What Would You Do If Your Service Member’s Duties Weren’t an Issue?

January 23, 2019

A question in a military spouses’ group on Facebook stopped me abruptly during a Sunday morning teatime scroll. “Would you go to a work function/trip over your child’s birthday?”

I immediately thought of my own answer, which was yes. Then I wondered if I should feel guilty about it. Finally, I wondered whether there’s extra pressure put on military spouses to be present for milestone events for their children because the service members often have to be away.

During the winter my daughter was in second grade, my book club read a book in which the mom abandoned her family to go pursue her long pushed-aside dream of acting. She had stifled all the dreams she had for herself until she finally just broke. We asked each other what we would do if our children weren’t an issue.

Perhaps as military spouses we should broaden the question to include, “What would you do if your service member’s duties weren’t an issue?” Do you have something of your very own that exists beyond your family? Something that serves as a refuge from the stresses of daily life? Something that moves with you? Something that fans the flames of your life’s purpose? Something that leaves you recharged so you can show up as your best for your family?

After I got home from book club that night nine years ago, I immediately started researching intensive 200-hour yoga teacher training programs within reach of our duty station in Germany. I knew immediately that’s what I would do if I didn’t have the responsibility of a young daughter at home and a husband with long working hours. I would be gone for three weeks. A good friend from a previous duty station lived right next door and she wouldn’t mind helping with my daughter. But the training was scheduled for the fall. Not only would I miss my daughter’s first day of third grade, I would miss her eighth birthday as well.

I went and I didn’t feel badly about it. Yoga is my thing that I can call my very own. I can teach anywhere we go and I know that I am home as soon as I rest my forehead on my mat in child’s pose. Yoga helps me be quiet long enough to tune into my purpose and then have the courage to live it out.

My purpose is to learn how to be happy and well and then share what I’ve learned with others. One of the other ways I share wellness with others is through my work as the operations director for InDependent, a non-profit organization that makes wellness accessible and creates opportunities for all military spouses to connect for friendship, accountability, and inspiration. We’re best known for our annual virtual Military Spouse Wellness Summit, which is a week of wellness made easy with no childcare, travel, or missed work required. I hope you’ll join us for our “Life with Purpose” summit this year. If you do not know yet what that something is to call your very own, or if you need to create the margin in your life to go after it, our summit during the first week of March is for you. You’ll hear interviews from ten experts on how to grow, spend, love, eat, and move with purpose. Learn more here. We can’t wait to see you there!

You spend so much of this life dedicated to serving others…what is it that you have that you can call your very own?

By Kimberly Bacso, Operations Director and Co-founder of InDependent

Kimberly Bacso is the operations director and co-founder of InDependent. She began her career working as a certified public accountant and earning a Master of Business Administration degree, but after becoming an Army spouse and mom, she followed her passions for teaching and wellness and became a yoga teacher. In addition to her work for InDependent, she is the managing editor of Legacy Magazine, a print publication celebrating service member families. She is a lifelong vegetarian who loves experimenting with new recipes and enjoying a good cup of tea. She can often be found traveling off the beaten path with her husband and daughter.

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