The challenge for Special Forces Spouses
ery woman trying to manage a household, pursue a career and raise children has stress. It’s an awful lot to handle. But for the Spouse of a Special Forces Soldier, it can be particularly challenging.
For one thing, she is often doing it alone, because her Green Beret husband is in some far-off corner of the world. For another, she may not have deep roots in the base or community where the family is stationed, and she must forge new relationships with everyone — friends, bosses, teachers, pediatricians, dentists, on and on.
She may be far from her own family, so she doesn’t necessarily have anyone with her back when emergencies come up. And, because she is a woman, she likely is trying to nurture the emotional and social development of her children while supporting her husband in his dangerous, consuming job.
What’s a Special Forces Spouse to do? Probably the most important thing is this: to cut herself some slack. Special Forces Spouses tend to be as hard-charging as their husbands, with high expectations for themselves and everyone else. It can be difficult, but a woman with so much on her plate must not expect that she can stay on top of everything 24-7.
We love the advice of Psychologist Melissa McCreery, who writes at toomuchonherplate.com. “The idea that you will completely finish, get it all done, or get it all perfect, is unrealistic and stifling. It creates paralysis, procrastination, and a limited perspective.”
Instead, McCreery suggests women consistently move in the right direction. Instead of living by a bunch of shoulds — think ‘I should lose weight,’ ‘I should plant flowers in the front beds,’ ‘I should organize those photos’ — it’s best to name the compelling reason for doing any of those things. Work only toward those things for which there is a convincing reason for the effort.
Of course, no survival guide is complete without this advice: Before a woman can take care of anyone else, she needs to take care for herself. That might mean something as small as a weekly bath with candles and a good book, or a daily half hour for meditation or prayer. It should mean good nutrition and exercise, of course. Friendships are also important — and that’s where we come in. Special Forces Charitable Trust listens to Spouses and organizes activities they can do together. For instance, we’ve had Spousal Mentor Programs focused on yoga, crafts, painting and self-defense.
If you want to support Special Forces Soldiers, support their Families. We invite you to do that by clicking donate.