Living on a military base in Japan, it is VERY easy to get caught-up in too many activities, the politics of living amongst my husband’s coworkers and friends, and, of course, the various wives’ clubs’ events. Everyone participates because none of us work because we live abroad. Because EVERYONE participates in EVERYTHING, luncheon fundraising events, wives club parties, and even MWR events can suddenly become a highly-pressurized activity; it becomes a focal point for many people who suddenly treat it as the end-all-be-all-most-important-event-ever because they literally have nothing else to worry about.
Basically, it’s easy to loose focus of what is actually important.
As a military spouse, I really only have two priorities, and neither involve wives’ organizations or base events.
As a military wife, my only priorities are to take care of myself (and my family) and to support my husband. I think that these priorities are one and the same, actually. By taking care of myself and meeting my own and my family’s needs, my husband is supported and less stressed while he is working or away. And, by supporting my husband, I am ensuring that we have a quality life together, which involves taking care of myself and our family.
All service members have a role to play at home and at work. They earn money and benefits that take care of their family. While they are home, they should always play an active role in their family’s life, be a husband to their wife, and a father to their children. But, while away, the burden of being mom, dad, husband, and wife falls to the spouse.
Taking care of yourself takes many forms — for me, taking care of myself involves working on my Masters, working out and feeding myself appropriately, and maintaining my introverted lifestyle so that I am happy, not stressed, and calm. Supporting him means that I am calm and collected when we speak about difficult topics while he is away, writing him emails very often and responding to the questions that he asks, sending him a few care packages and cards, and ensuring that he knows that I am okay at home while he is away. If you ask any married service member during deployment, their worries are usually focused on their spouse and children first. Knowing that life is okay at home lifts a great burden off their shoulders, and it allows them to stay focused (AND SAFE) while at work.
Living here, it seems like every wife social event is A BIG HONKING DEAL. People complain if things aren’t done precisely to their specifications; some don’t want to be a leader, yet happily teardown the leaders for being leaders; every event has the importance of prom in high school; everyone wants credit for a job well done. It’s difficult to not get caught up in the stress of every event, and I’ve been caught-up all week. Tomorrow night is the second of the two events this week that I’ve helped plan, and I will be thrilled when the party gets going and my job is finished.
I look forward to returning to my true top priorities, and I am remembering this week as a lesson to not get caught-up. Wives club events don’t affect my husband’s career or our marriage. None of these events affect my future. I need to commit to less so that I can keep my focus on my real priorities.