Candace McGuire, Sabrina Hernandez, Chandra Lewis, Allyson Pierce and Christy Santos may just look like your typical group of good girlfriends, but what ties them together is something that truly empowers us. They are each wives of brave members of the U.S. military. We brought these inspiring ladies together to share their stories of empowerment and to shed light on what the life a military spouse is truly like - including the hard times, the good times, and everything in between.
Tell us a little about your day-to-day lifestyle.
Candace: I am a Beachbody coach, so everyday I am working on bettering myself and virtually supporting other ladies as they work to become healthier and fitter. Additionally, I am a middle school math teacher. I am married to a Navy man and we have two children. That means my day is nonstop from the moment I open my eyes in the morning to the moment I close them at night. With my husband being deployed currently, that makes my life that much crazier as I attempt to fulfill all my roles plus the roles my husband normally has.
Allyson: I am a prenatal and pediatric chiropractor - I have always been super passionate on all things natural living and childbirth. In my practice, I focus on providing affordable care to families who serve because I understand how difficult it can be for military mommas out there - they truly deserve it. Currently, I am pregnant with my first little one - we are so excited! Very soon, I’ll be launching a blog with a friend (another mil spouse/chiropractor!) to empower and educate military spouses on living a natural, healthy lifestyle.
Christy: In one word - BUSY. 100% of responsibilities relating to the house and kids fall on me. We recently chose to homeschool one of our kids so that has added a lot to my daily responsibilities. My husband is not home very often, so when he is home I try not to put too many household duties on him. I would rather him have more time to spend with the kids.
What inspires you on a daily basis?
Candace: My children inspire me on a daily basis. They were born into the military lifestyle of deployments, moves, and separation from family. Every day they wake up with smiles on their faces and happy when they have every reason not to. My husband also inspires me. This man gives everything for his family. He has had to sacrifice so much to provide our family with the amazing life we get to live.
Christy: Gold Star Military Spouses. (Women whose husbands died while serving our country) Their spouses aren’t coming home. Knowing that my husband will eventually come home really puts things into perspective.
Sabrina: I'm inspired daily to be better and do better because I know that God created me for a purpose. Sometimes I'm not 100% sure of that purpose and sometimes it seems to get lost but I know I am here on Earth for a reason. I have gone through A LOT in my life and I just learn from experiences that I have gone through and try not to make the same mistakes I have seen others make. I want to be a good role model for my son and for others who see what I'm doing.
What specific qualities do you think today’s empowered woman embodies?
Allyson: Today’s empowered woman is uplifting to those around her. She is passionate and strong in her convictions. She takes care of those who need her help, but also focuses on taking care of herself - because she knows that she is worth it.
Christy: Strong, confident, know when to ask for help and able to set aside traditional gender roles when needed. When the lawn needs to be mowed, toilet plunged you just have to get it done.
Candace: Today's empowered woman is independent, strong-minded, resilient, and courageous. The empowered woman is strong enough to take care of and protect herself and her family, yet gentle enough to comfort friends and family in need.
Who are some people who inspire you in your everyday life?
Sabrina: My mother inspires me because she just never stops. She is a very strong woman. My sister inspires me very much. She has persevered through a lot of obstacles and she has a heart of gold. She always wants to help others and is incredibly selfless.
Chandra: My husband and all the sacrifices he makes for his family. Also my parents for always being there for us during hard times.
Explain the challenges of being the backbone of a military household.
Candace: Being a military wife can have many challenges, especially when I am a full time professional myself. While it is exciting to move every few years to a new location, it is also very stressful. Each time we move, I have to go through the credentialing process to be eligible to teach in a new state. Additionally, we have never lived near any family. That means with each move I start all over with meeting new people and building a circle of support. Being able to support my husband and kids in this lifestyle is challenging yet very rewarding. I have to be a constant source of strength, comfort, and support for my family.
Allyson: I think many people don’t realize the sacrifices you have to make as a military spouse. It can be very difficult living so far away from loved ones and sometimes it’s next to impossible to have the career of your dreams. The sacrifices you make can be challenging to accept at first, but there are also perks to the military lifestyle. It provides an opportunity to experience new places and meet amazing people along the way.
Sabrina: There are a lot of challenges when it comes to being the backbone of a military household but I think the hardest is the constant routine shifts and the loneliness. When you get married, two are supposed to become one but that doesn't really happen in military life. The military doesn't really acknowledge the spouse much. Husbands must report for duty no matter what is going on at home. We move away from our families. We have to make decisions on our own, sometimes really big decisions. We get lonely and go without our spouses for long periods of time. Our careers normally take a backseat because it's hard to travel and take your job with you to a new duty station. And the routine. One week your husband is home and the next he's not. You have to be able to adapt and it's hard because when you finally get a routine going, it has to change. You must be VERY flexible to be a military spouse.
How important is health and fitness to your family?
Chandra: Health and fitness is everything to myself and my family. Living a clean and healthy lifestyle is so important to teach our children.
Christy: You need to get out of the house. Many days are long while your spouse is gone. It’s easy to isolate yourself but getting outside and doing something active with the kids helps a lot. The local YMCA is also a huge resource. My kids can go to child watch while I work out, it’s a great break. Then after I’m done I usually take them for a swim in the YMCA pool and we all leave happy!
Candace: Health and fitness is extremely important in my family. Every single day my husband and I workout, when he is home we do it together. It is important for us to lead by example. We want our children to know that the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. We plan to be around for our children, and their children one day, so having strong, fit bodies to carry us into the future is our focus.
Who do you rely on when you're feeling down or miss your husband?
Sabrina: I rely mostly on my son for company and my sister for conversation when I'm feeling down or lonely. Luckily I have made some friends since we moved here but you always feel like you're burdening others with your feelings. But if they are other military spouses then they usually understand and it's good to know that you're not alone. Normally what you're feeling, someone else feels or has felt.
Chandra: My best friend and Military sister, Mandi Winburn. Also neighbors who have have become like family.
Allyson: While I haven’t experienced deployment yet, I’ve found that it’s nice to talk to other military spouses. They are the only people on the planet that can understand what you are going through and they are always willing to lend an ear and answer any questions you may have. There are a lot of strong women you meet in the military realm - I think you have to be in order to be a mil spouse. :)
Any goals for the upcoming year?
Chandra: My goal for this year is to grow with a business I love. Also to build a strong support system for myself and others who are approaching upcoming deployments.
Allyson: To give birth to a healthy baby boy, maintain a happy, healthy household & continue to inspire others to pursue their own happy, healthy life. :)
Sabrina: My goals for the upcoming year are to be the best mom and wife I can be! I would love to help more people change their lives around and move towards better health and fitness!