Being a pilot wife is…well, unique.
It’s feeling like you live two completely separate, unrelated lives–the one when your husband is home and the one when he’s not–and trying to find some kind of balance between the chaos of the two.
It’s watching your husband pack everything he owns into his bags and head out to partake of a life you don’t know anything about with people you’ve never met and trusting, hoping, praying he comes home.
It’s dreading holidays because you know you’ll more than likely spend them alone and avoiding Facebook on Christmas so you don’t have to see all the happy smiley families opening gifts together while you hope maaaaaaybe to Skype him later. Maybe.
One thing I will never try to sell you about the pilot wife life is that it’s easy because it’s anything but. However, I am examining with you different ways we can accept the circumstances we have been given and make the very most of it.
One of those very tangible ways is the pilot wife community.
There is no one that can completely understand the ups and downs of this lifestyle unless they, too, have experienced it. That’s why it is so important for us to live in community with one another, encouraging and lifting up our fellow aviation sisters.
In order to survive the hard days, we need people who understand where we are coming from to cheer us on and, when necessary, give us a good old fashioned kick in the tail. We need safe places to discuss our feelings and circumstances and positive people who are willing to pour hope and encouragement into our hearts.
Most of all, we need one-on-one relationships–women we can meet for coffee (to laugh and cry with) and women we can call to help us when we’re alone and our child (or heaven forbid you) has suddenly come down sick. Women who have been there, done that, and get it.
Building upon these foundations and intentionally nurturing these relationships will help us to have richer, happier lives when our husbands are away–and a happier wife means a happier pilot.
Great. But how do you accomplish it?
PILOT WIFE GROUPS: Social media is rife with pilot wife groups who support and love on one another. There are everything from general aviation groups such as Partners in Aviation and Houston Area Pilot Wives as well as groups for specific airlines. These are a fantastic places to ‘meet’ other women who are living this life, get advice, ask questions, and vent about the nunces of day-to-day life. Choose positive groups that seem to focus on encouraging and pouring into the women and their pilots and avoid overly gossipy groups that could damage your relationship or feelings toward your pilot.
However, fly carefully. Though most of these groups are set as ‘private’ or ‘secret,’ remember nothing online is sacred. You should always be hesitant about sharing private information regarding your family, husband, or his job particulars and avoid going on detailed, unfiltered rants about them. Unfortunately, I have seen information shared ‘privately’ in a group leaked very not privately to spouses and workplaces in the past. Use discretion.
PILOT WIFE PAGES: Following a pilot wife page such as The Pilot Wife Life which is devoted to pouring encouragement into the pilot community is a great way of receiving daily, positive reminders about the good side of life. Participating in the discussions may also help you think outside the fuselage and see things from a fresh altitude! It is also a good place to ‘meet’ other women who are looking to live an encouraging and positive version of the pilot wife life.
GROUP MEETUPS: Oftentimes wives from the local pilot wife groups will plan girls’ nights out or holiday gatherings. This is one thing HAPW does well. This is a fantastic way to get out of the house, meet new people, and build lasting personal relationships with other women living the life.
The picture above is of three pilot wives (Megan, Angelia, and Kathyrn) volunteering together at an aviation event for special needs children known as ChallengeAir for Kids. Volunteering together for community causes and events is an especially strong bonding experience and also serves to give us new perspective about our own circumstances. I highly recommend it if you get the chance.
PILOT WIFE FRIENDSHIPS: My best friend in the world is a pilot wife. Why? Because she gets me and I get her. I met her through a pilot wife playgroup, in fact. We did everything together (until she moved). Holidays, birthdays, celebrations, and tears were and are all shared regularly and freely…and understood. I can’t count the times we exchanged kids for appointments or dropped off medicine and soup at each other’s doors. Use the groups and meetups you participate in to find like-minded pilot wives in your community and intentionally pursue friendships with them (but not in a creepy, overbearing, stalker kind of way!).
Invite them to dinner. Get together for a playdate or coffee. Get to know each other over a text or two. Making friends within the pilot wife community will be one of the most rewarding things you will do and will provide a whole new level of emotional support for both of you.
START YOUR OWN: No pilot wife groups in your area? No pilot wives sharing holidays or girls’ nights out? Start it yourself! It only takes a couple of minutes to create a pilot wife group for your city or suggest or create an event for a pilot wife group you are already in. Take the initiative and start helping connect other pilot wives in your community today so we can continue to strengthen each other and subsequently our spouses!
To help connect our beautiful aviation sisters, I am currently working on creating a database of pilot wife social media groups all in one place! If you know of a group I can add, please let me know!
Now let’s get connected!
~A Fellow Pilot Wife