My name is Mary Monrose. I’m a military spouse, mom, advocate, and podcaster. I’d like to share my story about advocating for an issue I care about — the protection of rights of military children in Special Education.
I’m an Advocacy Officer at Partners in PROMISE, an organization led by military spouses who share their firsthand insights of the difficulties in special education with military children. In addition to ensuring our community is informed on these issues, we also educate high-level legislators.
Advocating with PIP led me to visit the Capitol earlier this summer to meet with defense fellows to help push clauses to be added to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the Exceptional Family Member Program. This was my very first time advocating to elected officials, so I began the day unsure of how I should fit into the process.
The moment I overcame my doubts and took the first step was when I had to conduct a meeting with one of the defense fellows alone. We were on Day 2 of having meetings, and for every meeting I had attended so far, I casually sat back, observed, and listened to everyone else as they advocated and shared their stories. To be honest, I was very nervous and intimidated by all the incredible and accomplished women I was surrounded by. I felt like I wasn’t on their level. I was new to the organization and my confidence level was low.I was just excited and humble to
even be a part of this mission.
When the time came for me to do the meeting myself, it was as if I had been doing this for years. Once my mouth opened, all of my self-doubts disappeared, and I successfully rose to the task. I shared my family’s story, I explained the importance of our policy recommendations, and I answered the fellow’s questions. I left that meeting feeling victorious!
From this experience, I learned that I needed to get out of my own way and step out of my comfort zone. On my podcast, Shine Sis, there’s an episode where my co-host and I talk about fear. In the episode we talk about how fear has the ability to motivate you in a negative or positive way.
So, my encouragement to anyone who is having self-doubts or letting fear cloud their judgement is to defeat fear by using it as your motivation to push through rather than missing your opportunity to shine because of it. “Life is never going to be EXEMPT of things that we fear.”
Mary Monrose is a Navy Spouse and mom of 3 who loves advocating for those who have a hard time being heard. She also has a podcast called Shine Sis, geared towards military spouses helping them find their purpose in life.