Monday, August 18, 2008

Pilot Training, Part II

The best advice I have for coping with pilot training:

Find a job/hobby/volunteer gig/start a home business.

Doesn't matter what you do, but you need your own thing. Maybe it is because so many of the spouses are newly married and just out of undergrad, but that seems to be a hard one for people to follow. People are also hesitant to look for jobs because they will be moving soon (keep in mind, UPT is thirteen months long, so you'll most likely be there at LEAST that long! And don't get me started on how the pipeline is backed up right now coming out of UPT).

Don't get me wrong. I understand that the cities where UPT bases are located are not exactly metropolises (also, why is it metropolises? shouldn't it be metropoli? I digress...) but if you can't find a job in your field, you can find something that will at least engage your brain and give you something to look forward to while your spouse is gone 12 hrs a day and studying another 6 on top of that.

I have a full time job. This keeps me more than occupied. But if a full time job is not your style (for whatever reason) or just not in the cards, here are some other things I've seen people do successfully:
-Start a business (Mary Kay/whatever or something of your making)
-Volunteer (on base or off)
-Offer to run spouse groups
-Train for a triathlon (seriously, the girl I know who does this is SO BUFF)
-Take a class- online courses are your friend! There are so many legit schools with awesome programs, look around!
-Take a class- community ed! check out you local library! Cooking, languages, ballet for adults oh my!
-Part time/substitute gig
-Write (and publish!) a book
-Work on reading through the literary canon (The woman who does this is so cool, she is always reading something totally awesome and looking to talk about it).

I'm not saying you have to go overboard. But find something that is just yours, even if it is only a couple hours a week and then OWN it. Be excited about it, talk about it, enjoy it, make your spouse learn at least something about it. You'll be a lot happier, trust me. All the people I've met who are happy and dealing well with the stress of a spouse in UPT have something of their own that keeps them occupied. I hate to be all "just think positive" but seriously, find something that at least adds to your happiness and then focus on that.

**Disclaimer: I have no children. My advice is for people who also have no kids. If you have kids and your spouse is in UPT, you are a better soul than I. But from observation I can tell you that it is very doable whether you work outside the home or not. I know lots of ladies who manage it with style and grace.


The Mrs. said...

My husband didn't do pilot training, he's a nav, but flight school and nav school were horrible time suckers. They were schools that required everything and anything of him. We weren't married during either, but dating and it was tough.

Some of what you posted sounded a lot like us when we were first married. He was flying CONSTANTLY, I had just moved up here and was trying to find something semi-compatable wtih his schedule. I worked part time at a battered women's shelter (oh that was uplifting) and then substituted, so that it was easier to have days off when he was home. After a while I realized I wasnt seeing him anyways so I found a fulltime job teaching special ed and LOVED IT.

My point, as long winded is, its so hard to find some balance but utimately... you gotta do whats going to make it easier for YOU and whats going to make YOU happy.
Sounds like you have found that. Kudos to you for that!

and thanks so much for your comments, it was very interesting to hear it from the perspective of a kid who went thru it. : )

Tressa said...

I think you have a great post here. Even though my husband has never been through pilot training, there have been commands that I had to find something. Most deployments as a matter of fact. Yes, small children make it more difficult, but it is still doable. You just have to find something that keeps you closer to home. Or, if someone has small children and just has to get out of the house, I know that Navy Relief will cover your child care for volunteering. I don't know about the other service relief organizations, but it would be worth looking into.

Anyway, all this to say that I liked your ideas. :)