The importance of military spouse mentorship

The importance of military spouse mentorship

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

Mentors aren’t just for active-duty members. Having a military spouse mentor can be an incredibly valuable gift. They can help you navigate your way through this unpredictable and sometimes chaotic lifestyle. As a newlywed and brand new military spouse, I can vividly recall the overwhelming anxiety, nervousness and apprehension I felt when my husband joined. I didn’t grow up in a military family, so I had no clue what we were about to embark on. Thankfully, I developed friendships with spouse mentors who helped guide me through tough situations. Here are some reasons why military spouse mentorship is such an important tool to have in your arsenal.

  1. Career advice. According to the Department of Labor, a little more than 50% of military spouses are employed (compared to 76% of non-military spouses). With the constant moving and relocating, finding ways to further advance a career can be challenging. Finding a mentor with similar goals and ambitions can help you slog through those difficulties. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions to those who have gone before. On the flip side, if you’re a full-time professional, just know those looking to get a foot in the door often welcome any advice.
  2. Military life. If you’re newly married or a new military spouse and aren’t quite sure where to begin, it can feel daunting. However, we have ALL been in those shoes at one point or another. Although our experiences may be different, it’s good to reach out to others who may be going through something similar – especially if they’re in your significant other’s command or unit. Often, you’ll find awesome and seasoned pros who have a wealth of knowledge of how the military life works. I’ve reached out to older and wiser spouses to help me understand certain situations. Now that I’ve become one of the older spouses, I’ve been able to (hopefully) impart a few words of wisdom to the newer military spouses. The best part is still getting schooled by some of the younger ones.
  3. Networking. Military spouse mentors are an important part of building a network. Not only do they provide invaluable lessons and life experiences, but they also help connect you to others who may be able to help you out along your journey. Although there are still plenty of spouse clubs and associations, there are other ways to build a networking foundation. In the age of social media, it’s amazing to see how small and supportive the military community really is.
  4. Friendship. While mentors can provide knowledge, advice and guidance, they can also become some of your closest friends and staunchest allies. Many of my personal mentors are enjoying post-military retirement, I’m very lucky to call them my friends and ask for advice when necessary.

There are plenty of online resources for military spouse mentorship, including some great programs listed on Military One Source. Take a chance and reach out, you’ll be glad you did.

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