Life as a Stay at Home Wife

What do I do with my time?

*Tea review will be added later.

**This post was typed on a mobile device. Instead of excusing any grammatical and spelling errors, kindly excuse and pass over them.

Hey everyone! Life has hit full force and the life I thought I’d have here is so much greater than I ever imagined it to be. When we made the decision for me to quit my job to move to Italy, I surely thought I’d have a tougher time finding things to fill up the calendar.

I guess this post is to sort of explain my lack of posting regularly by expressing that I’m not simply being lazy. However, now that some balance is being achieved I have a plan to make sure this personal project doesn’t completely fall between the cracks and actually becomes part of the productivity I seem to still have day by day.

Growing Friendships and My Support System

You’re probably thinking, “Wow, spending time with friends sure sounds productive.” Maybe the thought was even accompanied by an eye roll. As a military wife, this is crucial, especially living abroad. Until living here, I could count the number of people I knew who had lived overseas on one hand. In college and working after graduation, I did not have any friends who have gone through this type of experience, or at least not any who shared about it.

Being able to talk with people about struggles I’m currently facing has been so valuable. Yeah, I can talk to my husband about it, but sometimes it’s nice having other perspectives on the situation. There’s a lot of things to get used to technology wise and regarding the culture.

For example, this winter was REALLY cold. I felt like I couldn’t layer on enough clothes to keep warm sometimes and the space heater became an extension of me as I wheeled it from room to room. At first, I thought I was being a huge wimp about it. Turns out this was one of the coldest winters or area has had in awhile. I learned that from others who lived here last winter… and then when it snowed for the first time in six years.

Also, it’s nice having people to run errands and carpool with. Sometimes I’ll tag along on a trip to the commissary just to spend time with a friend. Other times, we’ll plan a day to meet at the gym to get a work out in. I should probably do more of the latter.

I can’t forget my friends and support system back home. I still talk with them regularly as the time difference permits and am really trying to become a card person on people’s birthdays/special occasions back home. All my life, my grandmother has been so good about sending me cards and even postcards when they traveled the world. I’m returning the favor even though her birthday card was late, Brussels was a month ago, and Easter already passed. I said I’m trying…

Exploring My Interests

One thing you should know about me is that I LOVE playing softball. Prior to now, I was playing multiple times a week. It’s finally softball season here! We have practice three times a week and games start soon. You have NO idea how excited this makes me that I can play even for a few months over here. Also, I’m finally exploring the talent I have in written. During school, I was complemented several times on my writing ability and even have a bachelor’s degree in English. For years, I’ve wanted to start a blog. Obviously, I’ve done that. I started exploring the world of freelance so my voice and experience can be read in other parts of the internet. Eventually, I’ll compile some links together so you can check out some of my other, more professional work that’s out there. This shouldn’t come as a shock, but I’m just as guilty of binging Netflix and keeping up on television shows as most people are. I watched a lot of Christmas movies and finally got myself some Hulu access to keep up with shows from back home. There are days (occasionally) that I reward myself with only watching tv. I use the term “reward” her a little loosely.

Training, Meetings, and Trips

Yeah, I go on trips and they are a blast. I feel so fortunate to be able to experience the variety of cultures that Italy and the rest of Europe have to offer. Belgium and Spain were both fantastic! We have a cruise and two trips planned for Germany coming up soon so stay tuned!

I do take advantage of free trainings that are offered by the Navy that spouses can participate in. I’ve gone through SafeTalk, a suicide intervention and prevention training, and a training on being a valuable sponsor to someone new coming to our command. We’ll actually be going to Germany to participate in a Marriage Enrichment Retreat. For me, these experiences give me more that I can bring back to the states with me. I want to continue having a happy, successful marriage, and I know the SafeTalk training is something that will benefit me when I start applying to positions at a university again.

And yes, I go to meetings. The ombudsman hosts a meeting each month to address any information to us from the command and hear any concerns from the dependents. I’ve learned something every single time I’ve gone. When they’re held and I’m invited, I’ll go to meetings or briefings for wives who have husbands on the ship to try to better understand their perspective and possibly support them better if I can.

The Marriage Stuff

What I really mean is continuing to shape our marriage. It’s definitely evolved since we first started living together and in the long run the changes have been positive. We grocery shop together and use that time to discuss what we’ll have for dinner. It’s also when we talk about when we’ll go out to dinner instead. A cleaning schedule was put in place a couple weeks ago after a “discussion.” I believe it’s been helpful but the jury is still out on that. If anything, it reminds us both (*cough* mostly me *cough*) what has been cleaned that week and what still needs attention. I used to only do things away from the house when my husband was at work, but now, I’ve allowed myself a little more autonomy. Just because he’s home, doesn’t mean I have to be. Through trial and error, I’m learning what a good balance looks like for both of us to feel like we have a good amount of quality time together, whether it’s watching tv, cooking dinner, or walking around the NEX looking at things we don’t really need.

Basically…

Being a stay-at-home wife is not what I thought it would be, and I think it’s a lot different than others think it is. I don’t wear pearls and vacuum every day. I don’t eat chips and become part of the couch (most days). Heck, I don’t even clean every day. Work-life balance isn’t something that only exists on the workplace. It exists at home too. I know I’d be miserable if I was the stereotypical stay-at-home wife, so I’ve redefined that role. I’m using this opportunity to better myself, my marriage, my friendships, and my experience living here.

**The reason I’m writing his from my phone is because we were watching a Champions League game in our room. My husband fell asleep and I had been working on freelance stuff. Instead of going another week without posting, I decided to finally bring this post to life by the light of my cell phone.

6 Ways You Know You’re Probably on a Military Base

what’s it like on base?

See this week’s tea review now or read it at the end of the post.

Now that I’m finally official over here in Italy, I thought maybe I’d share some of the things I’ve experienced when it comes to being on base and how it differs from… outside off base. I think most of my friends (and maybe readers) have never been on a military base before, and those of you who have, feel free to share anything I missed and stories you have.

Also, before any of my non-Navy friends chew my head off… I know it’s called a post for some of you. Please, just roll with me this once. Thanks! 😛

1. You needed your ID to get on base.

Despite the fact that our tax dollars fund the government which funds the military, military bases are secure installations. That means they don’t allow your Average Joe and Jane to just waltz in.

If you are a military member or dependent, you’ll show your military issued ID to get through any gate that serves as an entrance. Civilians, or those with no military affiliation, need to be sponsored by a military member or dependent before being allowed to enter.

This goes for everyone. No ID, no entry, no exception.

2. Everything stops twice a day.

Literally, everything stops at 0800 and sunset when you’re on base. This time is reserved for something called “colors.” Colors is when the flag is raised and lowered each day.

To signify colors is happening, you’ll hear the Star Spangled Banner playing. Cars stop driving and people stop walking while it’s playing. Once it is finished, normal activity resumes.

“Why?” you ask. It’s a simple answer. Respect.

3. You’ll have to drive slow and stop at stop signs.

Speed limits on military bases are generally lower than normal streets. For example, most places have a 45-50 MPH speed limit on main roads that aren’t residential. These types of roads are restricted to about 20 MPH with you’re on base/post. Sometimes it’s even slower!!

Don’t even think about going even one MPH over that limit either. Military police are ready to hit you with a ticket that’ll just piss you off. Same with the stop signs. If you’ve never stopped at one and plan to visit a military base, start practicing… like now… seriously, everyone actually stops at them.

4. Gotta scan that ID again to buy groceries.

Yeah, you read that right. Not only do we have to show our military IDs to get on base, but we have to scan it AGAIN before we can even start our grocery purchases. Sometimes, we have to show it just to get in the commissary. Commissary is our fancy name for the grocery store. 😉

Also, if you shop in the NEX (Navy Exchange), you’re supposed to show your ID at the checkout counter. It might not be as consistent because it’s not a step that’s part of the checkout process, but they are SUPPOSED to check that you’re a military member or dependent first.

Basically, the takeaway here is that unless you have a military ID, you’re not going to be purchasing anything. “But what if the military person scans their ID at the commissary, then I pay with my card?” You could do that, but it’s not really kosher.

Prices at the commissary and NEX are a little lower than at your normal grocery and department store, so even buying stuff for someone who isn’t permitted to come on base is considered a no-no. Just don’t do it, it’s not that much cheaper anyway and definitely not worth losing your NEX/commissary privileges.

5. You’ll feel like you’re in a mini-town.

Mini is not the most accurate term because some of these “mini-towns” are HUGE! They have their own zip codes sometimes. What I mean is that you really can find a lot of the same offerings on a single military base that you can find in most towns. Police station, fire station, hospital, commissary, NEX, bowling alley, schools, libraries, restaurants, and movie theatres. All of these and more are common staples of military bases.

6. You stand for the anthem before a movie.

Speaking of movie theatres, there’s one big difference when you see a movie on base, and it’s not the cheaper ticket prices. After previews play and before every movie starts, there is a video played while the national anthem plays. Also, everyone stands during it, so put your popcorn aside and close your cell phone when the previews end.


Another disclaimer before someone says, “My base doesn’t have that.” Not EVERY base (or post) has all of these things. These are just some of the giveaways that you might be on a base. 😉


Tea of the day: Green Tea Energy
Brand: Yogi Tea
Color: Alright, so this green tea isn’t necessarily green, but it’s more of a yellow-green. That’s pretty common compared to other green teas I’ve had.
Taste: This is probably the lightest tasting tea I’ve had to date, and I’m not saying that as a bad thing. It’s so mild that it’s almost hard to detect anything, and I love it! This is so weird! I  saw lemongrass and spearmint leaf when looked at the ingredients. Maybe it’s a mind trick, but the next sip I could ever so slightly taste them. Overall, it’s actually really refreshing not having an overabundance of taste.
Ideas for next time I have this: If I ever feel like I want the energy component of this and more taste, adding lemon and/or honey is definitely my go-to step.

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Closing the Gap – Military Wife Myths

What’s it like being a military life?

I’m in the midst of preparing to head back to Italy and it’s a bit overwhelming. I’ve been away from my husband for over a month and I kind of feel like it’s the first time I’ll be visiting again, except this time I get to stay. There’s always been a combination of shipping items over and figuring out how to pack everything else that, in the end, really ends up being a lot easier. I can guarantee in 24 hours I’ll admit all this stress really wasn’t worth it.

Since my husband and I are FINALLY closing the distance (YAY! The sponsorship process is over! We get to finally live together officially!), I thought I’d let you all know some of the common questions I get often being a military wife and now as a sponsored military wife.

I usually put a tea review, but right now, I want to get this blog post out there and I’ll add a tea review later. 🙂

Did you get to fly home for free?

Well, that certainly would have been amazing! No, I do not get to fly home for free now that we are married. There are Space A flights but a lot is dependent on who else is being transported on that flight and why. There’s so many other individuals that could bump me from a spot on a Space A flight (which would be free) and that journey home could be drastically long.

What I’ve gotten really good at is finding really affordable flights and making our money work to our advantage. This mean sometimes I fly from a larger airport to save on airfare, don’t opt in for in-flight meals, and use flight rewards from my credit card to get a little hopper flight back to Phoenix. Let me know if you’d like a blog post with some of those tips.

How come your husband didn’t wear his uniform in your wedding?

For those of you who know me in person, you know I got married “twice.” Once to be legally wed and start our sponsorship process, and the second to enjoy with our family and close friends. Neither time did my husband wear his dress uniform, and I’m ok with that. It was entirely HIS decision to make.

First, there is no rule that says, “If you’re in the military and get married, you must wear your uniform.” It’s completely a choice that’s left up to the service member. As I thought more about it, there’s more reasons service members may choose to wear their dress uniform, because they primary reason I could come up with not to wear it is very simple. They don’t want to. Then THAT reason can go in zillions of different directions.

Here’s some reasons I thought of that make a whole lot of sense for a service member to wear their dress uniform when getting married.

  • It’s the nicest outfit they own at the time.
  • A new suit/tux/outfit is not affordable at the time.
  • The service member’s participation in the military is a very strong part of their whole life.
  • They want to wear it.

Bullet point #3 might throw some people off. In my husband’s case, the Navy is a large part of his life right now, but hasn’t been a large part of his life as a whole. He enlisted after graduating college, having a career, accomplishing a huge feat in refereeing, and was quite a bit older than most other recruits. Had he enlisted right out of high school MAYBE it would have been a different story.

If you’re married, how come you’re not living together?

Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as simply getting married to be able to live together when it comes to the military. It’s an even bigger pain in the butt when you’re stationed OCONUS (Outside the Continental US), and even MORE complicated if the service member had orders there before you get married.

Here’s the short story. We got married and immediately started the paperwork needed to get command sponsorship for me to officially join my husband. That took almost four months to get the approval and continue moving in the direction of getting a visa for me, which took another three months. So after seven months, I’m finally in a position where I can officially live with my husband where he is stationed.

You need a visa even if you’re there with the military…?

Ok not so much a question as a statement said in a confused tone.

Yes, I need a visa to stay in the country my husband is stationed in. This isn’t always the case with each country, but with Italy, it is. Service members do not need a visa, but spouses and other dependents do. Not only do I need a visa, but I’ll get what in someway is an Italian green card, called a soggiorno.

#FunFact! I can stay in Italy the length of my visa, and can travel throughout the Schengen area as I please without adhering to tourist restrictions!

Now that you’re married, why aren’t you having kids right away? Don’t you get more money for having kids?

No, we don’t get more money for having kids while my husband is in the military. So what’s the rush?! 

It’s a common misconception that the more kids a military family has, the more money the service member gets in their paycheck. That may have been the case at one point (which I have no idea when that would be), but it is not true now. Once a service member gets married, they get allowances with dependent rates. That rate is the same whether there’s one dependent (usually the spouse) or 5 (spouse + kids).

Basically, we’re in a different country with lots of access to areas we won’t be able to get to as easily once we PCS. Having kids is not the priority right now. We have a single income and hopes of seeing as much of Europe as we can before returning to the US.

If you have other questions about being a military wife, leave a comment or sending me a message! If there’s enough, maybe you’ll see a part 2 to this post. 🙂