by Carrie A., Owner of Carried Away Creative Co.When my husband first got his orders to deploy, we were in the midst of planning our wedding, which was initially set to be a few weeks after he was scheduled to hop on a plane. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to throw in the towel when it came to handling all of my responsibilities. I went to work at my full-time job the next day and was a hot, unstable mess. I recall having conversations with friends on the topic of “what I was going to do,” during which I was quick to state I would move back to my hometown while he was away.
For the record, that is the best option for some. But, I just had a ridiculously cute dog to care for (yes, I’m biased) while my husband was away. So, why was I so desperately wanting to scurry back to the comforts of “home”? Maybe, just maybe, I was scared of what’d it’d be like to be at our duty station as a party of one.
And, that’s completely understandable. Although I felt guilty for how I was feeling, I admired strong milspouses around me handling the military cards they’d been dealt with poise. After allowing myself an appropriate amount of time to wallow, however, I had a Leslie Knope moment — throwing my desires to run away and hide in my comfort zone out the window.
Know the moment I’m talking about? When she’s reciting the following words as she gives herself a pep talk:
“Do It. Fierce. Power.”
I’m sure you’ve caught yourself saying that a time or two before, too. After all, being a military spouse can feel like you’re walking a tightrope — trying to balance being and doing all the things while PCSs, deployments, and trainings get thrown at you like bricks. You’re bound to lose your balance.
And, it’s in those moments of free-falling when there seems to be only one obvious choice to make: lean into your faith, embrace your messy, beautiful reality, and arm yourself with an appropriate amount of grit and grace to propel forward.
Grit. It determines that life’s challenges will not defeat us nor define us.
Grace. It requires us to give kindness to ourselves and others — even when it’s freaking hard.
It’s easier for me to type those two definitions, rather than make it a mission to practice them on the regular. Therefore, I figured it was time to share the steps we can take to give ourselves and others grace while tackling life with grit — starting today.
1 - Recognize your limits & when to ask for help.
You’re only one person. But, if you’re anything like me, you so desperately wish you could clone yourself. Especially during a deployment or PCS. Unfortunately, that’s not a thing (yet). Oh well, so is life.
There is good news, however. You don’t have to bear all the weight of being superwoman while doing all the things on your own. Yeah, yeah. I know what you might be thinking:
No one can do what I need and want to do, in the way that I can!
And, the second you feel the need for someone else to step in, you’ll appear weak and dependent. Those are some pretty cringe-worthy words. Let’s kick them to the curb, shall we? After all, it takes a village to navigate the waters of military life.
So, get comfortable with recognizing your limits, and asking for (and accepting!) a helping hand. When you do, you’ll give yourself grace (and permission) to not accomplish all the things as a party of one.
2 - Recognize & welcome new seasons of life.
You will inevitably experience highs, lows, and complete 360s. You know, an unexpected deployment, a homecoming, a career change, a less-than-popular new duty station — you name it. No matter what season of life you’re in (or about to be in), however, recognize it, have faith in the timing of it, and welcome it with grit and grace.
Grit will give you the extra push you need to overcome your obstacles. And, grace will give you the ability to celebrate even the tiniest of “wins” while letting go of the small stuff. Thus, you’ll come out on the other side feeling empowered and confident in your ability to handle whatever’s up next.
3 - Be true and kind to yourself.
We could all use this as an everyday reminder. Reason being, comparison is the thief of joy. And, perfectionism slays grace. Hence, enough is enough of trying to be like the rest of them. We’re all unique in our own way, at different places in our lives (ex. new spouses and seasoned spouses), and doing our best each day to leave a footprint in the sand.
From the spouse who’s writing blog post after blog post on military spouse-related topics, guiding and encouraging us every step of the way; to the military spouse turned entrepreneur, inspiring us to follow our career ambitions and take a leap of faith; and, the military spouse furthering her education, serving as a powerful example that we are worth investing in ourselves, I could go on and on.
Your growing list of accomplishments — both big and small — is one to never, ever be forgotten. Remember it. Reflect on it often. And, seriously, stop being so dang hard on yourself! As the famous saying goes, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”
4 - Then, uplift those around you.
We’re all imperfect, messy beings. And, there are enough critics in this world already who are ready and waiting to judge us on the moves we make (or don’t make!). Therefore, the last thing we need to be doing is contributing to the problem. So, in those moments when someone reveals their imperfect, messy self in an ungraceful moment or a strike of a nerve, make it your mission to uplift them.
Is a new friend on base taking her frustrations out on you as she's taking Murphy’s Law head-on during a deployment? Stop by with a cup of coffee in hand and open arms to offer a hug. Or, is a spouse across the country focusing too much on her failures while building a PCS-proof business from the ground up? Send them words of encouragement or a message of devotion. And, do it like it’s going out of style. A small act of kindness can go a long, long way.
As military spouses, we can’t always control what comes our way. But, what we can control is how we react. Combine grit and grace, and wear the two as a suit of military spouse armor to face whatever may come your way with courage and kindness.
Remember, you’re already a force to be reckoned with. When each of us strives daily to use our grit and give grace, however, we’ll continue to be a community that's nothing short of unstoppable and magical.
Carried Away Creative Co. is a marketing boutique dedicated to lightening the writing workload for big-hearted lady bosses and milspopreneurs. And, ultimately helping their readers get carried away by their brand with services ranging from copywriting to content strategy, social strategy, and copyediting and proofreading.