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Basic Rules For Balancing Your Military Career And Family Life

You love your job as much as you love your family. But do the two really have to compete for each other? Or is it really possible to achieve work-life balance just like any other working citizen out there?

Military service can put a heavy strain on your family life. Here are five ways to keep the two in check

Know That Your Family Will Only have ONE Spouse Or Parent.

Let’s face reality. No matter how committed you are to your duty in the military, you should never compromise your family as well as the quality of time and affection they ought to have.

“I think it is a natural tendency for leaders to think that the military will fall apart if they leave the service. Obviously, this is not the case. Every position I have served in had a string of leaders come before me and a string of leaders come after me,” said Joe Byerly, an armor officer and executive officer for the 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo. “Once I realized that I made it a point to never sacrifice my family for the sake of getting ahead in my career. Even while commanding two companies, I strived to eat dinner with my family, attend key school functions, and honor family commitments.”

Every Decision For Your Career Should Be A Family Decision.

It might be hard to put your family first at certain times, but you mustn’t lose your focus. Discuss everything with your partner and if possible, involve the kids. Getting their opinion is a good practice and could make them feel valued. More often than not, a career move that does not take into account the entire family will end up causing more harm than good.

Take Care Of Your Health.

When your health suffers, all aspects of your life deteriorate. And since the body and mind are interconnected, you need to be healthy physically as well as emotionally. Make sure you follow a healthy diet plan, work out and sleep well. Make regular health checks and visit your doctor often to catch things before they have a chance to become serious.

You might believe that your busy life doesn’t have the time to spare for sleeping seven hours a day or working out regularly, but you’re wrong. If you’re fit and well-rested, your stress levels will go down, your mind will be clearer, you’ll have more energy to spare, have a stronger immune system and be happier and more productive! Conversely, using drugs, tobacco or alcohol as stress-relievers will only affect your health negatively and the only release you get will be temporary.

Always Find Strategic Ways To Nurture Your Relationships With Friends & Family.

Our relationships with the people we love and care about are a wellspring of inner peace and contentment. Focusing on your career at the expense of your interpersonal relationships will ensure the failure of both career and family life. It is normal to work overtime once in a while. But if you find this becoming the norm, maybe it is time to re-evaluate the situation and perhaps take a step back. Besides, you will be more productive in your job if your relationships take center stage in your life, as happy employees are productive employees.

Be As Intentional At Home As You Are At Work.

As one would expect from members of the armed forces, many of them tend to be highly organized and apply a high degree of planning when it comes to their job. For some strange reason, though, this degree of planning disappears when it comes to home life and chaos is allowed to run free. Don’t do that. Plan ahead, organize special date nights, go on day trips with your family, go on vacation, be organized (though not inflexible).

Recognize When It’s Time To Call For Help.

If the weight of your duties and responsibilities is bringing you down, don’t keep everything inside. You are not a superhero and nobody will blame you for speaking up. Talk to your boss. Most of the times, you’ll see that they are willing to help solve whatever issue is affecting you. You shouldn’t be aggressive, but do be assertive. If things keep going south and you feel overwhelmed, talk to someone who the training to help you – a mental health practitioner, a counselor, or even someone from the clergy, if you’d prefer that. Make use of whatever services your employee assistance program offers to you.


To have the best results, you need to tackle these issues early on. Sit down with your spouse and discuss the things that create tension between you, and work on finding solutions and setting up guidelines. The special demands of a military career will make it harder, but you must remember that you swore to give your life for your country, not your career. Your family is the most important thing you have and you should never forget that.

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