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Military Spouse, You need a Mentor (or Two), Here's Why:

Updated: 6 days ago


Military Spouse You Need a Mentor

Military spouse, you need a mentor or two.

Military life is challenging. You will navigate many things that aren’t typical for a civilian family. To name a few of the challenges - your spouse may be gone on deployment or TDY orders; you will likely move often; you will constantly be trying to find a new job or reimagine your career; and you frequently have to parent alone. You need someone who has walked the road before you and knows some pitfalls to avoid. They have learned to balance all the many things that military life pushes your way. The enemy, Satan, will also try to isolate you and tell you you are the “only one” facing the challenges you face. That is a lie! You need others around you who can help encourage you and pull you out of a pit. God created you for community with Him and other people! In-person mentors are going to be the most beneficial. Mentors have wisdom and are already very connected in the community – they can help you network faster to succeed in any area. They can inspire you and see potential in you that you might be doubting yourself. They can also advise you honestly because they can see things you might not observe yourself. 

See my post later this week for ideas on how to locate mentors.


Types of Mentors a Military Spouse needs

WHAT TYPES OF MENTORS DO YOU NEED?

My Instagram Live Guest this week, Dr. Kennita Williams, shared some great insight. We don’t just need ONE mentor because no one is perfect, nor is they just like you. My friend Dr. Kennita Williams says, “No one but Jesus does it ALL well!” You will also be transferring from one phase to the next. You may need various mentors or different types of mentors in different stages of your life. These are the types of mentors you may need:

•       Parenting Mentor

•       More Senior Military Spouse Mentor (consider someone whose spouse is a few ranks above yours)

•       Financial or Budgeting Mentor

•       Entrepreneurial Mentor

•       Marriage Mentor

•       Spiritual Mentor

Make a list of the things you are looking for in a mentor. Set goals and try to find mentors to help you reach those goals. For tips on where to find these mentors, see my other posts from this week.




How to find a mentor

HOW DO YOU FIND A MENTOR?

If you’ve just shown up at a new duty station or are a new military spouse, you probably wonder how and where to find a mentor. Of course, it depends upon the type of mentor you are looking for. Make a list of some goals, and then pick a few mentors you need to help you in those areas. Pick someone who you see who is producing fruit in that area. For example, if it is someone who is a few years or more beyond you in parenting and you see their kids striving, ask them. Consider joining a Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPs) Group to find other moms. The organization has mentor moms built into the structure. If you are looking for financial help, most installation chapels offer Financial Peace University courses. Most installation chapels also provide women’s (or men’s) Bible studies – this is an excellent place to look for a spiritual mentor. 

When you find someone producing fruit or thriving in an area, ask that person how you can come alongside them and learn from them. People are busy, so you might have to serve alongside them to gain insight into their lives. You can also ask someone to consider meeting with you periodically. 

A mentor will likely not show up at your door and introduce themselves as your new mentor. You are going to have to take the initiative. It will help you get out of the house. Set short-term goals for yourself to work toward finding a mentor. Start by going places where you can find like-minded people. If you are creative and like to pursue artistic endeavors, join a local art class or check out your installation arts and hobby shop. If you like books, check out the activities offered at your installation or town library. If you enjoy hiking, join a local hiking group (google or check out social media in your area). Get to know people, and eventually, you’ll meet someone with skills that are more advanced than yours.

When I was a new mom to two kids under two, I met a woman with five kids and asked her to mentor me. She was busy, so she once invited me to join her for grocery shopping at the installation commissary. Her kids helped entertain my kids while the mom and I shopped and picked groceries. This outing wasn’t our only time together, but it worked for that visit. As a bonus, she taught me valuable bargain shopping and coupon cutting on our trip to the commissary.


Questions to ask a mentor

SOME IDEAS FOR THINGS TO ASK YOUR MENTOR:

Make a list of your goals. When you meet with your mentor, ask them what steps you need to take to reach your goal. If the goal is long-term, break it down into shorter goals.

Other questions to ask your mentor:

1) Do you have any advice on how I can deal with this problem?

2) What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

3) What are you excited about right now?

4) How do you stay motivated with ___?

5) How did you decide to get involved in this field?

6) Do you have any networking advice?

7) What skills do you think would be beneficial for me to gain?

8) Where do you think I can improve?

9) What could I have done differently in that specific situation?

10) Can you suggest any good books that would help me with ___?


Military Spouse Mentoring Resources:

·      Military Spouse Advocacy Network – Mentorship Hub offers 24/7 access to multiple resources for peer-to-peer mentoring.  They have live mentors but also a resource library. You can get access to mentors to help you with: mental  health, careers, financial readiness, and deployment and reintegration.

·      American Corporate Partners (ACP) offers career mentorships to active duty military spouses.

·      Military Spouse Career Mentoring Program with Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO)

·      Military Transition. Org - Helping Military Spouses Understand and Overcome Employment Challenges

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