Finding Work-Life Balance as a Military Spouse

Written by Susannah Wruk

As I approach 5 years of being a military spouse, I find myself reflecting on the changes it has brought me over the years. I knew life as a military spouse meant frequent moves and uncertainty, but I didn’t know just how much it would change me as a person.

I am a military wife, a mom to two young boys (both under the age of 4), a writer, and a part-time student. Finding a balance between all of these different roles has been challenging. I haven’t always gotten everything right, but through practice and mistakes, I’ve been able to find a military work-life balance that works for me.

The Only Consistent Thing is Inconsistency

I remember early on in my marriage, I would frequently find myself panicking over the inconsistencies of military life. Dates for deployments, underways, pack-outs, PCS moves, and more are always subject to change. Since I have always been a planner, I felt anxiety flooding in and wondered how anybody could enjoy this crazy, uncertain, out-of-control lifestyle.

One thing that tends to work well for me when I am trying to work through anxiety surrounding the uncertainty of being a wife and achieving military work-life balance, is doing my best to keep organized, being mindful of the fact that not everything will go to plan, and recognizing that it’s okay. For example, I keep a PCS binder when preparing for PCS moves that include timelines and checklists. I used to stress myself out when I hadn’t checked everything off, but in the end, we always got through the move and things turned out fine. Don’t worry about every little detail. Learn to go with the flow.

Don’t Wait to Find Your Village

I have often struggled to make friends. I was never the type of person that had a big circle of friends, even as a kid. I am 1000% an introvert and have never had more than 2-3 close friends at a time.

As a new military spouse, living in a new place, I remember feeling so isolated. My husband got PCS orders shortly after we got married and we moved later that year. I knew no one and had no family nearby. We lived there for almost a year and I didn’t ever make any friends there. It was miserable. I was miserable. I fell into the unfortunate habit of telling myself “What’s the point of trying to make friends now? We aren’t going to be here that long anyway,” and because of that, I didn’t make much of an effort to try to find friends in our new home.

Taking steps to find your village is imperative. Building community support can be tough, but there are many resources and groups available that offer assistance to military spouses. For example, military child playgroups and parent support groups can be found on the base or near military housing areas, such as the Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA)’s Operation Little Learners program.

Learn to Juggle

I feel like this one isn’t exclusive to military spouses, but figuring out how to juggle all the responsibilities of life plus the extra hurdles of military life is challenging, to say the least. Over my nearly 5-year journey as a military spouse, I’ve been pursuing a degree in early childhood education while also raising two children. On top of that, we’ve experienced 4 military relocations, numerous underways, and 2 deployments, making life quite chaotic at times.

An effective way to handle the chaos and find military work-life balance is by crafting a tailored schedule. You don’t have to allocate time for every single aspect of your day, but identify major categories such as work, school, meal preparation, and quality time with the kids, and then jot down a straightforward schedule. Personally, I’ve discovered that physically writing it down increases my commitment to it. If your initial schedule doesn’t seem to be working smoothly, don’t lose hope. Be willing to make alterations, adjustments, and trade-offs until you uncover the routine that suits you best.

Finding Military Work-Life Balance with ASYMCA’s Support

ASYMCA is dedicated to assisting numerous military service members, families, and spouses by offering a wide range of programs and services, including food assistance, child care, parental resources, deployment support, and more. Many military families rely on the invaluable services provided by ASYMCA. Consider donating to ASYMCA today to contribute to the continued provision of community, resources, and support that military families need to thrive.