I Am a Trailing Spouse

It can be hard when your partner is traveling. The Joy Project is speaking out about the frustrations and blessings that come with being a trailing spouse.

By 96five NetworkTuesday 6 Jun 2017LifeReading Time: 4 minutes

This article has been supplied and reproduced with permission from Sarah at The Joy Project, a 96five community contributor.

“Hi and what do you do?”

Oh my goodness how many times have you been asked this question or asked this question of another ?

In my head and sometimes out loud I respond with “in my former life in a parallel universe I was a professional life saver before all this globe trotting started”

But now my standard response is “actually I’m a full time mum of two not so little kids, wife of jet setting man who’s not at home very much, professional Spaghetti Bolognese maker, expert laundry doer, chief operating officer of all within my little kingdom”.

But I now have discovered I have a new title that I can attach to my resume.

How many of you like me, are what is called  “the trailing spouse”?

Recognising the Blessings of Being a Trailing Spouse

At first I had no idea what this term even meant or realised the significance of it. But as the years and the house moves have increased, so to has my understanding of being a trailing spouse.

I was never a major career person, although I loved my job as a registered nurse, it was never the be all and end all for me. So when we first left the UK, I was very happy to hang up my stethoscope and take on the full time mum and housewife mantle.

I actually felt incredibly grateful to even have a family to look after as kids did not come our way easily. And to be able to stay home and look after them was a gift and I am very grateful to have been able to do so.

But as we moved around, I discovered that with each move you can lose a little more of who you once were, as your life becomes that of the new family at school, the chief washer, shopper, cooker, cleaner, relocation discoverer, chief family operator to a husband who travels 70% of the time.

Who I once was, seemed to be disappearing into the dim distant past.

Don’t get me wrong I have the best husband and kids ever (ok, lets be honest here, we all have moments and that’s me!!) but honestly they are great and I wouldn’t change things for the world.

But I guess there have been many times it has become pretty overwhelming as we arrive in new cities that have been chosen by work rather than choice, and my husband goes off to a new job, in a new office and meets lots of new people. Me well I have to sort everything else out, which I have got better at over the years, but there are many many times I have become totally overwhelmed!! moving to a new place not knowing a soul and having to start again.

It always can sound so glamorous to others that we have lived all over the place and yes it has been amazing and I feel truly blessed to have lived in some amazing places and met some of the most awesome people I am honoured to call my friends.

But has it been easy??? No, it is not easy, its hard work ! and for all you lovelies going through it at the moment, know that you are not alone !

Does it get easier ?? Yes, it does. But everyday you have to get out there and make an effort, make new friends and start creating a new home for your family.

Lessons Learned

With every new chapter that is being written in our lives, I know more than ever that I am not defined by a title or a job description, but by who I am, the person that I am, the mother that I am, the wife that I am, the friend that I am, the sister, the daughter and the woman of faith that I am

The legacy I leave when we move isn’t what did I do but who was I ?

Did I love others well?

Did I welcome others and nurture those that needed it?

Did I reach out to those who needed a hand?

Did I look beyond my own needs and my own little world, to make a difference as and when I could.

If you like me are a trailing spouse, a professional Spaghetti Bolognese maker, chief family operator. whether you go out to work and earn a living or stay at home and keep everything together. I take my hat off to you and salute the amazing job you are doing!!

You are valued and what you do is important. Kids need their parents!!!!! so much ! Our spouses need us as we need them, marriages take work and the fact that you have moved all over with them is enormous testament to your strength (even if you don’t feel strong).

So never ever doubt that you are anything other than a highly amazing valuable person and you matter, and remember you are not defined by a title, but by who you are, and that is true wherever you live in this amazing world we live in.

Thanks to 96five community contributor The Joy Project.

For related content, visit thejoy-project.com