"PERHAPS THE ONLY THING AS DIFFICULT AS BEING A MILITARY MEMBER IS LOVING ONE."
Patience is waiting. Not Passively Waiting. That is Laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow-- THAT is patience.
The Service Member Is Not the Only One Serving: Their Spouses (And Loved Ones) Are the Core Unit & Backbone to Ensure the Military Member’s Success–No Matter Where They Are in Their Career.
Their Lifestyle Can Put A Toll on The Family/Dependents in The Home by Being on Call, Deployments, Moving Place to Place, Etc. Some are lucky enough to have only 1 or 2 duty stations, others, countless moves around the United States and around the world.
DID You Know?
Military Spouse Appreciation Day Facts:
- In 1984, President RonalD Reagan Recognized the Profound Importance of Spousal Commitment to The Readiness and Well-Being Of Military Members With Proclamation 5184, Dated April 17, 1984.
- The Department of Defense Standardized The Date By Declaring It Be Observed On The Friday Before Mother’s Day; Friday, May 8th, 2021
- (And PS: Mother’s Day Is This Coming Sunday, May 9th. You Are Welcome for Your Friendly Reminder).
- The President or First Lady Typically Give A Ceremonial Speech, Military Installations And Local Businesses Typically Hold Special Events And/Or Ceremonies.
It is easy to provide you the historical facts behind Military Spouse Appreciation Day, but here are some first hand stats and words from current and former Military Spouses on all things MilSpouse Life, PCSing/buying Homes, looking for stable but portable careers and more…
A total of 65 anonymous military spouses from various areas of the internet and in the company completed a short 9 question survey regarding Military Appreciation Day coming up on May 7th, 2021. *The following is a summary of the survey responses; several questions, including the short answer/opinion questions were not completed by all participants*
- Average age of becoming a Military Spouse?
- 18-24 Years Old
- (53.85%; 35/65 responses)
- 18-24 Years Old
- Was the service member Active Duty BEFORE or AFTER the marriage?
- BEFORE Marriage
- (73.02%; 46/63 responses)
- BEFORE Marriage
- The most common military branch that participated in the 2021 Military Spouse Appreciation Day Survey:
- United States Army
- (71.88%; 46/64 responses)
- United States Army
- On a Star Scale from 1 Star to 5 Star (1 being the worst, 5 being the best), the average response about the happiness/expectations of living the Military Spouse lifestyle:
- Weighted Average of 4 Stars (about 35.71% of responses)
- Of 65 survey responses asking if they have/had children while Active Duty:
- 52/65 have/had children (at some point before, during or after military service)
- 26/65 children when Active Duty
- 13/65 do NOT have children when Active Duty
Most Common Open-Ended Question Responses
How Can We as A Civilian and Military Community Show Appreciation to Our Military Spouses?
- Better access to Mental Health services that are provided on and off post; we typically do not know who to even ask about it. We are strong, but we have our needs and breaking points as well.
- Support from our SPOUSE; we love them and are here to support them but their acknowledgement of what we do, and “sacrifice” as well means more to us than what anyone else could tell us.
- Recognition that we are not just babysitters, house cleaners, meal preppers, errand runners, etc; we want to be treated and acknowledged more than just a personal assistant in our own homes and spouse.
- Provide resources to find and keep careers; it is not right we have no way of easily transferring professional licenses when we have to PCS, not all of us want to feel like a personal assistant in our own home and then be paid to be a stranger’s assistant or work a front desk.
- The bridge between civilian life and military life, especially when it comes to friendship, family and career support, is broken and we need to fix it.
- Options for childcare: we want AND need friends to build our own support systems. Not everyone has a kid but that does not mean we do not want to be friends with each other; very rarely are there off post events or “normal” things we can go do without having easy access to on post childcare or vetted babysitters. We get lonely too.
What Do You Wish You Knew as A Military Spouse?
- Where on post, off post and online to get the best resources and information on benefits specific to us and/or families.
- That you need to “find your village”, even if they are not part of the military community, it will keep you grounded, less stressed, and aware of life outside of your military bubble.
- PTSD/TBI/Mental Health conditions and how to deal with them; for yourself, spouse or child.
- Know what you are getting into; don’t just go off of what your service member relays to you—do your own research. Whether you’re in a large conventional unit or a smaller Special Operations unit, they are COMPLETELY different and you really need to know if you can handle what each bring to the table.
- There are tons of resources for kids (and for us if you actually look it up online); but there are so many things I never thought about for my child that are game changers now.
- If you’re not independent, start working on it now. Don’t be the wife/significant other who cries and complains when they call from overseas; it stresses them out, could impact their job performance and certainly doesn’t help you or your family.
- KEEP TRACK OF EVERYTHING. Make copies of any and every document from the military, doctors, schools, etc; trust me.
- Information on VA benefits, such as when and how we can buy a home and the process for that.
- Be your own advocate and take time to learn your area, your post, Google information, get involved with groups online or locally; just go with the flow.
Other Military Spouse Tips, Experiences and Advice:
- Finding “your people” gives you an outlet to express your frustrations that don’t need to be taken out on your spouse and put a strain on your marriage. These people are the ones you should turn to for positivity and support as well.
- Find a mentor to help navigate the waters of your duty station, the area, the general vibe of the unit; it doesn’t matter if they are younger or older…you can be that person to someone one day and have a huge impact in their life.
- Make sure to find yourself, keep knowing who you are, and have your own life and hobbies outside of the military; it definitely comes in handy when they are away.
- Google is your best friend. Just like you can find a hack or DIY for all things in life (hint hint: Pinterest); there are tons for military life as well.
- Just be positive. You knew what you were getting into, the good times, bad times (that’s just marriage in general), scary and often dangerous “work” scenarios, long periods of time away from each other or your families; if you didn’t know…here is your wake-up call…find out before it’s too late.
Veterans Lending Group wishes a very Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day! Thank you for all you do for your Military Service Member, Your Families and YOURSELVES. To our VLG Military Spouses: we love all of you and appreciate what you have sacrificed; we need more like you.
If you know or meet a Military Spouse, take a few of the pointers they mentioned and extend an offer to provide that for them.