Feature to help keep families balanced
Crystal Lewis Brown is an Army spouse of five years and editor of the Fort Jackson Leader.

FORT JACKSON, SC -- Last Wednesday, on our production day (i.e., the day we send the newspaper to the publisher for printing) I was stressed out. We were running a bit behind and were scrambling to make our mid-afternoon deadline. As stressed as I already was, I doubted it could get any more hectic.

And then I got a phone call from the day care. The baby had a rash and it looked bad, they said. I texted my husband to pick him up but that was a no go - he would not be free until several hours later. And I couldn't reach the friends I thought might be able to babysit for a few hours.

Within a matter of moments, my day had gone from normal-stress (the type of stress in which IAca,!E+normally thrive) to super-stress (the type of stress that makes me wish I'd stayed in bed).

Although everything worked out in the end, I couldn't stop the anxiety I was feeling, even throughout the next day. Could I really do this working mom thing' Did my coworkers think me less professional' If I'd paid more attention, could I have prevented the rash (which turned out to be a bad diaper rash)'

All of us experience stress from time-to-time. As military spouses, I (with much bias) say that I think we may have it worse than some others. In addition to the normal stress that comes from being a mom, working, volunteering and trying to get dinner on the table every night, we also have a few added stressors.

What if my Soldier deploys' Will my drill sergeant/ supply sergeant/company commander husband get home from work in time for the baby's first birthday party' How will I ever be able to find another job if we PCS' We can't sell our house, but BAH will only pay for one dwelling - how will we make ends meet' If IAca,!E+go talk to the chaplain, will it affect my husband's career' What will people think if they find out'

One great thing about the military, however, is that we do not have to go it alone. The Army's not just an institution, we are a family; here on post, we are Team Jackson. And there is someone on post who can answer each and every one of those questions listed.

Perhaps you just want to speak with someone to help you work some things out, or even just to vent. Folks like that are available too, for you and your Soldier, and it's confidential.

On our end, the newspaper will feature an occasional feature, Balancing Act, which addresses some of those things that stress us out (found on the next page). Because my child's health is one of those things that constantly keep me on edge, the first installment will be a feature from the staff of Fort Jackson's Army Public Health Nursing.

But we will also be seeking questions from you, which we will in turn, pass along to the agency that can best answer it. We will then publish those answers in the newspaper. All questions will remain confidential, so don't worry that people will know that you sent something in.

Just remember that if there is something out there causing you anxiety, it is probably bothering someone else, as well.

Page last updated Wed March 24th, 2010 at 16:19