Military and Family Life

Tips for Finding the Right Balance

Military Mom at home with Children
Catherine Ledner / Getty Images

Having a family and being in the military isn’t always an easy thing. Military life can be busy and hectic and having a spouse and children often makes even the most basic things even busier and more hectic. So is there a way to find a ​nice balance between your professional and home lives? Yep. Here’s how:

Focus on the Goal

Your ultimate goal is to make both sides of your life—your family and your career—happy and fulfilling.

If you give either side too much (or not enough), you’re going to have problems. Set goals to achieve a happier family and a more productive work life.

Give Your Family Your Best

You should be motivated to perform your best in your job because of your family, not despite them. Let them inspire you to become all you can be and, at the end of the day, give them the best part of you. Give them your smiles and your laughs. Give them your love. This might be sounding like a sappy commercial, but it’s actually true. If you give your family your best, everything else will work out fine.

Career Decisions Are Family Decisions

If you have to make a career decision (which is something all military families will have to do) make sure that the decision is being made as a family, not just by you. Share your concerns or your dreams with your spouse and have an honest discussion about what would be best for all of you.

Invite your children to participate. Sometimes a move is unavoidable, or you’ll have to take a job that will demand more of your time, but the hardship will be easier for everyone if they feel as though they had a role in making the decision.

Make Family A Priority

It’s easy to get caught up your job, and before you realize it, you’re staying later at work and then spending your after hours with your buddies instead of going home.

Make it a priority every day to spend time with your family. Put them first, and everything else in your life will fall in line.

Communicate Regularly

We can’t stress this one enough. Communicate with your spouse more than you think you need to. Sometimes it’s easy to bottle things up and keep them all inside. Inevitably, though, you’ll explode. Talk to your spouse about your struggles and stresses and be open when she or he talks to you.  Again, include your kids in this. Be open and honest with them and create an environment in which they can share their thoughts and feelings. Everyone benefits from good communication.

Accept the Inevitable

There will be times when you’ll have to miss your son’s basketball game or your daughter’s Daddy Daughter Day at school. Also accept that there will times of separation, whether due to a deployment, training, or other required duty. These times are temporary, so do your best to still stay in touch and be present as much as you can, even when you can’t be there physically.

Acknowledge That Both Parties Make Sacrifices

Your spouse might stay up all night with a baby or a sick child and you might be called on to do more than expected.  Instead of criticizing each other, or getting into some kind of “who does more” competition, make a point to acknowledge that each of you makes sacrifices every day to benefit your family.

Be respectful and try to help your spouse out more when you can. She’ll appreciate your efforts and she’ll do the same for you when you need it.