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My Story - The truth behind that Insta-grin!

I know what you might be thinking. If you pop over to my Instagram or see me on a Facebook Live in the FEN Business Community you see a shiny, smiling face peering out at you. The face of a woman who’s clearly got her life together, has a successful business, can talk on camera and is winning at life. But guess what? It’s less of the winning, and more of the winging! I often wake up with no clue what I am doing that day, or where my business is going, I am stuck in another flippin’ deployment and it’s bin day- the worst of all the days when your husband is away!

Here’s the back story for you…

It’s 2013 and another rainy day at Brize Norton. Like many spouses, when the posting notice arrived I chose to leave full time employment to support my husband’s demanding job. I had just left yet another interview for a position that I was massively overqualified for with these words still ringing in my ears - ‘Oh, my dad was in the Navy, we moved all the time, guess you won’t be here long enough for the job then?!’

I’d literally lost all sense of who I was. Not only had I left my home in beautiful Bath where I had lived for 10 years; I’d left my friends, my job and my maiden name behind as well. Added to that, the never-ending detachments to Afghanistan meant that I was bloody lonely! My husband, anRAF C-130 pilot, was Out of Area for the fourth month that year…and it was STILL raining, in JUNE. Surely this isn’t as good as it gets?

I decided enough was enough - I needed to take things into my own hands, so I launched my own design company from our kitchen table. It started off slowly, but 5 years later thanks to support from courses such as ‘Supporting the Unsung Hero’ and ‘The Project’, I have a successful business that I can work on no matter where we are posted. It has taken a lot of patience and hard graft to get going, but I found that as my business started to grow it was where I was meant to be. I had a role that gave me the purpose I needed and could that I excel in.

Since then, my business has not only added a bit of money to the monthly income, it has also given me a whole network of amazing friends, taken me to incredible places, and brought me to the point where I am writing this blog. I have started a FEN Community in Facebook with over 260 brilliant business leaders and I have recorded The InDependent Spouse podcast for military spouse entrepreneurs (you can listen here​ And the best part? I can take it with me! We are off to our 4th posting in the summer and Design Jessica is coming too.

It also means that in this current posting, where my husband has been deployed 25 times (yes, I counted!) he knows that no matter where he is in the world, in whatever capacity, he knows that I am happy and content and he can carry on the important work he needs to do.

Turns out there isn’t a cookie-cutter version of a ‘military spouse’ - we have all struggled at one time or another to find our place. I have friends who are amazing mothers, inspirational fundraisers, passionate bakers; my purpose is to be a business owner.

So, the point of this post is that no-one really knows where this crazy service life will take us. We’ll meet some fantastic friends, experience some amazing postings and places, maybe even launch our own business. Being a modern military spouse is a struggle but if you find your purpose, whatever that may be, and give it your all, with all you have, you’ll no longer dread that rainy day in Brize Norton.

Find out more about Design Jessica and The InDependent Spouse here​

Strength Behind the Strong