What Being Married to a Pilot Taught Me
Since I've become more vocal about my husband's profession on social media, I've found myself receiving a lot of instagram messages asking about John's schedule and how we maintain our focus, our relationship, our family time, my business, and my sanity while he's gone for long stretches.
To say it's easy would be dumb of me, it's anything but. I'm very grateful to have friends & family who check in on me, a super sweet angel of a toddler, and a strict schedule we stick to no matter what!
A lot of the messages I've received have been from other aviation spouses who needed advice so I thought I'd switch it up today and share the three things that being married to a pilot has taught me. So, here goes!
1: Roll with the punches.
John and I began dating at the end of our freshmen year of college at Louisiana Tech University but it wasn’t until his sophomore year that he switched his major to aviation. During those first few years, I had thought I tasted what aviation would be like but the truth is I had no clue. Long flights that were rerouted due to weather in a Cessna 172 holds no comparison to that of a private jet or a commercial airline.
The first three aviation jobs John held were all corporate, which meant his schedule was amazing. Now, not all corporate gigs come with an amazing schedule but we were really blessed. John was on salary while he sometimes only worked a few days in the month and we were able to take joy rides in private jets when they were down for maintenance (Gray loved that!) He was able to be home with me for the most crucial times of our marriage, including Grayson’s first three years of his life. He even delivered Gray - amazing right?
When he decided to switch over into the airlines, I learned that there will come a time where I have plans and those plans just won't work out because of a factor that's out of my control. Learning this has taught me to stop trying to control every situation. Sometime's it's easier to sit back & let things run their course. You can't stress over moments you can't control and this has been such a valuable lesson for motherhood, my relationship, and my business,
Storms happen, flight delays happen, maintenance issues happen...it sucks. One thing I’ve learned since marrying a pilot is to roll with whatever life throws at you. Through eight moves in the span of six years, month-long training sessions, mostly with a baby, I learned that being negative in any situation will only make matters worse. Having a positive outlook on anything that happens, takes the stress out of the situation. Move again? Sure! Why not? You won’t hear me complain. I would follow this guy to the end of the earth & I would wait on him after any flight delay. We’ve learned that midnight arrivals are just another opportunity for Grayson to (excitedly) skip bedtime and surprise daddy at the gate and midnight departures are a good excuse for spending one more day together.
2: Cherish the quality time.
John and I are the annoying couple who truly love to do everything together - sorry! From spending time with Gray at the park, to hitting the gym, to long bike rides, & our favorite german bar, we love doing all of the same things. Hell, even grocery shopping is actually enjoyable for us.
Our entire relationship has truly flourished over the ten years we’ve been together and has grown into one that is full of trust, happiness, love, and so much positivity. To say we don’t have our hard times would be a lie, but I can say that being married to a pilot has made me pick my battles. Our time together is so limited these days.
I can say that 90% of the fact that I enjoy the same things as John is because I grew up with two older brothers and an amazing dad who showed me girls don’t have to just like shopping, but liking the same things as John has always helped us have plenty of things to do. Now, we don’t ONLY do things together but it’s a really reassuring feeling when we both enjoy being together.
And since he is only home for 2-3 days at a time, I've learned to be more strict with my work schedule, to put the phone down, and that non-emergencies with work can wait until the next day. It's become so important for me to really disconnect myself from social media when he's home. I never want to be able to say I put my career before my family and I've been so blessed to have one that affords me the opportunity to put them first.
3: Patience is a virtue.
I haven't always been the most patience person but I can say something in me has definitely changed over the years. It's so important to put yourself in someone else's shoes when something is out of their hands and they're doing the best they can.
For example, you'll always hear people complain about being stuck on the runway and they love to blame the pilot. What they don't understand is how out of their hands the situation is. I've learned that there are a million professions out there I have no clue about, therefore I need to practice patience when those people are trying to help me.
Doctors, nurses, pilots, mechanics, dentists, police officers, military...you'll never catch me getting testy with them or impatient because I have no idea how their jobs work. Pilots are a prime example because you often hear people complaining about the pilots when something has nothing to do with them and I think it's important to remember the person you're upset with is a husband, father, mother, sister, or friend. They so desperately want to get home just as bad as you do.
It's shown me that, in my own life, whether it's with a client or a friend or even a stranger, I have to practice patience at all times because you truly never know what someone is going through.
I think that, overall, being a pilot's wife has shown me a different side of both a profession and a mindset that I never knew existed - one that I can put to amazing use in my own life as a mom, wife, and business owner. Life for us is more structured and scheduled than most but so untraditional and we wouldn't change it for the world.
Has your spouse or partner's career path taught you something? I'd love to hear!