The military family community is a close-knit one in most areas; however, if there aren't a lot of military families where you're living, the life of a military wife is going to be an even more difficult endeavor to go through. The separation, the frequent moving, the worrying—it's not easy to wait at home for a loved one that is in a dangerous situation.
It's not uncommon to hear someone in a military family sigh and say, "Here we go again, another military move." It's a tough life to be stuck at home regardless; but without any roots to connect you to a place, life may feel all that more disjointed. Service isn't easy—not for the soldier or for the family he or she leaves behind, but that's why there are so many communities that are dedicated to caring for the spouses holding down the home front. Not sure where to start? The many ways to help military wives out should help you figure out something you can do to make a military spouses' life just a little bit easier.
Create a military night out in your community.
Whether you orchestrate it through Facebook groups, military groups, or with your local church, having a routine night out for military families is a great way to unite the military community in your area. Simply stated, there's strength in numbers. When people who are going through the same trial have the chance to get together and have some fun, it's the perfect release of stress or negative emotions they may be bottling up. When people know what others are going through and can relate to it, it becomes a lot easier to connect with them.
If the military mom you know has children, offer to babysit.
Here's a huge, small gesture you can do for the military wife at home—offer to babysit so that she can have a day off. You can offer and have it be along the lines of "If you ever need me to," or you can insist that she takes a day to herself while you babysit the youngsters. Get Elmo Meets the General or another kid-friendly program that's about military life for the little ones, and let their mom be free of responsibility for a day.
Our main goal here is to help the military wife, but it's worth remembering that the life of a military child is pretty tough, too. Both parties need a little help and something that will break up the routine sometimes, and it'll be just as good for the children to know they have outside support as it is for the spouse at home.
Remind her that deployment is an opportunity for personal growth.
It's important to keep active when you're a military wife, or when you're the friend of a military wife. It's one thing to spend all your time listening to US military podcasts and thinking about the person you're missing, but it's another thing to work toward personal goals while doing those things.
Whether you're a military wife or you're friends with one, knowing to pursue your own passions is important. When you're far away from someone you care for dearly, even though it's painful, it is a good opportunity to find a job that might be new and exciting, advance your education, develop a fitness routine, or just encourage your friend to get out of the house for a day of self care.
Sometimes, it's as simple as just being a friend to someone.
Let's say your friend is a milspouse but you really have no exposure to the military community. That's okay, and you can still help them.
Sometimes, just being an ordinary friend and having a listening ear is enough to help military wives out. Be around, be available, be consistent, and be willing to listen. Even if you don't understand what she's going through perfectly, with a little bit of empathy, you can still be a massively supportive person in her life.
Make care packages for both the deployed, and the family left behind at home.
The idea of care packages for deployed service members is pretty common, but how often do the milspouses left at home get that kind of treatment? Very rarely. Sometimes, after getting all those care packages for the soldiers sent out, taking time to make care packages for the military family members left behind can be a great way to show you care for everyone involved.
For a military wife, creating and sending over a self-care package can be a great way to give a few, little things to help her relax and unwind. Whether it's a face mask, a new book, or tickets to the movies, a thoughtful gift can do a lot to take someone's mind away from stressful realities that cannot be changed.
Help her find a new hobby and try out new things together.
Exploring new hobbies can be a great way to fill that loneliness of having a loved one deployed far away. However, creative hobbies just aren't quite for everyone, especially spouses who are the more industrious type.
In fact, there are quite a lot of financial considerations for the milspouse entrepreneur. After all, it's hard to find a job in one area just to be uprooted to another area. If someone creates their own business, they can pick it up and bring it anywhere they go, and you can be the exact person to inspire them to do that.
Give extra attention to the holidays that are all about honoring the troops.
If you're trying to brainstorm ways you can give back to veterans, making a splash on the holidays dedicated to them is a great starting point. Showing your support for veterans is one of the slightly indirect ways to help military wives out, but your contribution still matters in the eyes of many who need that support.
Holidays like Memorial Day and Independence Day turn into an excuse to have a cookout and maybe light some sparklers. While those activities are fun, it's important to put the spotlight on what they're really about—honoring those who serve.
Help organize events for veterans who have recently returned home.
While it's exciting to be home, the month after getting home is one of the hardest transitions in military life. It doesn't stop after a month though. Deployment can be incredibly stressful, and in the worse scenarios, leave scars both physically and mentally. Even if someone seems okay on the outside, military veterans have a hard time getting a job and getting used to civilian life again.
Depending on a military family's socioeconomic status and what area they're in, money can be very tight for veterans. Organizing events for veterans to come together and talk about their experiences can be a big help. Sometimes, making such an even more about something else—a picnic, a hiking trip, a bowling night—will actually get people to talk and connect more naturally than a traditional support group.
Become active in online communities for military spouses.
One painful reality of military life is that there will always be a lot of moving. My partner has worked for the military in southern New Jersey, in Maryland, and then in northern New Jersey. The fact that he's been in the same state twice would have been great, only we moved down to Maryland just to move back to New Jersey a lot sooner than we expected to.
In cases like these, if you want to be a part of a military family network, try to create a Facebook group, a Skype or Slack chat, or some sort of digital landing space for people to keep up with each other and talk about the trials of being a military spouse.
If possible, plan a surprise reunion.
Recently, there was a beautiful story about how a young man showed up at Jack Allen's kitchen in Austin disguised as... that's right, you guessed it, a waiter. This is quite obviously tough to pull off, but it can make for a truly magical moment after two people have been separated for a long time. The young marine surprises dad while disguised as a waiter, and created a reunion that neither of them will ever forget.
Reunions are always special, but if you're close enough to the military family to make something magical like this happen, it's well worth the extra effort to make it that much more memorable. Logistics are definitely tricky, but it's one of the most unforgettable ways to help military wives out.