Military Special Needs Network

Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent

Life as a New Military Spouse

Military Spouse Appreciation Day is Friday, May 9, 2014. Military Special Needs Network will be running a variety of blogs, graphics, statuses, and facts all about the crazy, incredible, never boring lifestyle that we live.

92879526It doesn’t matter what branch your spouse is in, chances are if you are a new military spouse you probably have a lot of the same things and thoughts going on: “Deployment when?”, “PCS-what?”, “Training for how many months?”, “Training where?”,  “NO- you won’t be home for dinner tonight….or tomorrow?”, “17:00-wait, what time is that again?” Sunday hair-cuts, dry cleaning to pick up, training schedules, tons and tons and tons of acronyms, for EVERYTHING – oh, there is so much to learn about as a new military spouse. Though being a new military spouse can be scary, and intimidating it is also an amazing journey that you are starting with the one you love. Once you learn most of the common acronyms, can tell military time, get use to the fact that sometimes your spouse won’t be able to make it home for dinner, or will be away for weeks at a time for training you learn that it is OK! Everything will be OK! I admit, being a new military spouse can be scary but it also has so many amazing things to look forward to throughout the time you spend serving your country by supporting your military husband or wife.

It wasn’t soon after I finally moved to be with my fiancé, after two and a half years of dating long distance, that we found out he was going to be deployed for nine months. On top of that, he had to go to training in another state for about a month before he even deployed. I was terrified, stressed, sad, and in a new place all by myself. I quickly made the decision that I was going to make the best of this situation and so I did! I would be lying if I didn’t say that I dreaded each and every single day that brought us closer to the day my love actually left because I did. I also knew that if I wanted to spend my life with this man, I had to learn how to deal with the situation we’d been given, and I wanted to do it well. I knew that I needed to figure out how to keep myself strong while supporting the love of my life through the day-to-day struggles that he would face with being deployed – I needed to get myself together.

Now, being on the other side of this deployment, and learning how to live day-to-day life as a military spouse I am proud of what I was able to do during his deployment. Not only am I proud of how I got through the deployment, I am proud of how much stronger it made our relationship. I knew we were solid before he left but there are no words to describe the good feelings of how much stronger it made us when he returned. Below are tips I hope will be of help to you. Each of these things I tried – some helped, some didn’t. Do what you can, stay strong, and know that as a new military spouse although it is hard, it is all worth it and it will all be OK!!

  • Find organizations that deal with something you are passionate about and volunteer. I did a lot of volunteer work and still do- not only does it help time go by but it helps you build a network (especially if you are newly relocated).
  • Try to develop a support group ASAP! I used things like Meetup, church, Facebook, and email groups, etc. Most bases offer great resources for families as well- check them out. Chances are you will meet some great friends who are going through the exact same thing as you- I did! There is no one who understands like someone who is going through the same thing as you.
  • Plan visits with families, vacations, etc. Have activities to look forward to!
  • Look for books that are written for military spouses – there are amazing resources available and many different types including, funny, serious, religious, etc. I read each type and each book I read helped me in a different way than the other.
  • Get creative in supporting your loved one while they are deployed. Figure out what they want/like and use this to keep you busy. Personally, my guy loved the “weekly slide shows” I sent him while he was deployed. I took pictures of everything our dog and I did throughout the week and then composed a slide show at the end of the week to send him. This allowed him to see everything we did all week and to stay connected. This was his favorite thing I did while he was deployed. Find your niche!
  • If you are having a tough time getting creative look online. Sites like Pinterest have fantastic and fun ideas to help with deployment packages.
  • LEAN ON OUR SUPPORT SYSTEM! That is why it is important to establish a support system right away. Make sure that you have people you can go to that will make you feel better and help you grow in a positive way during this journey.

Although being new to the military world can be a lot to take it, it is also an unbelievable journey you are starting. Embrace it and enjoy it!!

My best!

Olivia 

OliviaOlivia Newbold is a special education teacher in Carlsbad, California. Olivia has been a special education teacher for nine years for students who have mild, moderate and severe disabilities including students who are on the Autism Spectrum. Olivia has dedicated her life to helping individuals with disabilities. She has been involved in many activities throughout her life to help the special needs community including coaching Special Olympics, various volunteer activities, developing and maintaining peer programs within the schools she has worked in and more. Olivia has most recently become involved in serving on the Board of Directors for the Autism Society of San Diego, serving as the Military Outreach Chairperson. Within this role she has created a resources blog and develops materials to help families who are dealing with military life and having a child with disabilities. Olivia is passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of these families. Olivia was raised in central Illinois. She attended Illinois State University for her undergraduate and part of her graduate studies and credits them for the amazing training they provided her with to excel in her role as Special Educator. Olivia relocated to the San Diego area in 2012 when her fiancé was stationed at Camp Pendleton with the United States Marine Corps. Together they live with their two beloved Boston Terriers – Winton & Frankie. Olivia continues to strive diligently in making a positive impact in the lives of children and families who have disabilities. You can view the resources blog at:autismresources4you.blogspot.com and/or reach her at olivianewbold@yahoo.com. 

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