Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Today I am No Longer A Navy Wife but You Still Are and I Need Your Help

I have a very difficult announcement to make today, and I am really not sure what it means for this blog or for you as my readers. Today July 31, 2013 is the last day of my husband’s service in the United States Navy. After nearly 11 years of service, many hours working overtime to make Chief, and many years planning on going career and becoming an officer, today my husband became a private citizen. It’s been a hard day.

Six months ago my husband came to an impasse. It began with certain changes happening in the military regarding funding, Chief initiations, and a remodeling based on private business models. These changes did not suit his ideals of what it means to be in the Navy. What was more apparent to me, every day he came home and told me he had a bad day. When it came time to prepare to re-enlist, he felt conflicted about doing so for the first time in his military career.

I asked him, “If you were retired and could do anything, what would you do?” He told me his long-time retirement plan to open a vineyard and make wine. My response was, “Why do you have to wait until you retire? Why can’t you do that now?”
photo credit: familymwr via photopin cc

In the past, he would have said that he enjoyed what he did, that he loved being a pirate sailor and that he helped the younger sailors make good choices and further their careers. But he couldn’t say those things anymore, and the only thing keeping him in the Navy was an original plan that was based on enjoyment that had long since faded away.

So for the last six months, we have slowly been moving toward this day. I haven’t mentioned it on this blog because, as we all know, in the Navy nothing is official until it happens. Further, I myself felt conflicted. The idea of him never having to leave me for a deployment sounds like a fairy tale, but at the same time, I’m wracked with fears of this change affecting our marriage. My husband has been in the military about 11 years. We have been married for nine years. Our entire marriage has taken place within the constructs of the military. It’s a part of us, a part our marriage, and a part of our identities.

photo credit: Mike Licht, via photopin cc
Further, my experiences as a military wife are what led to my creating this blog. The purpose of this blog is to embrace and overcome those little moments that make Navy Wives feel crazy, but the inspiration for creating it is a little more personal. When I first married into the military, I was lost and alone. I was ignorant of all the support programs available to me due to social anxieties, fear of other military wives and feeling overwhelmed by the massive stack of official information I received from the Navy. At that time the internet wasn’t anything like what it is today, and there were no resources available that I was aware of. So once I had the knowledge and experience, I wanted to provide a place where Navy Wives could go for emotional help, support, and resources and a place where other military wives could share their advice and knowledge.

It’s not just about me writing for you. I want you the readers to get involved in this process – you are the military wives and girlfriends I want to unite together in support, encouragement, and understanding. For that reason, I am going to continue this blog for now but I need your help to keep it alive. Hopefully, my readers can still benefit from my near-decade of experience, but I intend to start bringing on current military wives to write regular segments. At some point this may not even be a blog where I write at all, but a collection of other military wives uniting together on a platform I created. If you are a military wife and are interested in writing – please contact me about guest posting.

photo credit: Patrick Haney via photopin cc
Having other military wives unite together was something I had always hoped could be done on this blog via the comments feature, but I don’t think people really like that, so I’d like to announce my new Facebook Group: Unhinged Navy Wives & Girlfriends specifically created for this purpose. I know there are tons of Navy Wives groups out there but many involve wives asking for help regarding official base resources or policies or they involve gossip and caddiness which sadly is something Navy Wives have become known for among themselves but that's not who Navy Wives are. This group will be a place for Navy Wives to unite in support of one another – for military wives to help provide answers and support for other Navy Wives and Navy Girlfriends. 

I may no longer technically be a Navy Wife, but I still feel like I can help other Navy Wives even if that is only by providing the platform for others to help one another. Today my husband is no longer a Sailor, and I am no longer a Navy Wife. Today has been a hard day, but tomorrow will be the first day of a new chapter in our lives and a new chapter for this blog. I hope you will stick around to become a part of it.

If you have thoughts on this – comment away.

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About Stephanie Carroll
U&E Founder & Author
Buy Her Book A White Room!
Photo by Randy Enriquez
I dated and married my husband in 2004 when I was 19. I felt like an outsider for the first half of our marriage. He didn't understand what I needed to know about the Navy, and I didn't know what to ask.

After ten years of learning in the Navy, I founded Unhinged & Empowered. I wanted to spread the knowledge that I needed when I was new, to reveal what took years for me to learn.   
Cover Design by Jenny Q
In addition to being a Navy Wife, I am also a novelist. I write historical women's fiction.

My first novel A White Room debuted in 2013 and is about a woman forced to sacrifice her own ambitions of becoming a nurse to marry a man who can save her destitute family. He moves her to a strange, small town where she slowly succumbs to madness until she stumbles on an opportunity to nurse to the poor despite the fact that her husband prosecutes unlicensed practitioners.

Learn more at and connect with me @CarrollBooks on Twitter, Facebook, or on Pinterest!

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1 comment:

  1. I completely relate to how you’re feeling. When my husband was discharged, I felt like a piece of my heart was ripped out. I had “grown up” in the Navy – or at least that’s how I felt. I felt like I had nothing to be proud of anymore either because my role as a sacrificing wife and mother no longer served a greater good.

    Slowly as years progressed, and more stuff has been experienced, I have learned that no more Navy is the best thing ever. No more dealing with bureaucratic bull, no more dealing with making sure his uniforms were squared away, no more mustering, and he had no more excuses to not spend time with (our children).

    The person I am today is because of the Navy. My experiences – good and bad – have greatly shaped my attitude. For these reasons, I still consider myself a “Navy Wife.” I still have pride but not for what I do, but for what I have already done. Without it, I wouldn’t be where and who I am today. My overall point is, you may not feel it now or in 3 or 5 or 7 years, but I hope that one day you will also feel the way I do about the Navy Wife status. =)


I love, love your comments and questions! Just remember to not mention any security info about your Sailor! Thank you!

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