As part of NextGen MilSpouse’s Make 2016 Your Bitch Challenge week nine was having a week of no screen evenings. Full disclosure: I wrote the article and took it on as a personal challenge since I may have a problem with FOMO and screen addiction. So James and I started our no screen week and here’s what we did…
I participated in the NextGen MilSpouse weekly podcast to talk about going screen-free. Let’s just say this: the struggle was real. Listen now: http://bit.ly/1LLY5Kr
So I have to say that one of my favorite benefits of this military life is the medical insurance aka Tricare. Care aside, because that varies by provider, it’s an absolutely amazing deal as an active duty family. Most companies charge far more for family members to be covered by insurance than we do as an Army family (we only pay for dental and that’s a very low price), so it’s a great benefit! But it can be tricky to manage aka what makes it not so great as the dependent. I have had some ups and downs with Tricare and I wanted to share what I’ve learned in these few years in hopes that it can help you!
Well last year was…fun. And again, sorry for the lack of posts, again life got crazy. Or maybe I love Netflix too much. I was doing some freelance work too though! And we moved…again. Yes, we moved twice in one year. I learned so much on these two moves that I really want to share with you some tips for success – and dealing with not-so-great outcomes (let’s just say move #2 did not go smoothly).
Us embarking on PCS #1 in 2015 with a packed car. Photo by J. Hall.
Many months ago I read this post from They Call me Dependent. It reminds the readers of what life was like when we were the new spouse. That the first anything was traumatic and that others’ reactions, particularly those seeming to have a good time, couldn’t be right. But more importantly it reminded me that we’ve all been there and as time goes we learn and change and cope. And around that time I also realized that I was becoming that seasoned spouse.
It only took me about two and a half years but I think I’ve become a seasoned spouse. Or at least I’m feeling more seasoned. It really hit me at a unit event a few weeks later talking to some new spouses. There were so many things that came up that I remember worrying about like crazy just a year ago and now…well not so much. And it was hard for me to articulate that it wasn’t something to spend all their time worrying about.
Do I still worry about our life in the Army, James when he’s gone, and what lies ahead? Yes. Do I still learn new things every day? Yep. But it all feels different. I feel different about all of the things the Army throws my way then I did even a year ago.
A reader wrote in asking for tips to make it through a deployment when you aren’t married and/or the unit doesn’t have a strong (or any sort of) support group, such as an FRG.
While I was lucky and have been a part of great FRGs where I made great friends, each FRG is different, and it may not provide the support you need or want. And that’s okay.
I’ve reached out to a few of my friends who have been through trainings and deployments alike in both these scenarios to get their best tips. I’ve also compiled some general tips to help get through anytime apart, with or without official channels in place, and with or without a marriage certificate.
I dabbled in Pinterest projects during deployment – including making pinata cookies. Photo by Jessica Hall.
It’s hard to stay positive with all that life throws at you, let alone what the Army throws at you. In general I try to not let moments get me down, like a bad day at work, an assignment gone wrong, or time apart from loved ones, but it’s hard. There are always days or weeks that you have the blues. So just what do I do to stay as positive as I can?
Silver linings in everything. Love the color contrast in this photo from our trip to the Tulip Festival last year! Photo by Jessica Hall
Thanks to one of my favorite sites Brit + Co. I discovered Goldbely. The site offers regional favorites from across the U.S. to your day the next day, and as someone that lives far away from some of my favorite foods (both from Arizona and New York), this is a fantastic idea! And it lowers the cost a bit (I’ll explain).
So when I discovered that my husband’s all-time favorite food, I knew I had to buy them for his birthday. And…well, let’s just say: Best. Birthday. Present. Ever.
Maryland Crabs. Photo by Jessica Hall.
Field training arrived again and man was I not excited. But it is what it is, it’s an necessary evil of Army life. So began what I thought would be 29 days apart, but it was more challenging than I expected. But there was fun thrown in!
Pumpkin carving party with my friends resulted in these gorgeous creations (mine is the Boo! one in the middle). Photo by Jessica Hall.
As I typed this on Thursday night, and edited on Saturday, we are approaching a week of government shutdown. Currently it is day 5. This all started when the House did not pass a matching spending bill as the Senate. The big stink was all about delaying the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare (yes they are one in the same) and basically undo the law in general. It’s such a BIG deal to the Republicans that they refused to pass a bill without it attached. And now there appears to be far less compromise as the week goes on, and more finger pointing, on all sides.
Most government websites look a lot like this.
At any given time I have a lot going on. Work, school, friends, family – and it takes it’s toll. It’s hard to tell you a weekend when we have no plans. One weekend I had evening plans without James on both Friday and Saturday. Add in my evening classes and my husband’s fairly regular late evenings at work + trainings that are days to weeks longs, and well, we rarely see each other, or so it feels like.
On a recent easy hiking trip. Photo courtesy Jessica Hall
So what’s a girl to do? I want to be able to do all of these things, but I must have time for my husband, and me. As a friend told me the other day “self-care is really important.” So I try to set times that are off-limits. This is easier said then done but here are my attempts: