When I got married, I gained an entirely new family – The U.S. Navy.
My husband’s role as an active duty naval officer fills me with pride, but it isn’t always easy with both of us working full-time jobs and raising three boys: Daniel, 11, Elijah, 13, and Josiah, 18. Managing our careers, the house, our children and being involved in our community takes a lot of planning and support, but we have found a few techniques that have helped us make it all work.
Here’s How I Make It All Work as a MilSpouse
Find balance. As a military spouse, the idea of balance can feel like a foreign concept. Often finding balance can mean making trade-offs in your career or in other aspects of your life for the needs of your family. I have been lucky over the last 17 years to have an employer who supports my family’s needs, and even connects us to military family support resources that help our family find and maintain balance.
In my role as an administrative assistant at Bank of America, I support four executives around the world – from Norfolk, Virginia, to the United Kingdom. It’s a demanding job, but I am fortunate to have coworkers and managers who understand my often hectic schedule. I work with each executive every week to design a schedule that works for everyone and keep in regular touch with my teams to keep things running smoothly.
Having this flexibility in my schedule has been a tremendous gift. During the school year, if I need to leave work early to get the kids from school or practice, my team makes it possible for me to do so. The flexibility is even more critical when my husband is deployed and I’m on my own with three active boys. The Bank has also offered us childcare reimbursement, which keeps us from choosing between working or caring for our children.
Plan for transfers, use your network. Military life inevitably comes with a lot of moving. Relocation can feel overwhelming, but using your support network can make it feel a bit less intimidating.
We have moved up, down, and back up the East coast – from Jacksonville to Norfolk. With each move, I was anxious I would need to find a new job and even more anxious a new employer wouldn’t understand the needs of my family on-the-go. Thankfully, Bank of America helped me find a new position with each move, even offering Job Transition Assistance programs designed specifically for military families who need to relocate.
I have also been able to take advantage of the bank’s Military Support and Assistance Group for employees, which has been a great way for my husband and me to meet other military families, veterans and active duty service members. We have made close friends and found mentors who have become an extended part of our family.
Having, and using, this network of support has been invaluable to us. Finding your support network – whether it’s with an employer, community group, or within the military – can make military life feel more manageable.
Keep moving forward. Sometimes balancing work, life and military family can feel overwhelming, but the key is to keep moving forward and know that you can make it all work.
I have been fortunate over the last 17 years to have the support of my family, friends and employer. While there have, of course, been bumps in the road, today I am proud to say that my family is happy and healthy here in Norfolk. I have even been able to complete my bachelor’s degree in occupational and technical studies through Bank of America’s Global Learning organization and am now pursuing a career in human resources to help other military spouses find fulfilling experiences like the ones I have had.
I love being a part of a military family and am so appreciative of the support we have received from friends, employers, neighbors and other military families. While being a military family can be complicated at times, I know there are ways to make it all work.
Dekiema Pogue is an Administrative Assistant at Bank of America, with the responsibility of supporting four senior leaders. She currently lives in the city of Virginia Beach, with her husband an active duty service member stationed out of JEB Little Creek-Fort Story and their three boys. When not working, studying, volunteering or tending to the home, she enjoys a good girls’ day out with her closest friends.