Military life has a way of shaking things up for most families.
John and Emily have found life hasn’t been the same since the Army came along, but it’s been a change they are adjusting to quite nicely.
Since we last spoke with Emily, Army life has uprooted the family of five from snowy Ohio to much warmer Texas.
Surprisingly, they see each other a whole lot more, too. John’s old job kept him away a lot.
On a good year, his family would see him 60 days out of the entire year.
Now, John gets to come home every night and on weekends, too.
Here, we catch up with Emily on what it’s been like adjusting to Army wife life, how to let go of things you can’t control, and how she might be excited to see a rattlesnake these days.
Where is your husband stationed? What’s his job now?
Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. He’s a petroleum supply specialist.
What’s life been like since John graduated from basic training last year?
Crazy. I truly think basic was the hardest, but it made us the strongest.
I’m so thankful for Sandboxx because I have so many girlfriends and wives and moms who find me through that story. I get so many people who are like, “I read your Sandboxx story and it gave me hope.”
I love it. I love being able to help other people out through that time because it was hard. It’s hard going from talking to your significant other or child every single day and then just being cut off. AIT was nice because he had his phone (at Fort Lee) and he was able to get on their computers and message me for the first two weeks.
What lessons has the Army taught you about military life?
That you can’t control everything. I’m a control freak — straight up control freak. I need to know things and when they are happening. I don’t like this whole waiting period. I’ve learned I have to give that up. It’s kind of liberating at the same time. I don’t need to be in control of everything — I really need to just let go and let God take care of it.
What tips do you have for other military moms adjusting to Army life with kids?
Honestly, I pray a lot. I have to pray about it. You can’t control it. You have to let go of it and pray your worries to God. He will provide because you can’t do it all yourself.
Number two, you need to just make friends. You need to get out there. Not gonna lie, for a couple weeks, I just stayed in the house. I’m a very social butterfly. I like to meet people and network. So I kind of felt icky about myself. I just went to a playdate and just met like 12 other Army moms. It was so nice to meet other people who are literally going through the same thing.
Don’t be afraid to make friends. Everybody has done this here. Everybody has had to pack up their lives. Everybody’s open to making new friends. It’s not like, “you can’t sit with us.” Everybody is opening their arms to you and wanting to meet you.
Why is it important to be supportive of your service member?
You’re a representation of your military member. If you act out, your military member gets in trouble. They get into trouble for what you do. I try not to gossip. I try not to be that Army wife, because it does get around and you don’t want to be that person. I just want to be the best supportive wife for my husband who wants to make it a career.
How do you make the most of a place that’s so far away from your real home?
Where you get stationed is what you make it. If you are negative about your base, of course you are going to have a negative experience. Personally, I’m afraid of bugs. If I see a cockroach, I’m going to lose my crap. We don’t have those in Ohio. I’m trying to be open to it. I’m trying to be like, “yeah, I’ll be excited to see a rattlesnake!”
I’m totally out of my comfort zone. It’s teaching me and John that we need to rely on each other. It’s making us stronger in that sense. It’s making us get out more and meet people.
What’s been the most rewarding part of being a military family so far?
Seeing John truly being happy in what he’s doing is so rewarding — especially because I pushed him into it. It’s so rewarding to see the growth that he has had and just the changes I’ve seen in my kids and how proud they are of him. It’s been so rewarding to see the pride of my kids. Now he’s fulfilled in family and faith and his job. It’s not easy at first, but it gets better.
Most challenging part of military life?
Giving up what you know. And getting out of your comfort box and experiencing a whole new everything. It’s challenging because you want to stay inside. I’m not an outdoorsy person; now I want to go hike these beautiful mountains here. Challenging is just like getting out of your box and experiencing new cultures, friends, and experiences.
Do you keep in touch with any of the “kids” you adopted from John’s basic training platoon?
Yes! We do. I love them so much. They’re so cute. Two of them are coming to visit on their spring break. I’m so excited. They still call me mom. And they still call John, dad. One of our kids is deployed right now. We keep in contact with him and his mom.
I love Sandboxx, and I love that you have gotten in touch with me to share my story. I’m not against people reaching out to me. You can only read so much stuff online [as a military spouse]. It’s different when you talk to someone who has just lived it. I love that people still reach out to me. It’s cool that I’ve been able to touch lives and it wouldn’t have been possible without you guys.
Follow Emily’s journey through military life on Instagram.
Feature Image Photographed by Megan Koch Photography
What other questions do you have about military life? Ask us in the comments below!