Army spouses: If you could go back in time and give your newly minted military-spouse self some advice, what would it be?
That was the question posed to a trio of Army leaders’ spouses during a Military Family Forum at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition.
Amy Bushatz, editor of Spousebuzz.com and Military.com’s managing editor of spouse and family content, moderated the panel consisting of Hollyanne Milley, spouse of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley; Holly Dailey, spouse of Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey; and Stacie Pogoncheff, who with her husband, Army Sgt. Blagoy Pogoncheff and children were named AUSA Volunteer Family of the Year.
Here was their advice:
"Don’t let your husband’s job or his rank define who you are," said Pogoncheff, who noted that when her husband first enlisted in the Army, he was a private first class and she was the one with a college education.
Pogoncheff said as her husband rose through the ranks she felt intimidated at first, but has come to realize that one’s rank has nothing to do with his or her job as a partner in a relationship.
"I should be able to shine and show who I am as well as who he is, no matter what his rank is," she said.
"Relationships matter, and people matter," said Milley, adding that healthy relationships make Army couples "strong" and "resilient."
She also emphasized the importance of self-care, compassion for fellow Army families, flexibility, and taking advantage of support resources available for Army spouses.
"Know that you’re not alone," said Dailey, adding that regardless of duty station, partners of Army soldiers are part of a network far bigger than themselves.
"This is your Army family," she said. "We’re all there with you."