Hi, I’m Michelle Bowler and welcome to my little corner of the internet. I’m an Army Wife, mama to three spunky girls, and I work from home. My hubs joined the Army a few months after we got married, and one month later I was pregnant. Two months later Austin was off to Basic Training and my whole world changed. I thought I knew what marriage and family life were about, how to really make it work. But that October-March shook me and rocked me to the core. By the time he came home and joined ROTC (giving us at least a 4 year commitment post-graduation) I realized that our family life was going to be different then I always expected it to be. It had to be.
Over the last five years that mindset has just been challenged, struggled with, but ultimately strengthened. Our journey became even more different when we decided to turn the Army into Austin’s career, not only that, but a career as an Army Chaplain. Not really something you here about everyday, but it’s where we are supposed to be.
While we are far from perfect, I had to quickly let go of all preconceived notions of what family life was going to be like. I couldn’t have the expectation that Austin would be home for dinner everyday, and we would have a lovely evening as a family before the kids skipped off to bed. Yeah, that never happened. Quite possibly never will. If I had held onto that idea I’m pretty sure I would have been really miserable.
Whether it was Army training, ROTC field trainings, or even night classes, hubs was taken away a lot. Now, it’s no different. Being a military family, you just don’t have the same lifestyle as everyone else. It’s just not going to happen, and that’s what I had to let go of. It isn’t easy, but I’ve honestly noticed a difference in my happiness on days when I’m fighting it, and days I embrace it.
And that’s why I’m here. We have to let our classic expectations go and get creative on how to make this lifestyle work for us. But here’s the funny part, I’m not super creative. As a mom I really rely on podcasts, talking with friends and blogs that share different experiences and ways to do things. Then I take it all and figure what fits for me. Sometimes it’s hard though. The thought “that would never work for me because Austin’s in the Army” is a legitimate thing. ButI have yet to find a place where military or first responders’ wives and loved ones can come together and help each other. Sure, every unit has an FRG, but why think so small? That’s why I created The Waiting Warriors. Now, we have a place we can go to for validation, ideas, and support.
With some creativity and intentional action we can thrive. Our families don’t have to suffer because of the job. We can THRIVE. While our loved one is away we don’t have to twiddle our thumbs and put life on hold. We don’t have to wait for them to be physically near for us to strengthen our family and marriages. Our loved ones don’t have to be at every soccer game or dance recital for the kids to know they are loved and supported. We can find our own way. We can have our husband be deployed, and still have a happy life. It will be crazy, but our families can be strong.
It’s possible, I know it is. Because we are strong, and together we can be even stronger.