Written by Angela Caban,
Being a National Guard wife has many challenges. Susanna Green has been an Army National Guard wife for 10 years, and has slowly learned to transition from guard to active. From constant separations to single parenting of 4 children, Susanna has been through it all. In her Life of a Military Wife, Susanna shares how she copes and how nothing in her life could make her any happier.
What are some of the challenges that you face as a National Guard wife?
One if the challenges I have recently been dealing with has been the lack of support from the military community. At first it was important to have the respect of the military community, but now it just doesn’t make a difference to us. My husband risks his life just as any active soldier and we are all the same. The other greatest challenge is the transition from active to guard once he is home. Since we don’t live on base there isn’t a large military community, but we still struggle with trying to be a part of it all. When he gets home it is like we have to shut off the military and move on with our lives. But we don’t and we can’t since he is constantly deploying. We have to be on call constantly and we never know when it will be over. But regardless of his status we are a military family and we wouldn’t change a thing.
You have been through 3 deployments in 6 years. How do you do deal with the separation process?
Well I don’t think I will ever truly fully cope with it, but like you say I learn to deal with it and try to move on. I stay busy with work and school, and of course my four children keep me busy. I always tell spouses to get active in the FRG and any other support group they may find. Volunteering as well as getting active with the church always seems to build up the morale of military women while their husbands are away.
What is a common misconception about your life that others may have mentioned to you? Well I think I can say this for all military spouses all over. Once we have been through a separation, no it does not get easier. It really is one of those comments I find that civilians make that truly are hurtful. We do not get used to it, we become more aware and perhaps this is why it is so much harder as they keep coming.
What tips would you give a spouse new to this lifestyle?
Don’t dwell on the fact that your spouse may deploy. One thing my husband has always told me is “It’s not if you will deploy, it’s when”. So always keep in mind that you cannot make any change. The faster you accept it, the faster you will be able to move on with life and enjoy the time you have together as a family.
How do your children handle the separation?
They deal with it rather well being that they attend a civilian school and have no military friends. They know why and at their ages they can understand rather well. My oldest is 10 and the youngest is 6. I think as long as parents are open and honest with their kids, they are capable of understanding and will appreciate your honesty.
For more on Angela Caban, visit her website at www.angelacaban.com.
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