when we first received orders to the UK, I was excited to be traveling to the gateway of Europe. I quickly looked up my companies’ locations, saw that there in fact was a location in England and gave my husband the “ok, I’m in” conversation. Little did I know, my world, and career were about to do a complete 180.
Unfortunately, due to the US-UK Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), I was unable to secure work in the UK and arrived in tears and full of anxiety of what I was going to do for work (Disclaimer: I am not expert in this area, so I cannot speak for everyone in this situation. Every SOFA is different for every country, I am just speaking on my experience with the UK).
Oh yea, we also have twin toddlers! Daycare is crazy expensive here, so I would have to make at least $35k just to cover the basics. I honestly didn’t realize how difficult it is for military spouses to work here in England. So knowing this, how have I survived 2018? Wine – a lot of wine!
No, but in all seriousness, 2018 has been quite an adjustment for me with giving up my career, becoming a stay-at-home mom, and inheriting all of those duties that it comes with. I have never been without a job, much less, being at home with Santiago & Sofia all.day.long.
Embrace the craziness
It took me ONE whole year to embrace the chaotic life of Santiago and Sofia being home. I will forever be grateful to my husband for working so damn hard everyday so that there is no pressure for me to take a job that will barely put food on the table. But, now that I have embraced and accepted this reality, I am ready for a better, and more serene 2019.
Make a plan
I am all about planning and organizing, but in all honesty 2018 was not my best year in that department. I went through so many waves of grief, depression, anxiety, anger, you name it, I went through it. Now that I am over this rut, I am ready to plan and organize our lives so that it is more effective for all of us.
Take time for YOU
This honestly goes without saying. I have learned that in order for me to maintain poise and sanity, I need my quiet time, and so does my husband, and so do my kids. Being together 24/7 can be exhausting, overwhelming, and frustrating at times. One thing I have found is that when we all have our ‘time’ to reset, we all go to bed happy.
Find your tribe
We were extremely lucky to have moved next to amazing neighbors. Luckily, their daughter also babysits the twins so I am able to have evenings out every once in a while. The base is also a great resource for weekly events. When you live overseas, you are away from your primary support system (friends, family, etc.), and everyone stationed overseas is likely to be in the same situation you are. You’d be surprised at the amazing friendships you can cultivate.
Find your outlet
For me, that is blogging, for you it may be taking a walk, talking to a girlfriend, or having that glass of wine. I honestly feel like abetter person every time I sit down and commit to blogging. It is my way of releasing stress.
Now that I’ve been through all of the emotions, and, yes, it took me a whole year; I plan on making 2019 a wonderful year.
Write it all down
Remember when I mentioned planning in the paragraphs above? Well, I am old fashioned in the sense that I love to write everything down. Writing it down feels like a contract to me. It makes me feel like I have an obligation to do whatever it is that is on that piece of paper. One way I am going to write it down is by doing a vision board. Anyone else feel that way?
Be grateful for everything I do have
As I sit here and moan about my terrible 2018, there were SO many great aspects to it. We were able to travel to seven European countries, I started on my masters, and I was able to be at home with my babies. I know that every spouses’ situation is different, but if this caters to you then I hope you can find solace in knowing that you are not along. Those feelings and emotions you are going through ARE normal.
Step out of my comfort zone
I tend to play within my comfort zone when it comes to many aspects of my life. This year, I really want to speak out on my experience as a military spouse, living overseas. This is way out of my comfort zone as I don’t usually blog about my experiences as a military spouse but I feel I have an intriguing angle here living in the UK.
I really want this year to be amazing, so I am making every effort to ensure me and my family have just that.
In 2018 I learned that I need to make the best out of my situation. Instead of pouting and whining about not having everything I desire,I am going to do the best with the hand I am dealt.