left the house with Little Lue by myself to do a “mommy and baby” thing. I needed to get out of the house, I needed to DO something, and somehow ended up at the local library for a Mommy and Me Story Time. And there was Kelly with Little Miss O, just like us, fresh new moms, it took but a minute to realize we would be friends.
I met so many of the dearest and most wonderful moms that very day.
I had no idea how special those days would be, but they will live forever in my heart. My first village. I can’t count the coffee dates or play dates, there were too many.
When it was time to move, I couldn’t pack up my village, I had to leave that behind… When we moved to Germany I knew what I had to do. I needed to find a new park, a new coffee date, a new village. For whatever delusional reason, I thought this would be easy… It wasn’t.
Germany would prove to be cold, and wet, and unwelcoming to summer creatures such as ourselves. Both my husband and I felt ourselves being drained of energy and joy from the lack of sunshine and warmth. It would take us well over a year to fall into a routine that worked for everyone and just as long to meet new friends and reach a level of trust and comfort that brings that sense of safety and community.
It’s been 3 years since our move, and I just barely feel like I’ve scraped together my new village, and now, I have to say good bye. I have to leave them behind and start over, and sadly, they might have to start over too. Because that’s the other thing, not only did I loose my village, but so did the friends who were left behind. For those left behind it’s one less person who will show up at your door on the bad days, one less person who will meet you at the park and hang out for hours of play, one less person who will be your company for lunch with crazy loud kids in toe, one less person to call when you just need an adult conversation after endless days of house work and wiping dirty bottoms.
These friends are literally gold.
They’re the reason happy moms exists, and the reason not so happy moms make it to the next day.
The thought of moving, and living without a village… yet again… for who knows how long… has taken all the joy and adventure our of PCS season. I don’t want to say goodbye again. I don’t want to start over again.
As incredibly wonderful as family life is, it is immensely more wonderful when you have a BIG family. A family of friends and neighbors and grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and cousins. A family to share the fun times with and the not so fun times with. A family that helps each other and cares for each other. A family you can call on when the days are long and both mom and dad are too tired to put on a smile at the end of the day.
As a military family, we are first robed of the family we left back home, of our mothers and grandmothers and brothers and sisters who would have been there as our primary aid. And with the constant flow of the community we are also often robbed of the support of our dearest friends, who come into your life like a bast of love and warmth and fun and joy, and then they go… Leaving a gigantic crater where their wonderful company used to be.
It seems that this PCS season, I have accumulated quite a few more craters, and my heart is starting to look a bit like swiss cheese…
Despite my desire to move to a warmer, more welcoming climate, I have carved out my village here in Germany. Knowing now what life is like without a village, even if only temporarily, I know that leaving Germany will be no less painful than leaving Key West.
Still deep in the trenches of parenting young children, I need my village… a lot.
We will pack up our lives once again, only this time I’m well aware of what I cannot take with me. I cannot pack up my village, I will have to create a new one. Knowing this, I start to brace myself for a few months of lonely long days. Of awkward park days of recognizing no faces or names. Of sipping coffee alone with my rambunctious littles. Of joining groups and meet ups and not knowing why I’m there. Of putting on a friendly face while my insides are filled with anxiety and exhaustion. Of saying hello and yes to every new opportunity because trying is better than not trying. Of clinging to dear life to my marriage, because even on the worse days, my spouse is my only support and friend.
I beg my husband for patience.
For a few months, I wont have the relaxing and re-energizing effects that my village brings. I will become a cranky, tired, and stressed out version of myself. I will be anxious and lonely and extremely needy of kind words and understanding. I won’t have much energy for smiling at the end of the day…
But maybe between a cuddle at the end of the day, and our daughter’s smiling faces, and hopefully some warmer, sunnier weather… maybe I’ll make it thought this PCS season and saying goodbye to another village, and maybe, just maybe, be able to enjoy some of the adventure of starting something new.
Celebrating the Littlest Princess’ first Christmas in our temporary home in Tampa, FL. Note out improvized ornaments made by Little Lue and myself.
As a military family, in a short 7 years we’ve done quite a bit of hoping around. We’ve lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oklahoma City, OK, Key West, FL, Ramstein, Germany, and Tampa, FL… As we make our way from one home to another the process of adaptation is always the same.
You’re excited, the house hunting is fun, the place is shiny and new. It’s awesome. You love it!
Realize you have no friends. This place sucks.
As a military spouse, you figure maybe you will meet other people if you get a job… But you quickly find your opportunities are limited by your lack of familiarity with the area and a million other unique complications. This place sucks so bad.
If you are female… you decide you should have a baby.
You’re too busy trying to get pregnant, or being pregnant, or being somehow distracted. You don’t realize you’re making friends. Mostly based on the discussion of how much this place sucks.
Wow. I have friends and I found this AMAZING Indian place. This place is pretty sweet.
It’s now been 2 years and you love this place.
Start daydreaming about what adventures await in your next destination and get really excited about moving.
Realize you are leaving the most amazing set of friends and places that could ever exist on the planet. Your family has grown an extra human or furry friend, your house finally looks like a home. You know every corner of the area as if you’ve lived here your whole life. The thought of leaving is soul crushing.
Avoid moving stress at all cost. Allow movers to pack everything with your spouse supervising while you hide somewhere else. Preferably some relaxing place with tea, coffee, or wine. Good byes suck, there will be a lot of them at this point. But the excitement building up for your new location will help you not crumble into pieces.
Can you relate? Getting ready for another move? Let’s hear it in the comments
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