November 13, 2020
2!…3!…4!…4!…8!…Who Do We Appreciate?
Two states, three moves, four cities, four children, and eight years to date — this has been my life since my husband joined the Navy. The military has proven to be a dynamic environment not only when it comes to service, but also as it relates to real life! My husband is an active-duty psychologist in the U.S. Navy, where his service thus far has taken him to destinations unknown and durations unknown. Be it a military school, training obligations both foreign and domestic, or deployment, the service obligations are dynamic and ever-changing with minimal notice. Those same obligations have cascading effects on the home front, leaving spouses to balance it all. For example, every time we’ve moved, I’ve had to coordinate the logistics of moving, packing, loading, accounting of goods (and children) as well as finding and enrolling the kids in school while he was away.
Other times when he is away, the daily dynamic in the home changes. I’m often left to adjust to changes as it relates to disciplinary practices, bedtime routines, grocery trips, laundry (we have so much laundry) and solo extracurricular and sport duties for months on end. Prior to Quartet, the multiple moves and multiple childbirths-obviously I had four kids in five years — made it difficult to establish a career and put my academic accomplishments to use. Quartet’s remote work options provided this military spouse a genuine work opportunity. An opportunity that aids in the efforts to keep up and maintain the changing military home front.
As the world changes around us, and with respect to inclusion and diversity efforts, Quartet realizes that being military-friendly means extending support and gratitude for our Veterans beyond the service member. As a military spouse, this support has been felt throughout my work experience at Quartet. Their overall flexibility with unlimited PTO, remote work opportunities and the general welfare they have for their employees embodies how the support of mental health is woven into the fibers of Quartet! The forward-thinking of Quartet and their support of the employees has expanded, as they make efforts to remain inclusive and supportive of military veterans and spouses. Although military spouses are not traditionally recognized on Veteran’s Day, Quartet has been progressive in their efforts to be inclusive of military spouses, an effort that I have the opportunity to experience daily. Quartet’s salute to not only Veteran service but our role in that service as well is genuinely appreciated. We feel proud not only for what our service members do, but also the roles we play on the home front.
I was at Quartet for four beautiful and blissful months prior to March 2020. During those months, I had my office to myself, with adult office décor, my kids were in school and everything seemed to be falling into place. Then COVID-19 insidiously made its way stateside. My office now looks like a hybrid classroom for Kindergarten -third grade, I have three intermittently loud students/co-workers…with no Principal or Human Resources department to report to…although my husband can sometimes fill that role. My husband, however, still has the same military obligations to adhere to, which means I have the same obligations to adjust to. I’m fortunate that I have a mother who chose to come out and help with the three year-old! But at 70 years of age, she fell ill and was hospitalized in May, which put things in perspective for me and all that I have to do. She’s doing much better now and the efforts to maintain a balance remain ongoing.
“HONOR TO THE SOLDIER AND THE SAILOR EVERYWHERE, WHO BRAVELY BEARS HIS COUNTRY’S CAUSE. HONOR, ALSO, TO THE CITIZEN WHO CARES FOR HIS BROTHER IN THE FIELD AND SERVES, AS HE BEST CAN, THE SAME CAUSE.” –Abraham Lincoln
COVID-19 has made many organizations change the way they conduct business to keep the curve flattened. The brave men of the NBA had to stay in a bubble for one to three months, away from their families, to entertain the world while making millions. The media coverage surrounding their efforts showed the sacrifice they had to make. Now, I am a big NBA fan, shout-out to the Lakers for their 17th Championship, but I say this a little tongue-in-cheek.
Our military service members do not make millions, they do not get a lot of publicity or notoriety short of a narrative that supports shock journalism, be it positive or negative press. But I think it’s important to understand what service truly is. As I mentioned previously, military service members at times are required to go to destinations unknown for durations unknown. The locations sometimes may allow for communication back to their loved ones, and sometimes may not. Sometimes the service members deploy for purpose, in order to meet a specific objective or mission. Sometimes they deploy for placement, in order to occupy space in the world, to provide surveillance on our adversaries with the ability to respond in a moment’s notice to a real-world event that infringes on our sovereignty.
With this perspective in mind, the homecomings always stand out to me most. Whether it’s sailors manning the rails on a ship as it pulls into port coming off a six-to-nine-month deployment, or families waiting at an airport with signs as the plane arrives full of Troops coming back from the middle east; the emotions are real. That homecoming may encompass missed holidays, changes in spouses and kids, missing out on birthdays, first steps and even childbirth. And unfortunately, there are times when the service member may not come home, sadly and bravely, paying the ultimate sacrifice to our country with their lives. Being in the military is a volunteer service, that all of us should be thankful for the brave men and women who choose to volunteer to protect our freedoms.
I’ve often been asked if my husband being in the military is worth the hassle of the dynamic nature that comes with the lifestyle. I often say this, as long as we have a good positive mental attitude, and an appreciation for the sacrifices that military service members make, then yes, it is worth it. In full transparency, there are times where things can be very stressful. Whether it’s not knowing where we are going to live in the next few years or trying to balance the many obligations that come with maintaining a household of six (seven including my mom), I have found that being proactive in my own self-care is essential to my own mental health. Whether it’s my bi-weekly COVID- friendly nail appointments, my love-hate (more love) pre-work early morning gym dates with my husband or scheduling zoom calls with my girls back home in California to catch up and laugh, I feel that I get a healthy dose of balance and personal well-being by engaging in these activities.
No matter the changes and challenges that present themselves, I’ve learned to maintain a positive mental attitude and grow where I’m planted. As challenging as things have been trying to balance my competing interests, I feel a sense of pride, that in order for my service member husband to do his part, I’ll continue to do my part. So please remember to thank a service member for their service this Veterans Day, and when you do, know that you’re also thanking the families and spouses who support them.
Happy Veterans Day!
At Quartet, we know that mental health care isn’t one size fits all.
COVID-19 added a layer of complexity for mental healthcare workers, who may be experiencing their own stressors and anxieties related to the crisis.
For some, following the stay-at-home orders for one pandemic may render them vulnerable to another: domestic violence.