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April 24, 2023

Military kids all grown up. How military life led to separation anxiety in adulthood and tips on how we can help our kiddos thrive in military life and beyond

Military kids all grown up. How military life led to separation anxiety in adulthood and tips on how we can help our kiddos thrive in military life and beyond
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Today we are talking to all grown up military kid Chelsea. Chelsea grew up with both her mom and dad being active duty Army. Her mom transitioned out a few years after she was born, but her dad finished out a 20 year career.

Chelsea shares that she absolutely loved being a military kid and it truly helped form her into the successful adult she is today. She does share some of the challenges she had as a military kid and how they creeped over into her adult life.

Challenges with separation anxiety, OCD tendencies, compulsive need to be on time or early everywhere and how some of those have bled over into raising her own 4 daughters. 

Some of the things that Chelsea had through her military life that have helped in her adult life are acts of service. Volunteering with veteran or military groups helps to keep you grounded to the mission and her mom always told her when you give, you get back so much more. 

Letting our military kids know that we move a lot because of our lifestyle, but one day they will get to choose. And they can choose to stay in one spot for the rest of their life if they want, our lifestyle right now is temporary.

Military kids don’t get to choose their military lives, they are born into them. Giving them tools to help them cope and truly thrive as adults is what its all about!

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[00:00:00] Alison: this is gonna wrap up the month of the military child episodes, and , today we're talking to Chelsea. And Chelsea. This is, so, this is really cool. So, , Chelsea is a former military. And, , we connected on Instagram because she sent me the most beautiful message about, , enjoying the show and appreciating the show.

[00:00:24] Alison: And it was, it was so beautifully received. I, I really did appreciate it so much. And we just kind of got to talking and we're very similar. So. Strap in. Cause 

[00:00:36] Chelsea: this is, it's gonna be fun. , 

[00:00:38] Alison: but we, we, and again, this is what happens every time we've been talking for 30 minutes before we ever hit record, , just enjoying conversation.

[00:00:46] Alison: So this show doesn't end up being two hours long of random tangents, which can happen. , , what we're talking about today is , so Chelsea was a military kid.

[00:00:54] Alison: And your parents were dual military for a while there, which is like, that's like a whole beast in, in and of itself. Yes. We'll, we'll, yeah. We'll get into that. , but we're gonna look at this as, you know, because, and, and I did an episode last April, , talking to a military kid.

[00:01:09] Alison: Military kid, all grown up, right? And so Megan, very beautifully shared her experience as a military kid with her dad being a helicopter 

[00:01:16] Chelsea: pilot 

[00:01:17] Alison: and really positive. , experience looking back, like I, everything, you know, it was, I remember these and there were probably some things, but I just don't remember it.

[00:01:26] Alison: And I thought that that was just, I, I thought it was a really interesting look back. Right. But then I also feel like there's probably some military kids who have not necessarily like a, a bad, cuz you had a great childhood and looking back on it, like all, everything is very positive. But yes, there's little things that have carried over into your adult life.

[00:01:46] Alison: From being a military kid. So that's kind of the lens that we're gonna use as 

[00:01:51] Chelsea: we move forward. Chatting is, 

[00:01:54] Alison: , what have you seen manifest itself later? Because, so looking at this as the lens of a military parent with small kids, although there are 10 and 11 now, when do I stop saying they're small kids?

[00:02:06] Alison: I don't know. I'm not there yet. They're small. Right. , is that I worry about what our lifestyle is doing to them emotionally and mentally because I've shared multiple times my oldest daughter, Slip and disaster. Michael's T D Y all the time, and it's really, really, really challenging and I worry about the long-term effects of that.

[00:02:28] Alison: So I think that you can provide some insight as to. You know, from an adult, looking back at those years, what are some things that, and, and you have already shared, you know, before we started recording some things that, if, if, if I would've heard this or if this would've been shared, it might've just changed how I perceived things.

[00:02:47] Alison: And so now, As it's carried through into my adult life. So, okay. So Chelsea, welcome. I'm really happy that 

[00:02:54] Chelsea: you're here. Thank you. Thank you. And, 

[00:02:56] Alison: , let's just start off with like, okay, so you're, you were a military kid. You were a military kid your whole life. Like, tell us about Yes. Your parents and what that was like, what you remember of your military life.

[00:03:07] Chelsea: Yes. So I was, , military army brat. Both my parents were, , enlisted army and active duty. And, , my mom, shortly after I was born, she, she didn't re-up. Mm-hmm. Once she was done, she was done. , it, it was too difficult I think having, yeah. Too active duty, , with a child. So, , but my dad retired Army National.

[00:03:32] Chelsea: Well Army and then he switched about halfway through his career, he switched over the National Guard route and, and retired out National Guard. Okay. , so the first half of my life was very eventful with lots of moving and, , we lived in Washington at Joint Base Lewis McCord, and then we went to Germany and, , then I think I was there until I was like three years old, and then we moved back to Washington for a year or so, and then we moved to Fort Campbell.

[00:03:59] Chelsea: Mm-hmm. And we were in Kentucky and then we moved over to Tennessee and then that's when my dad switched National Guard. Mm-hmm. , and so, , I had a fair amount of, of activity and moving on on the front end. , but on the tail end, , as we were saying earlier, you know, I think some people. Maybe.

[00:04:17] Chelsea: Might feel like National guards a little bit less eventful compared to active duty. Sure. But that was during nine 11. Mm-hmm. So it was, we had, , a lot of uncertainty during a period of time there, mm-hmm. Towards the end, closer to his retirement. Mm-hmm. So, , yes. That's, that's basically my background.

[00:04:33] Chelsea: And, , I wanted to preface our conversation cuz , I am able to give you some flip side of the parenting advice like we talked about. I think that's something that's in common with all parents, whether they're military or not. Mm-hmm. , worrying that they're messing up their kid, you know? Yeah. Or that's true.

[00:04:48] Chelsea: How this gonna affect my kid? Like, yeah. I wanted to preface that my upbringing, I have the most amazing parents and they did an amazing job raising me and I would not trade my military kid experience for the world because I feel like it gave me a competitive advantage over my peers in school at every level, even in college.

[00:05:08] Chelsea: Mm-hmm. , that old army term embrace, embrace the suck. Yeah. , it's ingrained in me. Yeah. And so I don't ever quit. I don't ever give up. I keep going, you know, , sometimes there's some things as an adult that, that have made that a hindrance. I'll give you an example. , I have four daughters and, , when I'm ready to go, We need to be early, everywhere we're going.

[00:05:32] Chelsea: And when I'm ready to go, I'm ready to go. And we were getting ready to walk out the door for church the other day and we're all sitting in the car waiting on one daughter. And I walk inside like, what's the deal? We need to go. And she's like, oh, I'm coming. I just need to get my breakfast and my drink.

[00:05:47] Chelsea: And I'm looking at her like she has three heads. I'm like, who cares if you're hungry, it's time to go. You know? And I feel like that's something that I have to constantly check at the door. Uh, I have an expectation. Mm-hmm. Like my dis mm-hmm. My personal discomfort gets put to the side when there is a mission.

[00:06:07] Chelsea: Even if the mission is just getting to church five minutes early, you know? , and I have a higher expectation I think sometimes, but, you know, it's a good thing though because it teaches your kids to be responsible and conscientious of other people's timelines. But maybe sometimes I might take it a little too far.

[00:06:24] Chelsea: Yeah. 

[00:06:26] Alison: Yeah, , I can understand that. So you grew up with your, so your mom was, was in for just the first part of like when you were a baby and then she got out? Yes. Understandably. Cuz we were talking about that and I was telling you Yeah. That, um, I, you meet very few dual active duty.

[00:06:46] Alison: Couples. Yes, because like, I, I, and I, honestly, every time I'm like, how in the world? Because it's like, it's hard enough with one all over the place and this career pipeline and going here and da da da, and how do you do that with two, like, I'm just like, just blows my mind. And I've watched it and it's, and I've watched some brutal experiences and I'm just like, I, that's why people don't do it because.

[00:07:13] Alison: That's right there. That's like, I mean, like years apart. Yeah, because this deployment schedule and then you come home and then they go and then they, and it's just, it's a hot mess. Okay. As you were growing up, did you live on base most of the time for your career or?

[00:07:27] Alison: Sure. 

[00:07:28] Chelsea: We did in, in a couple areas. We did. The one that I remember the most is when we were at Fort Campbell. Okay. And we lived o just off post. Okay. We, but very close. And, and of course as we were talking about before, you know, even if you live off post when you're close to a post, , I. Every, they're your community.

[00:07:47] Chelsea: Most of your people you go to school with, they're all in the same boat as you, you know? Yeah. One parent's home right now, one's not, one's about to be leaving, one's coming home. . And so it's still, it's still pretty, , similar, I would say, , when you live really clo really close to post. Okay. , one thing I'll say.

[00:08:05] Chelsea: That we were talking about and that I've resonated with another guest on your show that when you grow up military, if you don't continue on the military path, which I always wished I had, but I had children and I was very young and so I was not able to. Yeah, yeah. , but. , you get the boot at 23, you know, you lose your dependent card or you can't go on base anymore or at somewhere around 23 years old, I think is the, is the magic number.

[00:08:30] Chelsea: Yeah. And so, , I miss it so much and anytime my brothers, cuz my brothers are, I have one national guard, one active duty. Anytime my brothers or either one of my parents are going, For any reason, , on or close to post. I'm like, take me with you. Take me with you, because I just miss it. You know? You're homesick for a place, you kind of get kicked outta your house, so to speak.

[00:08:51] Chelsea: Yeah. And, uh, you can't go back there. So, um, one thing that I will say, and I'm, you know, might circle back around to this, but one thing that's really important, I think when you have kids, military kids at home when they're young, is getting them. Linked in with service to others, and I think because we all live like a service lifestyle Yeah.

[00:09:12] Chelsea: That it just becomes day to day, but really making sure that they know how to plug in. Mm-hmm. Because we've all learned it from moving from place to place. We know immediately find your doctors, find your Yeah. You know, uh, utility companies and get, learn your way around. That's my favorite part of, of moving.

[00:09:31] Chelsea: I love to get my bearings, you know? Yeah. Yeah. But I think. That the service piece of it is something my mom always said. When you give, you get back so much more. Mm-hmm. And that has something that has anchored me as an adult feeling lost and homesick because I can't go on post anymore freely as a civilian.

[00:09:51] Chelsea: And also, it's not like I can go home to a house that my, I know friends who've had parents that live in the same house since they were born. Yeah. And I'll never get to go home. You know what I mean? Right. And that's something. Could be a measure of discomfort, but when I was about eight years old, the Marines used to do this program.

[00:10:11] Chelsea: I can't remember what it was called, but it was something where you like, go wrap a bunch of presents. People donate a bunch of toys and you go like the Toys for Tots thing. Similar, something like that. Yeah. Okay. It, something like that. Okay. It, it may have been that, I don't remember. I was probably seven or eight years old when my mom took me for the first time.

[00:10:27] Chelsea: Okay. We wrapped presents all weekend. Yeah. All weekend along. And I remember feeling so good to be able to help my community and things like that. And it, and it brought stress relief and anxiety relief, just knowing that like I was helping and there was a volunteer opportunity and that's something that stayed with me my whole life.

[00:10:45] Chelsea: So now as an adult, I volunteer for U S O. Yeah. And I go, I'm a, I can go back on post now because I'm a volunteer, you know, and so it, it brings me comfort because I get to go home. Okay. You know, to Fort Campbell or wherever, the airport or whatever, and I get to help. Other people, and especially people that wear the uniform.

[00:11:08] Chelsea: It's like every person I'm helping is like one of my parents or one of my brothers, you know? Mm. And that brings a measure of fulfillment to me that I would, I would severely be lacking without. So I think for, yeah, for military parents, with military kids, getting them linked in to helping others, especially in the military community, is a way that when they become adults, they'll be able to reach back and like, , be able to like plug back in, you know what I mean?

[00:11:35] Chelsea: Okay. To a community that they're, that they may not be a part of anymore if they didn't sign up to serve. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:11:41] Alison: Interesting. Okay. Yeah, I like that. When we initially, started talking to each other, you had told me that your husband had to go away for a year to work on Yes. A work project and Yes.

[00:11:53] Alison: , and you were left by yourself and that's when you found the podcast because it, you were going through some separation anxiety and Oh, yes. And so him going away for that year really brought up a lot of your. Brought up a lot of issues that stemmed from your life as a military kid. Yeah. So can you, we talk about that just a little bit, the separation anxiety and, , you said it, so that's why I wish we would've hit record.

[00:12:20] Alison: Well, we were talk and you said it so beautifully and so eloquently, , that, if you would've been told if this, or if you would've been let in just a little bit more on this aspect of it, yes. It could have changed the mental. Lens that you were looking at your situation in. So can you just , walk us through that just a little bit?

[00:12:37] Alison: Like how, how are you feeling? And then, and then again, full transparency went to some counseling. There's nothing wrong with that. Yeah, right. Like you're hurting. Yeah. And something is like, you need that outside perspective. There is like, I highly recommend that everybody go talk to somebody because you can get a lot of insight that you might not have yourself and just make sense of some things.

[00:12:59] Alison: So, so kind of lead us through that a little bit, what that looked like for you when your husband went away, and kind of the feelings 

[00:13:04] Chelsea: that that brought up. Right. Okay, sure. Yeah. So, so my husband had to go do a federal, it was a civilian contract for a federal contractor. Yeah. And he had to leave the state for a, a little over a year.

[00:13:17] Chelsea: And up until that point, he had traveled a little bit for work here and there. And when he would, oh, I'd get anxious. My stomach's in knots. I, I'm physically ill, I dread it up until the day he leaves. And I never gave much thought to why I was like that. I just thought I have separation anxiety. A weird adult.

[00:13:35] Chelsea: As an adult, I'm just weird. I have separation anxiety. Um, I would be sick to my stomach. I'd be miserable the whole time. He's gone and he'd be gone for a week, you know? Yeah. And then he'd get home a week later and I'm like, relief, you know? Yeah. It wasn't until he had this. Year long project coming up that I really started to fray all the ends and have a nuclear meltdown.

[00:13:56] Chelsea: I was like, I can't do this. And so I actually, that's where I I dug into it's time to figure out what is. What is behind this? What's the problem? Mm-hmm. And, and as it turns out, it was that measure of separation anxiety and linked two. And it made total sense after I heard someone else say it.

[00:14:16] Chelsea: Yeah. Growing up with two military parents, and I really say really just one because my mom did get out when I was very young, but, but growing up, you know how it is. You have to be the provider. You're the. You're the constant. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. You know? Mm-hmm. When you've got one that's always gone, you've got one that's a constant.

[00:14:33] Chelsea: Mm-hmm. Well, my mom and I, again, I have wonderful parents, they're great. But my mom was in college full-time and working. Mm-hmm. So I didn't have her home all the time with me. Mm-hmm. And, , and I was an only child for many years. And so having. Usually your firstborns are the most independent.

[00:14:52] Chelsea: Mm-hmm. They're the mm-hmm. They're the little helpers. They're the little adults. Mm-hmm. And so I had a great deal of independence when I was young, and then as when I got to be an adult, I think that just shifted to codependency because mm-hmm. I was like, I'm, I'm just expected as a child to be so independent and now I have my person and don't leave me.

[00:15:12] Chelsea: Okay. It doesn't, it's not nice to be left. I've been left a lot, you know, growing up as a kid. Right. And so, , anyways, yes, I, I was really having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that he was going to be gone for a whole entire year. And that's when a lot of that came back to the forefront of, oh man, I've got, I gotta figure out some coping mechanisms to deal with this because, uh, I obviously have some unresolved stuff from when I was a kid.

[00:15:40] Chelsea: And I always had to, you know, be without a, a parent or something. So, , sorry, that's a long way to go around. , and get back to your original question. Yes. , he had to leave for some time and, and I think the thing about separation anxiety that I learned through therapy, It's, , the, the clinical term or definition of, and I'm not a therapist, I'm an accountant, but the clinical, , definition for separation anxiety is an unfounded fear mm-hmm.

[00:16:11] Chelsea: Of losing. Someone important to you, but I feel like for military kids, it's not really an unfounded fear because mm-hmm. Even if you don't have someone that's, you know, in, in the line of fire or like, you know it, even if they're just going for, as you said, for training or something. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. You have a fear because you don't know.

[00:16:34] Chelsea: Mm-hmm. It's the fear of the unknown. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And so one of the things I wish looking back that, uh, and this is something I've told myself as an adult, when my husband left, he's fine. He's well trained, all that, you know, but if my parents had said that when I was younger and they didn't know, you know, nobody knows that things develop into something like that.

[00:16:52] Chelsea: Yeah. But. I feel like it, it would've been really, really great if my parents had taken the time to, to reiterate to me, not just, okay, dad's leaving in a week, and he'll be back in three weeks. You know? Uh, if it was more of where is he going? What's he going to be doing there? And you know, he's coming back, but you don't have to worry because your dad is so well trained, you know?

[00:17:20] Chelsea: Yeah. And I think one, one of the things we had discussed was, you know, when you're not living on post, You have, like your school celebrates Veterans Day, you know, and for Veterans Day they say, well, we wanna honor the heroes. If you, if we have any students that have parents or grandparents who are military or veterans or whatever, bring them and we'll do a little show.

[00:17:40] Chelsea: We'll honor them for a day. But when you live it day-to-day, it kind of just becomes day-to-day life. So you hear people on the outside go like, oh, your parents' a hero, ? , but at home they're just your mom or your. And I think that it, it's just, um, because it's such a normal, everyday part of life for you, it might, it might just be nice for a parent to tell their kid like, Hey, , even though your parents serves our country and they provide, , this, this great service for our neighbors and, and everyone looks at them as a hero, like they are very, very well trained and you're actually very lucky to have a parent.

[00:18:20] Chelsea: In the military because they are the best trained people in the entire world, you know? Mm-hmm. And, and I think just hearing that, just knowing like, oh man, not only is my dad really important, cuz he's a hero, you know? Mm-hmm. But like, he's very, very well trained. Mm-hmm. Like you couldn't. Get this kind of training in the civilian world, you know?

[00:18:41] Chelsea: Yeah. And And if I knew that, if I knew that he was well, well-trained and you have nothing to worry about because he's the best of the best, then that, I think that would've brought a measure of comfort to me, you know? Okay. When he had to leave. 

[00:18:56] Alison: Yeah, cuz I, you know, and, and just personally, I sev that's what Savannah see. It seems like she's got separation anxiety. When Michael has to leave, she's a wreck. And, and then what's so interesting to me is that when he's 

[00:19:12] Chelsea: home, 

[00:19:13] Alison: She's not all over him and like Yeah, wants to just be with him all the time.

[00:19:18] Alison: She's, she just wants to know he is here. Just as long as he's physically in the house, that's great. She's all set and it's just, yeah. And it's so interesting to me. And then the other part too is, you know, again, looking from the parents' perspective. Is he's al knock on wood, he always comes home like he's, yeah, there's never been a, he's never not come home.

[00:19:38] Alison: So I like from the, from the parent side, I'm like, where is this coming from? You know, , yeah. I think that that the perspective of, , you just never know. When. Yeah. And then I think, , and then you, you mentioned this previously, I think it was before we hit record, but you were talking about September 11th and that your dad was reserves at that time and it was very, very, very uncertain.

[00:20:02] Alison: And there were, , there were troops being called up left and right at the drop of a hat and that you Yes. I mean, your, your, your friends are like, oh my gosh. You experience it in the way that they experienced it. But for you as a military, You're like, is, is my dad gonna be home when I get off the bus?

[00:20:19] Alison: Because there's a chance Yes. That, that he got called up and he's already gone. Like that's, yeah. That's a fear that I don't think. Other people experience, you know? Yeah. 

[00:20:31] Chelsea: Uh, I, I, I do vividly remember that I was sitting, everybody knows where they were when, nine 11. Mm-hmm. When they found out, you know?

[00:20:38] Chelsea: Mm-hmm. But I was in eighth grade English class and I was white knuckling my desk because no kids in my classroom had military parents, none of them. We were far, far removed from post he was reserved. Mm-hmm. So he just would go. His little drive and do his one weekend a month. Mm-hmm. And mm-hmm. Two weeks every summer.

[00:20:58] Chelsea: Mm-hmm. And, , but because I had spent the first half of my life with an active duty parent, , When, when I realized what was happening. Mm-hmm. All the kids in my class, you know, they were having their different reactions. Some were crying, some were shocked, some didn't understand. Mm-hmm. But they were all sad for the families of New York, you know?

[00:21:17] Chelsea: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Having a military parent, I feel like there's an extra measure of awareness as a kid that you have. Mm-hmm. And so, like I said, I just remember white-knuckling my desk and just staring, and I just had tears rolling down my face and my teacher said, are, are you okay? And I said, I, I, I need to call my mom.

[00:21:36] Chelsea: Mm-hmm. Because I'm afraid my dad's not here. Yeah. And they thought that he was in New York. And I'm like, no, no. He's military, he could be gone by the time I get home, you know? Yeah. Like, I need to go home right now. Like I need to be home. Yeah. Yeah. And so, , that was very scary, just not knowing mm-hmm.

[00:21:54] Chelsea: When a call was going to come. If a call was going to come and, That lives in you constantly, but it's a hyperawareness at sometimes more than others. Mm-hmm. , yeah, that was very, that was very difficult and I think that that's what contributed, honestly, like I said, I wanted to preface before the interview, I wouldn't change it for the world.

[00:22:17] Chelsea: Yeah. It's been the best experience of my life and I definitely. Am so grateful for it, but there, there's just this one little thing mm-hmm. That stuck with me on the tail end. And so if you, if you have a child that's experiencing that, that separation anxiety already mm-hmm. I think it's really important to try to address it as much as you can in their youth so that it doesn't carry over.

[00:22:42] Chelsea: Into something that affects them in their adulthood. Mm-hmm. I think that the, getting the volunteer opportunities, , that's huge because you're filling them up with mm-hmm. With goodness and mm-hmm. , I think also, , while counseling and, and like I said, with, with separation anxiety, you really just have two options according to the doctors.

[00:23:00] Chelsea: You've got like medication or cognitive behavioral therapy. Mm-hmm. But I think when it comes to military kids, it's not really. It's not the same thing. Mm-hmm. Because you do have a found, it's not an unfounded fear. Yeah. You have a real life. This is our life. This is how we live. Mm-hmm. And so one of the other things that I wished that, that my parents had told me when I was growing up was just taking the time to identify the obvious and, and walk me through it, you know?

[00:23:28] Chelsea: Okay. It's the fear of the unknown. That's difficult. Okay. So the more, the more prepared you feel, at least that's how it works for. , and so one of the things that I, that I wish that my mom had taken or my dad had taken the time to say, was just acknowledging our lifestyles different. You know, we live this lifestyle because we care about our country and our neighbors, and because we live this lifestyle, We have some really great things that are, that we can experience that other people can't.

[00:24:00] Chelsea: Mm-hmm. The flip side is we gotta move a lot, you know? 

[00:24:04] Chelsea: Letting them know like, we, we have to move. That's just part of our lifestyle, right? Your mommy, your daddy, they have to leave sometimes to take care of our. That's just part of our lifestyle. But the great news is when you become an adult, you get to decide if you wanna move a lot or if you wanna sit still.

[00:24:22] Chelsea: Yeah. You can move into a place and never move again if you don't want to. , just knowing as a kid, having that put into terms, you can recognize my whole life isn't out of control all the time. It's controlled chaos right now. Yeah. And I get to pick one day. I'm gonna get to pick if I wanna stay or if I want to go, but right now, We do have to go.

[00:24:42] Chelsea: So let's try to find the silver lining because this is a, this is something that will serve you in the long run in your entire life. Being able to find the silver lining, you know, wherever you're at in any situation is gonna be, it's such a great skill to learn when you're young. Mm-hmm. So you are so lucky you get to learn this now and one day you get to decide if you wanna move or not.

[00:25:04] Chelsea: Yeah. You know, reframing things like that instead of just being. Embrace the suck or moving again, you know, like I feel like that might have had some measure of comfort for me as a kid. Okay. Because you know where you're going to be, where you're going to end up eventually. You know what I mean? Yeah.

[00:25:23] Chelsea: Right. Yeah. You know, there's wide at the end of the tunnel eventually. It's not just. We're moving indefinitely and leaving our friends every time, you know? Yeah, 

[00:25:31] Alison: yeah. Okay. And then we, again, we talked about this a little bit beforehand, but you shared that you like moving, you still get the itch every two years.

[00:25:41] Alison: , okay, let's, and you don't have to, it's a choice. You're deciding to move. And I have to tell you, I've said this before that, so we're at 20, would it be 21 years that we've been, that I've been a military spouse and I'm like, I am. We have our, we have our land, we have the house we wanna build, we have our end.

[00:25:59] Alison: Yeah. Like let's just get there. And I am so worried that we're gonna get there. We're gonna build our dream house. Yes. This is it. This is our forever house. We're staying here and I'm gonna be like, okay. I'm ready to go. Like, let's, let's go. So I'm so worried that's gonna happen. And so you were telling me that you 

[00:26:17] Chelsea: prepare yourself, you like to move, you still like to yourself.

[00:26:21] Chelsea: Cause you might find, I have several friends, um, at this. Something I love about the military. We make our own family wherever we go. Yeah. Because the community is real, you know? And. And we, I didn't grow up around grandparents or anything else. So our friends from the military are our family. We do Christmas with them still.

[00:26:42] Chelsea: I do Thanksgiving with them still, I still have lots of friends from military life. When my dad was active duty, I spoke to one of them this morning, , and to her father actually. , so that is a, is a part of our life. But, , yes, out of all my friends from my youth that I'm still in touch with, I have.

[00:26:59] Chelsea: That went the opposite direction and said, I'm going to put roots down and I ain't moving. The rest of them, they all get the itch just like me. We get two years into a place and we're like, I've been, I know every street. I know my bearings, I know where I'm at. Yeah, this is boring. It's time to go. You know?

[00:27:16] Chelsea: And so, um, and I think, my gosh, parents, I do think my parents had that too. My mom was all the same way. She was like, we're gonna get somewhere and stay. Yeah, I, I went to 11 schools in 10 years. Geez. Because we just kept, and it wasn't, it wasn't, you know, I say it like it's a bad thing. We loved it. We were all happy to do it, you know?

[00:27:41] Chelsea: Okay. We stay at a place for a little while, eh, not right. You know, it's like Goldilocks in the three Bears. This bed doesn't feel right. This, except for, there's just not a right one. My husband and I right now are living in the house that we thought was our dream house. Yeah. And this was gonna be, We've been here for eight months and I'm already, my eyes are shifting around going like, well, where are we gonna, where are we gonna go next?

[00:28:03] Chelsea: Because, oh gosh. It just, it is what it is. Yeah, I guess so when I think about adult, being an adult male kid, yes. Separation anxiety. Dealing with that. It definitely had the most lasting effects. Okay. , in the, in the negative fashion. Yeah. But I, I count that as a positive. I love going different places and seeing different things, so, , that's not a negative to me, but I guess if you've been moving a long time and you are ready to settle down, yeah.

[00:28:28] Chelsea: Um, it's not as easy as you would think 

[00:28:31] Alison: to stick one spot. So your parents, so after your dad's retired and your parents still move 

[00:28:36] Chelsea: all the time, They sure did. They sure did. Now we stayed in the same state because of his National Guard. Okay. Okay. But we would just inch a little further out into the country every single time, , and, and even now as an adult, my parents have no children at home anymore.

[00:28:55] Chelsea: And I mean, my mom's moving next year. She just moved last year. She's already itching to go somewhere else. It's just, I think it's just kind of in you. I don't know. Yeah. Maybe it. I would say it's just us, but all my friends are the same way. I, I just, sorry. It's, you're not inspiring confidence. 

[00:29:15] Alison: That's not what I wanna hear.

[00:29:16] Chelsea: I, it's, you know, I, I, 

[00:29:19] Alison: yeah. I, I wonder 

[00:29:20] Chelsea: if everybody wants what they can't have. I guess they, 

[00:29:23] Alison: yeah, maybe so. I, but my husband, , we were just talking about this last night. He's like,, what if we get there and we're like, We don't find our people, you know what I mean? We just don't feel connected to the community or you know, , then what do we do?

[00:29:37] Alison: And I'm like, I dunno what we do this. There is no 

[00:29:40] Chelsea: plan for this.

[00:29:46] Chelsea: You can leave whenever you feel the itch, but you can still come home, you know? There you go. Maybe 

[00:29:52] Alison: that's the answer. We actually talked about getting an rv, especially while we're here cuz it's so drivable. I mean, we can go to so many different places within like, but it's just, it's not, it just hasn't worked out.

[00:30:02] Alison: Is there anything else that you feel like, , from your, okay, so we talked about how being connected to service HA was really helpful for you as a kid, and so I'm just curious that service, it was always a military affiliated service.

[00:30:19] Chelsea: For me, yes. Okay. Because as an, as a child, I, I don't think I knew this then, but I recognize it now as an adult. , when I'm doing anything military related, , it, I can do some as simple as like, we did a letter writing campaign where we wrote to soldiers, , but even like packing boxes for the USO or something.

[00:30:44] Chelsea: Box I pack, or every letter I write, I think about if it were my dad getting that, , 20 years ago, or my mom or now it's could be one of my brothers that opened those boxes, yeah. And just knowing that in the back of my head, that. No matter who I'm writing to or what box I'm packing, or what event I'm putting together mm-hmm.

[00:31:06] Chelsea: It could benefit one of my family members, or it could have benefited one of my family members. That is so much more fulfilling to me. Okay. Than any other thing I could possibly be doing. Mm-hmm. And I would've never, ever thought as an adult to. When my husband left, that's when I started volunteering.

[00:31:26] Chelsea: Okay. Um, for U s O. And so knowing that, that, and I know there's lots of organizations out there that are military affiliated that, that are just dying for volunteers. Oh yeah. I mean, they would just give anything to have some extra hands. Yeah. , so I, I know there's lots of others. , I don't mean to plug just one, that's just the one that I ha happened upon.

[00:31:47] Chelsea: Sure. But, I would've never thought to do that if my mom hadn't taken the time to take me to wrap those presents every year at Christmas. Yeah. I think that that was really something. It's a staple. It, it can, it can give you an opportunity to go home to post or wherever. Yeah. To be in the community you grew up with and to help people that you personally don't know individually, but you know, the lifestyle, you know what I mean?

[00:32:13] Chelsea: Right. And you know, what a toll it takes on families. Yeah. And just knowing that you're able to help with that. Yeah. It does bring a, a sense of, , it gives you roots when you grew up without them. You know what I mean? Right. Yeah. So yes, definitely I would say. That, that's probably at the top of my list for ways that you can, , Help anchor your children when they don't have an anchor is, is getting them involved in some measure of giving back.

[00:32:40] Chelsea: Cuz like I said before, my mom always said, when you give, you get back like double. Mm-hmm. And I never understood it as a kid cuz I, I thought she was talking in tangible, materialistic form. But no, it's just, it's good for your heart, you know? Yeah. Yeah. It's good for your heart. So, yeah, I think. Giving your kids that so that they are familiar with it and they recognize it and they remember it mm-hmm.

[00:33:06] Chelsea: Will take them back, , to that when they get older, it's, it's easier. Yeah. Like I said, I never would've thought to do this, , if, if it weren't for that. And, and I also think, , recognizing. And identifying things early. Like my parents, I was an only child, so they probably thought me having a meltdown every time.

[00:33:25] Chelsea: Dad has to leave. Yeah. And the meltdown might not be about leaving. I'm melting down about schoolwork, you know? Right. Yeah. But the root of it is that, , not wanting to sleep in my own bed when I was little. Mm-hmm. The root of it, it all goes back to a fear of. Being separated from, or someone not coming home.

[00:33:44] Chelsea: Mm-hmm. And it's just an insecurity. So I think, I think giving your kids as much knowledge as you comfortably can, as your other, , guest said back in last aug August, as Megan said, you know, she looks back now as an adult and she's like, oh, it was all great. It was all great. But then when she asked her mom about it, her mom's like, eh, it was actually a little harder than you thought it was.

[00:34:04] Chelsea: Oh, right, right, right. You did a good job of making you feel like it was. Kosher. Well, if you have a kid that already is showing signs of separation anxiety, then you know that they don't think things are kosher. So how about give them a little more information? Because some, I feel like some kids just need more information to be able to make themselves at ease.

[00:34:26] Chelsea: Like I said, if my parents had said, your parent is so well trained, you have nothing to worry about. I mean, that by itself would've brought me comfort. Mm-hmm. , knowing there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I know you don't like moving. Mm-hmm. Every year. Yeah. But the good news is, is you get to meet so many people and other kids would just kill to have that opportunity to get out of the school that they've been stuck in for the last five years, you know?

[00:34:52] Chelsea: Yeah. And some places are good and some places aren't. But guess what? When you're a grown, you can stay in the same place the rest of your life. If you want to enjoy the. You know? Right, right, right. And kind of just helping them reframe because when they feel like they don't have control over their situation, it's really hard to reframe and focus on anything else, you know?

[00:35:13] Chelsea: Yeah. Guided silver lining, I think is, , is, is really helpful. 

[00:35:18] Alison: Yeah. Yeah. I can, I, I see that with, with Savannah, cuz I. I've always been an overcommunicator. Like since they were little, I'm explaining everything. I'm like, well, we're gonna do this because of this. Duh. And so that continues as she's gotten older.

[00:35:35] Alison: She wants all the information. But I think another thing that we can do for our military kids too, is sharing with them the parts that are hard for us too. , as we come into a moving season or we're in this uncertainty phase, cuz we're in this uncertainty phase right now where we've been told we're gonna rotate summer of 24, but we might not.

[00:35:59] Alison: Yeah. And then are we gonna go here? Are we gonna go here? We, we, we don't really know. So we're kind of in that limb phase right now, which is really uncomfortable, right. Because it's the uncertainty. , and it's just validating those feelings, right? Like Yeah, I know. I, I know, I wish we knew where we were gonna go to, but, you know, yeah, it's, we'll just enjoy the time that we have here now.

[00:36:17] Alison: , , but again, validating those feelings and just doing the best, doing the best that you can with it. But it's, I think 

[00:36:23] Chelsea: it's, it's that verbalizing, it's verbalizing the good side, right? Mm-hmm. Like, I'm really frustrated because we might be leaving in 2024, but the good news is we know we're not going anywhere until then.

[00:36:36] Chelsea: So we have this many months here to just really enjoy every single second, and gosh, we're gonna enjoy it, you know? Yeah. Yeah. I think it's just. Verbalizing the good side, you know? Mm-hmm. , over and over again. And, and I, I feel like that is definitely extremely helpful. Yes. I agree. 

[00:36:56] Alison: Yeah. Yeah. , and the flip side of that too is letting your kids.

[00:37:00] Alison: See you struggle too. It's okay. You don't have to hide. Like I, yeah. That, you know, I'm having a really bad day. They can feel it or hide. They can feel it. They're, they, you're hiding nothing. You are hiding nothing. They know all the things. They might not know like the exact reason. Yeah, something's off.

[00:37:18] Alison: But they, they, they can, they, their little spidey senses, like they know, like it's, I was telling Michael, um, the other day, like Savannah, him and I we're, we don't yell. Like we just are not a yelling family. And so we've. That I remember that she was sitting over on the couch and we were in the kitchen and I said something and I was joking, but my tone and Savannah, and she was on her iPad.

[00:37:43] Alison: She were thinking, they're not paying attention. She's on her iPad. She's got one headphone on, one headphone off, and she. Like snapped up and looked over. Yeah. Like to gauge the situation they see and hear everything. 

[00:37:56] Chelsea: Like you're, yeah, you're not 

[00:37:58] Alison: hiding anything. I think that there's power in showing your kids.

[00:38:02] Alison: That it's okay to not be okay. Right. We talked about that as adults. Yeah. , it's okay to not be okay and sometimes you're like, this just freaking sucks. It just sucks. There's, there's no way around it. It just is and it's okay to sit in that, right? Yeah. But then , what do we have to help us, you know, as to move forward?

[00:38:20] Alison: Cause we wanna move forward. We don't wanna sit in it. But it is, there are times where it's just like, I know, I know. Like, you, you, yeah. And. See that and how you process that because they're learning from that as well, which I think exactly like your mom showed you, the service aspect of it. Hey, this is what we're gonna do.

[00:38:35] Alison: We're gonna give back. And now as an adult you're that that helped ground you. And when you're feeling this, , oh my gosh, I don't know what to do. , I am having all this anxiety around my spouse going away. This is an anchor point for me that came from, from that military upbringing, which I think is 

[00:38:53] Chelsea: cool.

[00:38:54] Chelsea: Right. And, and one more thing I wanted to say on the note of, cuz as I said, preface everything about it, I would change it for the world. Yeah. I feel like everything I had from it made me stronger. Yeah. I just had this one little weakness that, that followed me and, uh, into adulthood and therapy. Traced it all the way back to being a military kid.

[00:39:15] Chelsea: Yeah. Yeah. Another thing, , that my therapist told me, , , that I think might be helpful for other military parents to understand right now is that, , a lot of times that manifestation of separation anxiety, it doesn't start off as separation anxiety. It might start off as some other anxiety based, like O C D that was mine.

[00:39:35] Chelsea: It was O C D. Mm-hmm. And, and so, if you see your kid really. Taking every extra additional measurement to like, I want all of these stuffed animals perfectly spaced in a row. Maybe keep an eye on that and be a little bit more proactive. , Hey, everything okay? Mm-hmm. Let's talk about some things that are worrying me right now.

[00:39:55] Chelsea: I don't wanna move in 2024. Man, that really stinks, but you know, we, we don't have to move right now. So that's a good thing, you know? And. Kind of identifying that before it grows into something bigger. Mm-hmm. And it's funny, , how it comes full circle because o c d was my tendency. Mm-hmm. And , I realized that when my husband left for a year, because when I would start to feel stressed, , I'm.

[00:40:17] Chelsea: I'm mom and game face is on while my kids are awake. Once I get them bed dinner bathe and get them in bed for the night, yeah, I start to fray. And so I would have these little routines and I'd be like, okay, I'm gonna shower, wash my hair, wash my face, I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna start a little laundry.

[00:40:36] Chelsea: You know? And I noticed this about myself because there was no other adult around me to like say, Interrupt my, my crazy moments. Yeah. I would, I would sometimes be going until like 10 or 11 o'clock at night just trying to check every single box. Mm-hmm. And I noticed the times when I was really feeling.

[00:40:56] Chelsea: Anxious or separation anxiety, or I was missing my husband more. Mm-hmm. The list of things to do would get longer and longer. It was a coping mechanism. Yeah. It was a coping mechanism and I was putting more on my self desist. So when there were times where I'd be like, oh man, I'm two hours into my bedtime routine and I'm exhausted, but I still have an hour to go.

[00:41:16] Chelsea: You know? Yeah. I'd be like, okay, this is getting a little outta hand. Yeah, and that's where I actually was able to trace back. Oh, this was this, this goes back to o C D tendencies. When you feel like things are out of control, the natural inclination is to try to control them. Yes. And I'm gonna just do what I can in my little world.

[00:41:37] Chelsea: And, and the funny thing was, is my therapist actually said she, she believed, and I do believe her, , to be correct. That, that it did stem from my experience as a military kid because my, , I having two, and again, I have the best parents and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Like I said, gave me the competitive advantage.

[00:41:59] Chelsea: But when both your parents are in the military, , you tend to have sort of a drill sergeant mentality in your household sometimes, I think. Sure. At least I did for me. Yeah. Yeah. I tell people this and they, they, they think it's funny, but I'm not joking. I am 35 years old and I still tuck the corners of the sheets tight.

[00:42:17] Chelsea: Uhhuh, if you can move when you get into the sheets in my bed, I haven't made the bed. Right. Like I, I do things very methodically cuz my parents taught me to. Yeah. And my dad was always the type to say, if you're. You know, if you're not five minutes early, you're 10 minutes late. And so even as an adult, I'll have a meltdown if I'm not five minutes early, I have to be early.

[00:42:39] Chelsea: Right. And I think, um, as a parent sometimes just remembering that, , you or your spouse are the service member, not your kids. So you don't wanna raise a bunch of little soldiers. So having that discipline and stuff is great, but being a little over disciplined, like if you're getting, if your kid's getting in trouble for being five minutes.

[00:42:58] Chelsea: Yeah, that might not be that. That's kind of what I think started me getting a little bit O C D. Okay. When I was a kid. And then of course, that's what manifested as an adult is just the full blown, like I said, when my husband was gone and I realized that I was doing two hour bedtime routines, I was like, wait a minute.

[00:43:17] Chelsea: This doesn't feel right. 

[00:43:19] Alison: Yeah. Well that's good to have that self-awareness and that actually just made me think, huh? I wonder if that's why I keep taking on more and more and more things, because the things that I'm taking on are things that I can control. 

[00:43:35] Chelsea: Oh yes. Oh, okay. Then yeah. Fun filling in a lot of fun blank space with things you can control is actually a coping mechanism for those of us who can't sit still.

[00:43:48] Chelsea: Yeah. Yeah. How about that? How about that is fun when you get a little light bulb. Moment. 

[00:43:54] Alison: And Michael keeps saying that to me too. He was like, oh my gosh. Because I'm like, I'm so overwhelmed. I'm so stressed out. He's like, stop doing more 

[00:44:02] Chelsea: things. I know Eric tells me that all the time.

[00:44:07] Chelsea: My husband, he says, he's like, why do you keep dumping more duties on yourself all the time? You know? Yeah. Like helping a neighbor. But then before you know it, you're driving across town to pick something up that you weren't even living on town. Right. He's like, why do you just keep taking more bar more?

[00:44:22] Chelsea: I don't know. It's just how I know it's who I am. Oh, right. So, I dunno. There's something else to it, I guess. But yeah, I think. In a nutshell, like I said, , being a military kid and like I I said before, I feel like as adults, male kids need their own phrase because like, , you've got Gen Z and boomers and millennials and Gen X and all this, but like, I kind of feel like military kids, when they grow up into adults, they're just a completely different.

[00:44:50] Chelsea: We don't fit in any boxes, , and, and I'm so grateful for all those things, but I understand because I'm a mother, I'm not a military spouse, but as a mother and having grown up military, I understand the fear of like, oh man, am I doing something that's messing up my kid? You know? Yeah. And, and I think like on the flip side of it, as an adult now, that's.

[00:45:14] Chelsea: Successful and well-rounded and all the things that, there's just that one little thing. I just, I wish that there was some way to have addressed that, that fear, the separation anxiety, the fear of not having the parent, coming home. Yeah. , , and, and that is the advice I was given as an adult.

[00:45:31] Chelsea: And I do think that it is something that could be very helpful, letting them have knowledge, giving them an outlet like the volunteering. Yeah. And just communicating with them and letting them know that their parents well trained. Yeah, I think that that's, little things like that I think would make the biggest difference in the world to a kid that's having a little bit of a hard.

[00:45:50] Alison: Yeah, I love that. , I think there's a lot of insight, there's a lot of nuggets in there and I think, , , looking at it from, from the parenting side, I think there's just little just, and it's just little things, you know, but yeah.

[00:46:03] Alison: And then, and I think again, from multiple. Grown up military kids that I've talked to, the overarching, and there's always gonna be outliers, of course, everywhere, but is that. I am the person I am today because of the way that I grew up, and, and it's taught me the resiliency and I'm gonna bounce back and embrace the suck.

[00:46:27] Alison: Right, because embrace the suck. Yeah. . I mean that's definitely a military thing. That's a life. Yeah. There's, there's gonna be seasons in , everything that's gonna be, Hey, yeah, you just gotta get through this and get to the other side. And I think that that just is ingrained earlier and in just a different way, I think, in the military lifestyle.

[00:46:45] Alison: Yeah. 

[00:46:45] Chelsea: , but I appreciate that It is, and it's a good thing. It's such a great thing. I mean, for me, I. I have no fear of failure ever because I won't fail. Like I just know it. I won't, I might for a second, but get, it's not really a failure in my brain cuz I'm not done yet. I'm not done until I succeed. 

[00:47:04] Chelsea: And those are things that, that I don't see in a, not to the degree that military children grow up with, it's not over until I say it's over. That's a mentality that you don. It's rare to find, I feel, outside of a military community, 

[00:47:19] Alison: Yeah. I love that. All right. Thank you so much for your time. I appreciate you. 

[00:47:23] Chelsea: Thank you for having me. .