Enhancing Military Spouse Wellbeing: The Vital Role of Support and Community with Paulette Fryar youtube thumbnail

Enhancing Military Spouse Wellbeing: The Vital Role of Support and Community with Paulette Fryar : Episode 108

The Waiting Warriors Podcast

Enhancing Military Spouse Wellbeing: The Vital Role of Support and Community with Paulette Fryar

By Michelle Bowler

Enhancing Military Spouse Wellbeing: The Vital Role of Support and Community with Paulette Fryar youtube thumbnail

Discover the profound importance of finding community and support for military spouses in this heartfelt interview. Gain valuable insights and hear personal stories from military spouses who understand the unique challenges of military life.

In this conversation, we explore the impact of supportive communities on mental and emotional well-being during deployments, frequent relocations, and other military-related stressors. Learn about the bonds that form within these networks and the available resources for military spouses.

If you’re a military spouse seeking inspiration, guidance, or connections with others who share similar experiences, this interview with Paulette is a must-watch. Join us as we discuss the strength found in unity and the power of fostering connections within the military spouse community.

Like, share, and subscribe to our channel for more insightful discussions and stories that matter to military families. Together, we can raise awareness and provide crucial support for those who stand beside our brave servicemembers.

Strength in Unity: How Military Spouses Thrive Through Community

Michelle Bowler: Hey, waiting Warriors. Welcome to another week on the Waiting Warriors podcast. I’m your host, Michelle Bowler, and today we have a special guest, Paulette Fryer. Welcome to the show, Paulette. 

[00:00:10] Paulette Fryer: Hi. Thank you so much for having me, Michelle. I’m very excited to be here today 

[00:00:14] Michelle Bowler: Of course. So Paulette is really awesome. If you guys have not heard me talk about the Armed Forces Insurance, Military Spouse of the Year program. It is an awesome program that highlights what military spouses in every base or post, duty, station, each branch is doing.

And then there’s an overall winner, and Paulette was the 2020, and because of Covid, how that kind of messed everything up, also,, 2021 military spouse of the year and for good reason. She does really cool, really cool stuff, which we’ll get into. So, yeah, she’s super cool like that and her husband has been active duty Coast Guard for 32 years and they’ve been married for 15 of those.

So we’ll get into what that is like. They have a blended family with four boys, ages 21 to 24, so that’s gotta be fun, . And like I said, the Armed Forces Insurance military spouse of the year. So, how did you meet your Coast Guard by that point? He would’ve been like, like he was well established and you’re just like, 

[00:01:26] Paulette Fryer: We met in high school,

[00:01:28] Michelle Bowler: Really? 

[00:01:29] Paulette Fryer: We met in high school. We were very good friends. We didn’t date or anything. We were just in that same friend group that hung out together all the time. And we were really good friends and Kind of stayed friends over the years in the fact of he’d come back to our hometown and visit people and say hi every few years.

And he’d usually stop by and see my mom and dad cuz we were just, you know, that same group of kids that all hung out. And we found ourself in our early thirties, both single with these two little boys very close to the same age. We each had two. And we just really connected on a different level and it was pretty quick cuz as you know, with the military, it’s like real fast or you’re gonna wait four years.

So we decided to go for it and we got married and my two boys and I moved up to Alaska where he was. And that was 15 years ago, so. 

Love at First Salute: Navigating Rapid Romance in the Military

Michelle Bowler: Okay. How fast? 

[00:02:21] Paulette Fryer: Well, less than a year. So maybe not rocket fast, but real world life, that was pretty fast. .

[00:02:30] Michelle Bowler: Yeah. Especially for kids and especially to go from state side to Alaska. Like that’s not like, oh, I guess we’ll come live with you. Like that’s a big, big deal.

[00:02:41] Paulette Fryer: It was, and that’s kind of why it was one of those decisions, which I think a lot of military couples go through, is trying to figure out the timing. Sometimes it’s a little more rushed than you may have done it because you’ve got to make things work with military life. So I guess that’s what I mean by rushed.

[00:02:57] Michelle Bowler: Right. Yeah. Your natural inclination would’ve been to take more time, and yet you don’t necessarily have the time, so it may sound like a loaded question or like a hard question, but do you regret anything?

[00:03:17] Paulette Fryer: I don’t. 

[00:03:18] Michelle Bowler: I’m curious. Why not? Because, there are people, like you hear a lot of stories of particularly the younger generation, like the 20 year olds who are like, well we just got married so fast because of military.

Like, you have to, you just have to decide. So what is it that you have done with that decision that makes it so you don’t regret it? Does that make sense? 

[00:03:44] Paulette Fryer: Well, yes, it absolutely makes sense. I get that. And for us, who we are and that we are meant to be together for one. We were also in our early to mid thirties, so we weren’t 20 years old, and we had known each other enough over the years that it was a little bit different for us. But I will say that even though I was older and and it was a big move to Alaska, cuz that’s kind of, it’s not like a regular move, like you’re going overseas, you have to go through all the overseas clearance and all that kind of thing.

What I learned from that is that, , I really wanted to work with military spouses to make sure that people had support and connection, because even though I was a bit older and a little more established as a person, there were still challenges. And so it just became my burning passion to wanna help people through that type of situation.

And that’s why my main work is with young spouses. 

Disconnected by Duty: The Unique Challenges of Coast Guard Families Scattered Across the Map

[00:04:40] Michelle Bowler: Yeah. So was it, A culture shock like coming into the military and that’s why you’re like passionate about what you’re passionate about or? 

[00:04:52] Paulette Fryer: Well, we are Coast Guard. We are Coast Guard, so we are going to small places. We are not living on base. We are not really living in a community where there are Coast Guard families that are next door neighbors and that type of thing. Alaska was a little different. It’s a little more remote. So we had a, a little bit more of that there because it was small. But in general, we don’t have a lot of the built-in systems that the other branches have.

 And so it just became very clear to me that you had to be very intentional in working to connect Coast Guard spouses, and so I don’t know. It just became very important to me to want to see that done, to be involved with the spouse groups. And I’m a pretty outgoing person and I found, as I encountered people that weren’t, I realized how much harder that could be for them, and so I just felt like it was my responsibility to get out there and be willing to thrive in the uncomfortable little more so that they wouldn’t have to so much.

 I don’t know, I just always felt this very strong sense of responsibility to that or I think it’s a lot about paying it forward to the next generation. I knew I was a little bit older, but , it’s just my heart to see military spouses supported and connected so that they can have happier homes, have happier marriages their service member can serve better, knowing that they’re more secure.

And I just wanna help provide that for people. It’s just, important to me. Now from the get go, I don’t know if I answered your question or not Yeah, exactly. With that, but 

Elevating Resilience: Why Military Spouses Must Join Groups and Volunteer for a Stronger Coping Arsenal

[00:06:29] Michelle Bowler: no, I think you did. So how, I mean, like clearly you’re passionate about that. I know you volunteer a lot and advocate like, how did you start to get involved with that? I know you just told us the why, but how? What did that whole process kind of look like for you? 

[00:06:50] Paulette Fryer: Sure. Initially it was getting involved with the Coast Guard Spouses Club in Juno, Alaska. It started just going to functions and participating so that I could meet people. And honestly, one of the first people I met became just a huge mentor to me. They were getting ready for retirement and she was just a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to me on the Coast Guard life and, and the military life, and explained things to me that I didn’t understand, and it made such a difference in my life and in my transition there being more smooth and i definitely knew that’s what I wanted to do for other people. So in that spouse club, I just got involved and I volunteered a lot. I wasn’t really in a leadership position there. I just, you know, if they were doing breakfast with Santa, I would go and help with the kids or just whatever it was, I would help with it.

It wasn’t until we moved next that I started and got involved, like on a board position for a spouse club. But I just have always been involved in spouse clubs wherever I was and as my kids got older and I became an empty nester, I started really getting involved at that point, that’s when I got involved with the military mops.

I got involved with multi branch spouse clubs just a lot of different groups. 

[00:08:12] Michelle Bowler: Yeah, which I love. I love how you started though, because I feel like often, and I mean, maybe I just hear it often because I am in this space where I’m asking questions and and watching other military spouses ask and answer the question of like, how do you meet people?

How do you get involved and stuff? I love that you got involved in groups, but that doesn’t mean you have to like be in charge of everything, which I know is super intimidating for a lot of people for like personality reasons. But then even just somebody like me, like I have little kids, I can’t be the spouse club president, like I do not have even, like the time, but just the mental capabilities for that. But I could go and help with a breakfast or I could, do, you know what I mean? Like I love that it doesn’t have to be, you’re in charge and you’re running a million miles. You can still be hands on and stuff. 

[00:09:11] Paulette Fryer: Yeah, just be supportive. Be involved, be a part of it. Plus the fact that, you know, if there are younger spouses watching this, if you go and volunteer and just help, you’re gonna feel more a part of your community. Even if you are new someplace and you don’t really know people yet. It gives you ownership to where you are and the group you’re in.

For me personally, that’s what helps me feel settled and stable where I am. I mean, everyone is different. everyone has a different love language. I’m sure a lot of you have heard of that. But f or me, it’s feeling a part of something. So I wanna speak to those people that that’s what is their love language so that they know how to get involved and be a part of something and feel a part of their community.

Cuz we don’t really have time to waste. We can be someplace one year, two years, you know? So I don’t like to waste time with that either. Yeah, just get in there. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it’ll be worth it, I guarantee you. 

[00:10:07] Michelle Bowler: Yeah. Which like I, I have thought about and I try to talk about every time I remember too, online is like, So many times have I seen somebody at church or at the park multiple times or like just down the street where they’re kids in my kids’ class.

And so I see them walking together and it’s like, you see those people and you think multiple times like, oh, they’d be fun to talk to, or whatever. But then before you know it, they move or you finally talk to them and then it’s like they’re moving in six months. It’s like, oh, if I had talked to you six months ago, then we would’ve had a whole year. And that’s actually a lot of time to be somebody’s friends. 

[00:10:50] Paulette Fryer: Sure is. 

[00:10:51] Michelle Bowler: Well, like there’s a difference there. So what would you say, cuz I know you’re still like super involved with volunteering and stuff right now during a pandemic and all that kind of stuff. What would you say to somebody who wants to get involved right now, and I know it’s totally different, wherever people are. 

[00:11:10] Paulette Fryer: Well, I’m right in that right now. We just PCS last summer in the middle of Covid in the middle of all this. So, and we got stationed at Scott Air Force Base. My husband is the only Coast Guard person on that base. He’s a liaison officer there.

So it’s kind of a different position, but I’m in the thick of what I’m talking about here. There is no Coast Guard spouse club here. I did join the Scott Air Force Base spouse club cuz I’m you know. That’s where we’re stationed, right? And so that’s been great, but people aren’t meeting in person.

So I’m going on Zoom calls. I think I had three Zoom calls today actually, but I go on the Zoom calls. It’s harder to meet people. But it gives me a way to connect. You know, after a few times I do start recognizing some of the names and they’re doing a really good job. The spouses clubs across the board that I’ve connected with different branches, they’re really doing a phenomenal job right now with Covid and still providing, even if it’s a Zoom meeting, it’s still something, it’s something to connect to, to participate with, to meet people. I mean, it’s definitely harder right now, the mops. I am also a mentor mom for the Scott Air Force Base MOPS group, which I just got, you know, that I’m new to that as well in this area.

And again, mostly Zoom, very difficult, hard to feel like you’re really being effective, but it’s what we can do right now so we’re gonna do it. It is definitely different right now. I mean, everyone knows the world is different right now, but there are still ways that we can connect and you know, I have met a few Coast Guard spouses here because, we’re half an hour from St. Louis, and there is a station in St. Louis. It’s another state. It’s different. It’s not the command run, but some of them I’ve met a few. Even if I can get a coffee and go meet ’em on their porch, even if it’s cold, I can drop a coffee off and say, hey, hope homeschool goes great today while you’re doing it online.

I mean, I don’t have kids at home right now, so kudos to all of you navigating that, because that’s huge too. But, you know, we can find little things to do to still connect with people. and, you know, we have to get creative right now, but I think it’s important. I think it’s still valuable, even if it’s just a couple people, to those couple people it could be life changing for their experience in a new place right now. 

Introverted Military Spouses: Discovering Community and Connection in Your Own Way

[00:13:27] Michelle Bowler: Yeah. Or if you are the, I don’t know if like introverts the word or if you’re the newbie, if you’re the person who’s longing for a tribe, even creating those few connections, which I feel like really honestly right now, like if you haven’t gotten that lesson, that’s the lesson. Like right now, I cannot rely on anyone else or any other organization to build a connection for me. But connection with other people is so important. So like do that favor for yourself. Like build in that human interaction in the human connection for yourself.

Yes. Even if it is like dropping off a drink or. A quick text message or hopping on the Zoom, even though it’s not what we want, but at least it’s something. 

[00:14:19] Paulette Fryer: It’s better than nothing. And for instance, me being here in a new place, I’m grateful for it because it gives me some relationship that I wouldn’t have, and I need that.

[00:14:28] Michelle Bowler: Yeah. It’s at least seeing a smiling face. 

[00:14:33] Paulette Fryer: Yes, I can do that for sure. 

[00:14:37] Michelle Bowler: I love it. So what, because I know you’re like, you’re a huge military spouse advocate, what, what is it that you really advocate for with military spouses. 

[00:14:53] Paulette Fryer: So I am passionate about making sure people are supported and connected. So not a specific platform within that, maybe? I love the military division of mops. I think it’s wonderful what they do to support the young moms that are home with kids in isolated covid or not.

 Dealing with deployments, raising small kids by themselves. I think that is that’s probably my biggest passion is because I wanna see them succeed. I wanna see them happy, supported and I want to be there to help. They don’t have their moms and aunties right around them, right?

I wanna be there to help answer a question. I wanna be he there to, if something happens and their grandma dies and they’re a young little couple that can’t afford to fly home, I can at least go over there and hug her and hold her kids for a little bit. Like just, just providing support so that they can be happy that they’re a military spouse and be happy that their spouse is serving our country and i just think it just is gonna build stronger families for the next generation of military spouses. So that’s my biggest passion. And then within the Coast Guard community, we are more isolated in general, so I just try to work hard to connect them with each other and there are a lot of resources available to all of us as military spouses across the board.

 and within the Coast Guard community, we just don’t know about ’em. And so it’s a passion of mine to just try to connect Coast Guard spouses more to resources that they don’t know are available to them and that type of thing. Even through this whole Armed Forces Insurance military spouse of the year program.

I didn’t even know about it before I was nominated. I did not. I had never heard of it. And so it’s, definitely something that I’m working towards over the next year just to let more Coast Guard spouses, coast Guard groups know, hey, this program is here. It’s amazing. It does a great job to support and elevate military spouses and we need to get more Coast Guard spouses involved into it.

 Those are some general areas that I am just trying to work to connect people better. And you know what’s interesting that because we can’t be in person, I’m actually getting to speak at spouse groups. I spoke at one in Petaluma, California. I spoke and shared a minute in DC today. 

It’s afforded me the opportunity to do that in a way I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. Not that I want it to be Covid and all that, but I’m gonna find the silver lining in it as well. 

MOPS Programs: Empowering Military Moms Through Supportive Communities

[00:17:26] Michelle Bowler: Yeah, for sure. So what is something, or things not, maybe not just one thing, that we as a military spouse community can do better to help with that mission. Do you know what I mean? Because like you’re on a mission and you are involved with mops and you know, like you’re being that mentor. But have you seen ways or had moments where you’re just like, oh, I just wish that. You would do this better? Do you know what I mean? 

[00:17:56] Paulette Fryer: Yes. As far as military mops goes, I really would like to see more chapters open.

 there are 52 of them across the country. We do have some overseas, but mostly here in the States. I would like to see more installations, have them and so, i kind of had a plan with that. Covid has made it very difficult. I haven’t really been able to make a lot of progress with that, but we’ve got another year hoping to get to speak at the National Convention for mops.

They have this MOMcon convention. and I’ve been talking periodically with the VP of Global Ministries there and kind of working with Archie . He runs the military division, I think it would be great to get some more of those chapters open at different installations so that our young moms can have that support because there are a lot of great programs already at the chapels and at different bases, but there’s something about mops with the with the.

Mentors to the younger ones, face to face, shoulder to shoulder, kind of walking through these things with them. That’s different than going to a counselor on base when you’re struggling with something. I just feel like that relationship gets built in a different way and it’s so important. 

So, just maybe getting the word out for people to know that, you know, if they wanna seek out starting a chapter where they are, if they don’t have one, or just looking for one in your area to grow those. I feel like that would be something that that something I’m hoping can be accomplished over the next year, it’s been really hard for Covid because a lot of the groups aren’t even meeting like normal and it’s a hard time right now, so. 

How Military Spouses Can Build Better Connections In Their Neighborhoods

[00:19:34] Michelle Bowler: is there something we could do better to build that connection? Even just like in our neighborhoods? Do you feel like, or do you feel like people are kind of, I think, I mean, my biggest encouragement to people is to reach, reach out, and even when it’s uncomfortable, like I’m the new person here, but I’m still doing it even.

You know, I don’t, I don’t really know people where I am here. Mm-hmm. . I just think if people are willing to get outta that bubble in a sense and reach out to people and be willing to go in the uncomfortable to connect to each other, it’s, it benefits both parties. And I think, you know, the isolation we’ve been experiencing because of Covid especially, has made it really, really hard.

But I think it’s, Taking that effort, going the extra mile that you have to do to make those connections right now because, There are a lot of people struggling mental health-wise right now in isolation, and so I guess my recommen recommendation is just to, even if it’s hard, make those efforts to connect with those around you however you can right now, whatever is safe and comfortable for you.

Obviously we have to be, you know, socially distancing and being safe and making good decisions that way, but don’t let that be an excuse not to connect with those around you. And I don’t know how many people watch this that. Specifically military, but my encouragement to everyone is to notice those people around you that may be by themselves and not having someone to talk to and just always being aware to reach out and to be kind that way because people that haven’t lived our type of lifestyle don’t understand how important that can be.

Just that smile, that gesture. Come have a seat by me or what, whatever that looks like. Just reaching out can make such a difference for people and we as military spouses know that. But that’s something to pass on to the younger ones cuz it’s a learned thing too. It’s not Yeah. Natural for a lot of people.

And so that’s my encouragement. 

Yeah, I love that cause cuz right now it is hard and if you are not. , like I am . I’m not naturally the one. When I’m out of my comfort zone, I just like jump, not jump out at people that, like, sounds scary, but just like jumping at people to jump into social situations or to speak up at a, so, so, wow, that’s really hard to say.

Social situations. because I get tongue tied and so I don’t wanna speak up, which is funny cuz I have a podcast , but for some reason that’s less intimidating than like a one-on, or like a, a group conversation or whatever, like with some unit event or whatever. But 

I’ve learned the hard way that if, if I don’t, then it’s, it’s a really lonely life.

It’s, I think it is just good to hear like the effort right now is worth it, and I think we can even see the value and importance in it even more right now because it l it literally is

Sorry, like hormone, like it’s, it’s lifesaving right now. It is, it, it really is. There have been, it literally is, there have been so many issues with suicide and even maybe not like jumping to that super high degree, but. Serious mental health issues that I’ve seen at our base, I’ve heard happening at other bases and not just with the soldiers, right?

Like we talk about 22 veterans. How that number is too high, the military spouse. Number is getting too high and Covid is not helping. But I feel like Covid is just teaching us like we can’t be afraid of the hard. Whether that is the extra effort or the. Like putting our pride down or whatever keeps us from being social and connecting with people.

Yes. We just have to say like, screw it. It’s like, it’s too important. 

Embracing Discomfort: The Key to Strengthening Your Military Spouse Community

[00:24:01] Paulette Fryer: You have to be willing to get unco a little bit uncomfortable. Learning to thrive in the uncomfortable. That’s, I’ve, I think I’ve said that more this year than ever. This is a side note, a little different than being a military spouse, but I also have a group called The Million Mile Project, which I don’t know if you’ve heard of, but I do have a cousin who lost his battle to P T S D during this time of Covid.

He’s a Marine Corps veteran, and through that we started this Million Mile project. And a little bit different than what we’ve been talking about, but also trying to. Just combat the issues of P T S D, the isolation that covid is causing, making that worse for a lot of people. Mm-hmm. and encouraging people to get out and like, walk, run, bike, whatever that looks like to get active and help work against that whole, you know, Isolation issue and just feeling more healthy with getting some miles in in some way.

But that is something that can really help a lot of people in that situation as 

[00:24:58] Michelle Bowler: well. Thank you for bringing that up because even like, cuz I participated with that and it was Yay. So cool. Like the Facebook group was so cool just to watch people cheering people on or even. . I mean, I hope I commented a lot to cheer people on because I wanted to encourage people.

Mm-hmm. , but even just like seeing what other people were doing and mm-hmm. , that was super helpful for me to like connect with other people. just cuz you’re, you’re doing the same cause like, you’re like, no. Yeah. 

[00:25:32] Paulette Fryer: We’re doing it together. Even though we can’t be together and we’re in all these different places, it’s something that we can do together from where we are.

So it provided a lot of different positive things. It got people more active. It let them connect from far apart. Mm-hmm. . But it, it also allowed people. Do their walks and their miles in honor of someone that they may have lost that they loved mm-hmm. . And there was just a lot of healing that took a place during that too.

And we’ve go, we’ve extended it’s going, it’s still going. We’re doing it all year, and we’re having people document on the 22nd of the month if you go on there and get your miles in. We’re just still heading towards that million miles. I don’t know how long it’ll take us to get there, but it’s we’re, we’re not stopping.

Yeah. . 

[00:26:16] Michelle Bowler: Yeah. Which I love cuz one, that’s a super cool project. So go check that out for sure. But that’s also, it’s a good example of like, no, it’s not meeting together at the chapel or whatever room for mops or for the play date or for whatever. Not meaning, but like group that you want to be a part of and you want to be involved in, but it’s still a form of connection and I feel like there’s so many more opportunities out there for us military spouses to connect specifically with each other, but also just like if you go on Facebook and like Google, I don’t know, whatever you’re into.

Fishing dogs. Yeah, dogs. We’re fishing. Like there’s a group in your local area that loves to talk about that. Oh, my favorite has been plants. There’s a has Fort Campbell where we are, is right by a city called Clarksville, and it’s like, I was 

[00:27:19] Paulette Fryer: just there this weekend. Why did I think you were 

[00:27:22] Michelle Bowler: in California?

Because I grew up in California and I was literally there. Dang it. I was there this weekend. 

[00:27:32] Paulette Fryer: We were in Coville and we went to Fort Campbell to the Exchange . 

[00:27:36] Michelle Bowler: That’s so really nice. Okay, side note, now I’m all frustrated,

right? So there’s like a Clarksville plants and. I wanna say it right in case somebody wants to look it up, but it’s like plant hobbyist and bohemian or whatever. And I’m not super like boho, but it is super fun and sometimes like, I don’t look at it every day, but sometimes I’m just like, let’s see how my plant people are.

And like looking at people’s plants. And the funny means that, You know, pudding? Mm-hmm. , or the deals that I found on good indoor or outdoor plants. Like it’s given me like, it’s such a weird dorky connection, but it’s something, and it’s like not talking about, I don’t know, whatever. Toddler spit up . Yeah.

It’s not, it’s not talking about. First grade math is going, or what’s new on Coco Melon or Bluey like, or somebody taking five hours to explain their game that they invented. Like it’s a, I don’t know. It’s just my thing. It’s something that’s, that I love to talk about. That’s great. That’s just like a silly Facebook group and not that Million Mile project is a silly Facebook group, but it’s like, it’s a simple.

Way for us to connect. 

[00:29:07] Paulette Fryer: Yeah. I knew I couldn’t really do anything about the issue of P T S D mm-hmm. , I wanted to bring more awareness to military and veterans suicide because I do think it’s, you know, that number 22 has gone up during covid and it’s not acceptable. But it’s something that I could do.

to try to connect people for a common cause and get people active, which is good for your mental health anyway. Mm-hmm. . And we do have guest people that come on the page right now. We have ’em come once a month on the 22nd. This month’s gonna be really cool. But we’re just trying to have something where people can come for resources, come to honor people, and just build that community.

So, would love to have anyone watching this mm-hmm. , go to the Million Mile Project on Facebook and join us. We would love to have you. Awesome. 

Paulette's Key To Thriving As A Military Spouse

[00:29:53] Michelle Bowler: Yeah, last question. I was like, I just wanna make sure I don’t get to the end and like, oh, I wanted to ask her this. Sure. What is your key to thriving? Because I know you, like, you thrive and you want us all to thrive.

What’s your key to thriving for your fellow waiting warriors?

[00:30:09] Paulette Fryer: Well, I’ll tell you, I, I, I feel like I’m kind of repeating myself, being a little bit redundant, but it’s connecting with those around you and connecting with other military spouses. Even if you are an introvert and you’re a little uncomfortable with it, there are still ways you can do it.

So that you are not in this alone and that you have support. If it’s just that one person you can connect with and you’re a little more reserved and you just need that one friend that can make all the difference in your life in this place you’re stationed right now in, in this point in time just be willing.

to connect, and if you’re like me and you’re a little more of an extrovert and you really thrive on people, then it’s just getting out there and getting creative and finding those ways to co connect with those around you. So, you know, my little, my little motto is hashtag together, we’re stronger because I believe that there are strength in numbers with that, and that we are connecting and we’re feeling supported.

We feel like we can handle so much more that way And mm-hmm. I just think that’s really important. . 

[00:31:15] Michelle Bowler: Absolutely. Okay. So kind of side question. Yes. This kind of popped in my mind because you mentioned like the introvert, and I know you’re not an introvert, so you’re not like some sort of expert, but do you think that someone can be a thriving military spouse if like they say, oh, well I do have somebody, it’s my spouse.

[00:31:41] Paulette Fryer: do you know what 

[00:31:42] Michelle Bowler: I mean? And like yes. That be their person. 

[00:31:46] Paulette Fryer: If it’s working for them and they’re okay and don’t feel like they’re missing something mm-hmm. , then I’m not saying they can’t mm-hmm. . And that’s not a professional thing. That’s just my opinion. Yeah. But I feel like in this life as a military spouse, we don’t have our.

available to us all the time. Yeah. So I think it is important to have other people around you, even if it’s for an emergency, even if it’s for having someone you feel comfortable putting on the emergency call list for your child with school . You know, all of us military spouses know what it feels like to move somewhere and not have someone for that list, you know?

I think it just helps to have someone that understands your life, what you’re going through. . I think we all wanna have someone that understands us that way and mm-hmm. , there’s gonna be, a lot of times our spouse is not going to be available. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:32:40] Michelle Bowler: Or even just like, like you’re saying, like somebody who understands my husband is like, I know everybody says my husband’s the best husband.

My husband really is. Freaking amazing at being understanding and loving and caring, but he has no clue at all what it’s like to say goodbye to your spouse for weeks or months on end. and be home with how, you know, one through four ki kids. And we’re, 

[00:33:19] Paulette Fryer: we’re completely alone like I am right now. Yeah. Like I’m on the other side of it.


[00:33:23] Michelle Bowler: I, oh, I can’t, that’s like scary. I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna be in a 

[00:33:27] Paulette Fryer: house alone. I’m getting used to it. , but it’s 

[00:33:31] Michelle Bowler: a real. . Yeah. But like our spouses don’t know what that’s like, and that’s not because they’re stuck up or ignorant or whatever. It’s, they don’t, they’re not going to experience that. But other military spouses are, even if they, you know, another military spouse who’s gone through a deployment can connect with me on a way that my husband can’t, even if she doesn’t have kids.

You know what I 

[00:33:53] Paulette Fryer: mean? Like Yeah. Having someone that can relate to what you are walking through. Yeah. I think that for me, Gives me strength. Yeah. I don’t feel alone. Yeah. I don’t feel alone. 

[00:34:07] Michelle Bowler: It’s like I wanna go like, yeah. Stronger together. , 

[00:34:11] Paulette Fryer: that’s stronger together. I know it’s kinda dorky, but it’s my thing.

I’m willing to be a dork if it helps people . 

[00:34:18] Michelle Bowler: Me too. That’s I think the Do Doy gear. The dork gear. Wow. Words, guys. The Dork gear. I am the more comfortable other people are at just being themselves. So I’m willing to take on that. 

[00:34:34] Paulette Fryer: That’s me a hundred percent. I am willing to take it for the team and be silly or whatever, if it’s going to help other people feel more comfortable and help them break through something they’re trying to break through.

So definitely feel that way. I love 

[00:34:49] Michelle Bowler: it. So if somebody wants to reach out, say thank you. Or get involved, cheer you on, all those things. What’s the best way for people to connect with you? I know you mentioned the Facebook group. Mile Million Mile project. Yes. 

[00:35:04] Paulette Fryer: The Million Mile project on Facebook would love to have anyone that cares about military families and personnel in general.

Come on there. That’s great. I have Paulette Fryer 2020. Armed Forces Insurance, military Spouse of the Year. I know that’s a mouthful, but I do have a Facebook page and I also have an Instagram under that same thing. My name and 2020 A f I, military Spouse of the Year. Love to have you follow me there.

You can message me from there. Connect with me. Would love to hear from you. . Awesome. 

[00:35:36] Michelle Bowler: And you guys know she means it. She’s talking. I really do. She really does. You’re watching on YouTube, like you can, you can just feel it. Some people like their face and the way they say things, you’re like, oh, they mean that.

And Paulette means that. I 

[00:35:50] Paulette Fryer: do. Yeah. . 

[00:35:51] Michelle Bowler: So thank you, Paulette. Thank you for coming on. Sharing your heart, sharing your passion. We can be better in just the good conversation guys. Make sure you go say thank you Paulette’s. Awesome. 

[00:36:02] Paulette Fryer: Thanks so much, Michelle, for having me. It was just really a privilege. 

[00:36:05] Michelle Bowler: Of course.

Many worries. Remember, just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it has to be miserable. Have a good week, guys. Thanks again. Paulette. Thank you.

3 Ways To Set Up Your Relationship For A Successful Deployment/TDY/Training

3 Ways To Set Your Military Marriage Up For A Successful Deployment, TDY, or Training
Michelle Bowler- military spouse - creator of the Bulletproof Your Reintegration Course

Author - Michelle Bowler

 Army wife of 11+ years, mom for 4 girls and a boy in heaven, and hardcore believer that it’s possible to have a thriving marriage, family, and military life.