Military Families Need Support

28 Jan

It had been a long night and I hadn’t made coffee yet, but it did not take me long to be wide awake after reading a headline titled “Obama: Military families need support” in the Fayetteville Observer. We all know our families need support and that most Americans have no idea what our life is really like, so there was a glimmer of hope this article may provide new opportunities for our military families.

I was excited to read about how Michelle Obama will be launching a campaign in March called “Strengthening Our Military Families: Meeting America’s Commitment.” The article did not go into detail about the campaign, but Michelle Obama was quoted as saying “They’re (military families) a reminder of the love that keeps us together – the love of family, the love of country” (Skiba, 2011). Sounds good, right?

The article concentrated more on discussing changes our government will be making for our families. The following are four areas they will be targeting.

  • Mental and physical health of military families

How often do we put our own mental and physical health on hold because life is just too busy? I know I have told myself “tomorrow, next week, next pay period, etc.” too many times. We get so wrapped around the constant change of our husband’s career that we forget to take care of ourselves.

  • Education of their children

Our children face so many obstacles as military brats, but a huge challenge is the moving from one school to another. Not only are they faced with making new friends (being the new kid is never fun), but they are faced with different standards and expectations at each new school. So many times I have seen children who are either completely bored or struggling to play catch up because their old school did things different.

  • Educational and career opportunities afforded spouses

“I don’t want to hire her because she won’t be here long” or “she will request too much time off because her husband will always be gone.” You name it and I’m sure a spouse has encountered it when it comes to finding work. Of course it is illegal for an organization to not hire us based on these discriminatory beliefs, but it happens all too often. Not to mention the low pay we often receive in military cities.

  • Availability and quality of child care within the armed services

As a parent, there is nothing more scary and stressful than trusting another person with the care of your children. Saying goodbye to friends is always hard, but I was completely devastated when my babysitter PCSed. I loved her and always knew my children were safe.

The article also discussed how the government will be launching nearly 50 initiatives; some of which are, wiping out homelessness among veterans, suicide prevention, protecting military families from predatory lending and other harmful consumer practices, and using national parks to help wounded warriors recover and create summer jobs for young people from military families.

All in all, these ideas sound great! However, just as I am cautious about getting my hopes up on a return and reunion date, my gut is telling me to be cautious of getting my hopes up too quick for these changes. I really do hope Americans can learn what our life is like and understand the struggles we face, but it will take more than a newspaper article. Hopefully a woman’s perspective can guide Michelle Obama on her quest to help support us!

*Skiba, K. (2011, January 25). Obama: Military families need support. The Fayetteville Observer, pp. 5A.

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