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The position of FRG Leader doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It’s a tough job that takes thick skin and a genuine drive to do good for other military families. When I first became the FRG Leader I did a ton of research on things I could do to benefit the unit. I learned so much more about myself along the way.
Sometimes the FRG Leader is an Island
I need help. In almost a decade of dealing with deployments and training exercises I built up a tough shield. I could run my household all by myself. I could school drop off, bake cookies, and volunteer at soccer practice. Everything gets done and I never felt like anything fell through the cracks. What I didn’t realize was how much I leaned on my FRG.
Before I became a leader, I volunteered as a treasurer and key caller. The FRG Leader was a fantastic resource and a wonderful friend. When I attended an FRG meeting I was able to sit with friends and have adult conversation. It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t have the same camaraderie when i held a leadership position. Those friendships sustained me so that I could play both mom and dad roles.
There’s Only So Much Good I Could Do
I’m a naturally hard worker. I want to be the best at everything. Being the best FRG Leader was the only option from day 1. I sent out weekly e-mails with training updates, calendars, and events in the community. I put together meal trains for every family that welcomed a new baby. No question was too silly for me to answer. In short, I put my all into volunteering for the unit. I genuinely care about the morale of the families and the unit as a whole.
Over time I realized that I was in a lead a horse to water situation. Not everyone felt the same way as I did. Some people just wanted to be left alone, others didn’t want to help with volunteer efforts. Still others just didn’t give a crap about anyone else. And all of that’s fine! With 150+ different viewpoints and backgrounds there’s no way that everyone sings together around the campfire. At some point I needed to accept that I could only do my best and know that if people wanted help I had made myself available to them.
It’s Difficult Working with My Spouse
I know that there are people out there that work everyday with their husband or wife and it works well for them. I know after the 18 months of working with my husband that we’re not those people. We aren’t the greatest at separating work from home. We ended up turning dinner time into a meeting. Even worse, when he deployed our phone calls revolved around plans for the unit and the FRG. That was the hardest for me. I missed my husband and incredibly stressed out about solo parenthood. When I needed my spouse I got my coworker instead. Not an ideal situation.
I Wouldn’t Change a Thing
FRG Leadership was difficult but I enjoyed it. I liked knowing that I made a difference. At the end of my tenure 3 spouses that I rarely spoke to reached out to me. They said that I was the best leader that they ever had and that I’d be missed. That made it worth while. I realized that I didn’t have to change the world, I just had to affect one spouse. And I did. I would do it all over again. I would work just as hard.