As a military spouse you see the joke online that you will know your sponsor’s social security number and forget your own. I swore that would never happen to me. I was my own person deserving of my own identity. Eight months into life as an Army wife and I can tell you my husband’s social security number almost as fast as he can (but don’t ask me his phone number because that I don’t know. Priorities right?) but it takes me a few minutes to remember my own. I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t bother me.
When I was working I found a lot of justification in that job. I was my own person making my own money. When people asked what I did, I had an answer. Now I am a stay at home mom. And I love it. But there isn’t the external validation of your worth as a contributing member of society like you have in a job that pays actual money.
As a stay at home mom and a military spouse you can naturally be reduced to who you are in relation to others, rather than who you are in your own right. The military and kids are especially good at this. Both parties seem to constantly want something from you and offer very little in return. Yes military benefits are great and I love my child…but what about me? Who am I as a person anymore?
It is so easy to lose yourself in the process of trying to be a good wife and mother.
Keep your own identity
Don’t forget your own hobbies and interests
Know what you love. Know what makes you happy. Know what you want and need in life.
Then go get it. Give yourself permission to make your own needs a priority.
I love to write. Creative outlets are an absolute necessity for me. I also enjoy working out. And photography.
That’s why I have this blog, a million little craft projects laying around, and a photography business in the early stages. When I type all that out it looks a little overwhelming and like a lot more balls to juggle when being a moms already a full time gig. But all of these things can be done at my own pace. And taking just an hour a day (usually during nap time or after Oliver goes to bed) to really focus on any of these pursuits makes a huge difference in my mental state.
Make friends who have similar interests
Having friends with common hobbies is a game changer. I love having friends who are willing to go for a walk with me or to do arts and crafts with while we drink wine.
And not all your friends need to be military wives. Or moms. But they can be.
Often I think we get so caught up in who we are “supposed” to be friends with that we lose track of who we actually want to be friends with.
I enjoy having mom friends because we can do things together while our kids play. But non mom friends are also great because they enjoy spending time with my son and can give me a break. It’s all about balance. And the most important thing is that these friends are mine and like me as a person…not just because I am a mom or a military spouse. That’s a pretty great thing.
Take yourself seriously
It is so so so easy to fall into a funk when you are “just” hanging around the house doing the mom thing. Especially when your spouse is gone. You know your toddler doesn’t care what you look like and that is the only person you are planning to see in a day, so why bother getting dressed/showering/putting on makeup right? Wrong. Nine times out of ten I can snap myself out of a funk by getting dressed in something that makes me feel good, putting on some makeup, and doing something with my hair that isn’t a messy bun…or just plain messy. I am not saying you need to look like you are going to the Met gala, but putting just a little effort into your appearance can totally change your mood.
I recently updated my closet a bit to include some more stay at home mom friendly pieces and I feel so much better! For the longest time I only bought work clothes, workout clothes, and accumulated free t-shirts. Having some actual choices in my wardrobe for my daily life that don’t feel frumpy was not a huge financial investment but has made a massive difference for me.
Keeping your own identity as a stay at home mom and military spouse is challenging to say the least. But it is always worth it!
What is the biggest challenge you face when it comes to keeping a sense of who you are an individual?
What is your biggest tip for others facing the same challenge?