April is the Month of a Military Child. I’m supporting our military children, who sacrifice so much, the best way I know how – by supporting the moms caring for them day in and day out.
A few years ago, my best friend moved away to become a military wife. You know that friend who you share everything with? When they go through a major life experience, you feel like you’re going through it too? That’s how I feel about her.
This year she went through one of those major life milestones. Her husband’s first deployment.
I’ve always had a huge respect for military men and women, and their families who are left at home awaiting their return. And living life with her via phone calls and text messaging and face time from afar has taught me a lot.
We can’t forget about these families or miss out on the opportunity to serve them, while their spouses serve abroad.
Here’s how you can support a military mom:
- Communication – Make the extra effort to reach out, military moms need to hear from their friends to vent and complain or just to have an actual adult conversation for once. Don’t let yourself get so caught up in life that you forget about the little things – send a text message, drop a letter through snail mail, put together a care package or face time her kids. Try setting an appointment on your calendar each week or month as a reminder to keep in contact. While the days may be flying by for your family, they are ticking by slowly for theirs as they wait for daddy to come home.
- Babysitting – We all know how important a good babysitter is. Sometimes, a good date night can be the only thing standing between you and insanity. But imagine turning into a single parent over night, and having to rethink everything from doctors appointments to weekly bible study. If you live close by, step up and offer to help and then actually do it. Be consistent! There’s enough change going on in their life as it is, if you’re going to help them stick to your commitment. If you are far away, as friends in the military are often stationed in different states, get creative. Reach out to any contacts you have in their area, to help find a babysitter – it can take a few tries to find the right fit. Or send a gift card for a lunch out or pedicure to encourage them to have some time away from the kids.
- Don’t Avoid It – When you talk to your military friends, be careful not to avoid the topic of deployment. We tend to skate around topics that make us uncomfortable or choose to say nothing when we can’t find the exact right thing to say. Don’t let fear keep you from asking about their spouse. Maybe they don’t want to share details, but at least show your interest, tell them you care and ask how you can help.
- Say Thank You – If you’re struggling with what to say to military couples, this one is an easy go to! Tell them THANK YOU. I would often text my friend at night after I would tuck my son into his crib, because I couldn’t help but think about how his safety was being defended by her husband – who was not at home tucking in their child. This made a huge impact on the way I said thank you, it was meaningful and heartfelt.
- Surprise – During a deployment there can be lots of unwanted surprises, leave dates change and learning to adjust to one parent at home can leave a military mom’s head spinning. Think about how you could bless her with a HAPPY surprise. Think about something unique to her that she may not normally splurge on (because we all know our military isn’t paid enough). Maybe it’s a membership to the local zoo, a day at the spa, or the latest gossip magazine.