Last Wednesday was a very exciting day in the Navy! Chief Petty Officer results were released, and those selected celebrated and breathed a little easier … until they realized they had just entered PHASE II (otherwise known as Chief Season). If your sailor was on that list, congrats! Becoming a Chief is an honor, but it’s also a process. The next six weeks will get to him and CAN get to you if you let them. Here are my 6 Tips for Surviving Chief Season as a CPO Select Spouse.
Get ready. Your sailor will be busier than EVER before.
On top of his normal duties, he will have training, tasking, fundraising, networking events, and more added to his plate over the next six weeks. I barely saw my husband during his season, and when I did it was for hurried meals and crash naps here and there.
Keep your own schedule.
If you haven’t already, talk to your sailor about everyone’s schedule. I find it helpful to keep the family’s schedule the same (i.e. dinner at 6, swim practice on Monday and Wednesday, playgroups on Thursday, etc) and let him work around that. You may have to save him a plate from dinner. He may need some help with his household responsibilities. This is the perfect time to cut him some slack. He is worker harder than ever right now (see above), and it will all be worth it in the end.
Help him however YOU can.
This statement may cause controversy as there are some who say spouses should butt out and others who say spouses should be involved. My opinion is that I’ve been supporting and helping him for almost 20 years; why would I stop now? Your involvement will look different depending on your availability, command rules, and what your sailor needs. Here in Washington spouses are encouraged to take shifts at the fair, show up at car washes, and more. Back in Connecticut during Josh’s season, I mostly helped with crafty things, shopping when he ran out of time, and making sure he ate even when he didn’t have time to eat. I recently saw a great tip of simply packing healthy, on-the-go type snacks in your sailors car for times when he truly isn’t able to stop for lunch. Help however YOU are able!
You probably will argue.
Think of it like the pre-deployment phase or those stressful weeks after a deployment. Less sleep, added duties, and increased stress are the perfect recipe for arguing with your spouse. Remember that those are usually the reasons behind short tempers (yours and his). If things get heated, ask yourself (and your spouse): is this really an argument about XYZ, or are we just stressed/tired/hungry right now.
Ask for help.
Am I allowed to pin my sailor? What should I wear to the Khaki Ball? When is that car wash I was supposed to help out with?!? There will be questions. There will be stressful moments. It is perfectly okay to ask for help. Your sailor’s sponsor is a good go-to, and if you’re lucky his spouse may be helpful as well. Call on your fellow CPO Select spouses as well as the established CPO Spouses in your command. We’ve all been there, and we’ve all asked those questions before. We want to help you!
Enjoy the ride.
Josh became a Chief in 2006. I remember him being gone a lot, being extra cranky (understatement), and praying for the season to end quickly so I could have my normal husband back … and before I knew it, it was all over. I look back now and see what an exciting time Josh’s season was, and I get all giddy every single year for the newest crop of CPO Selects and their spouses! We both have so many silly stories, made so many lifelong friends, and gained so much knowledge and experience in those short six weeks. Enjoy it!
The achievement of being selected as a Chief Petty Officer is such an honor! Congratulations to your sailor! This is such an exciting time, and I am so excited for all the Chief Selects and their spouses going through it! The next six weeks will be stressful and hard, but they will be six weeks you will never forget!
Was your sailor on the list? Shout it out in the comments! Plus come back tomorrow for the next post in the Select Spouse Series
“4 Tips for Helping Your CPO Select”