This post is sponsored by T-Mobile.
Military Spouse Appreciation day is today, Friday, May 10th. Many new military spouses might raise a brow to hear that there is an entire day dedicated to thanking military spouses. Seasoned military spouses might think that they don’t need a special day to be celebrated, especially compared to the efforts and sacrifices our service members make every day. But alas, Military Spouse Appreciation Day is real and here’s why.
5 Reasons Why Military Spouse Appreciation Day is a Real Thing
We take care of…everything.
When our spouses are deployed, TAD, TDY, or even sometimes when they are home and have a crazy billet with long, exhausting hours, the majority of the regular “life” duties fall on our hands. We take care of all.the.things that, for most civilian families, can be separated by a (somewhat) equal division of labor. But for military spouses, we often have to handle these regular daily life things on our own and over time it can begin to feel overwhelming and exhausting. We do everything, included but not limited to:
- Doctors appointments
- Sick kids
- Car repairs
- Home repairs
- Lawn maintenance
- Garbage days
- All meals (even the ones that include cereal for all three in one day- we don’t judge)
- After-school schedules (dance moms and baseball moms- our hats are tipped to you)
- Emotional support
- ER trips with all the kids
- Broken bones, fevers, stomach bugs, Pink Eye, bronchitis, pneumonia
We put on a brave face, even when it’s the hardest thing in the world.
One of the hardest parts about being a military spouse actually has nothing to do with us. It has to do with our kids. We watch them feel big feelings because daddy is gone again. We hold them as they cry because they miss mommy. Our hearts break as we see their heads drop and shoulders sink as they watch their best friend’s moving truck pull away. We want to cry and scream when we see those white buses pull away but instead we smile at the little ones looking up at us, ask who wants ice cream, and go home to make deployment walls, kiss jars, and say way too many times that, “Daddy will be home soon.”
We love fiercely, protect fully, and dedicate our lives to our community.
One of the best things about being a military spouse has everything to do with us. The community of military spouses is what can best be compared to the “village mentality” that is often described by generations past. Since military spouses move away from any sort of village they may have had in their hometown (and continue to move away from every subsequent village we create along the way) we learn to create it wherever we go. And with this comes a fast and deep connection with those around us.
Military spouses are givers. We volunteer our time. We provide our talents. We feed neighborhood children that play at our house. We help perfect strangers by watching their two kids while they take their third to the ER. We make meals for neighbors or someone in the unit who we don’t know who just had a baby. We watch other people’s kids when we don’t even know their last name, and we ask others to do the same for us. We get phone numbers of someone we met 2 days ago because someone has to be put down as the emergency contact for your child’s school and your new neighbor looks friendly enough.
With this effort to volunteer our time, money, resources, and abilities to our neighbors, unit, and community comes a fierce protection of one another. We help each other when we need it, even if we didn’t ask and they didn’t offer. We watch your kid for a few hours because we have experienced that 3rd-month-of-deployment dip and we can see you are going through it, too. We see your soldier’s short hair cut when he’s at the side of the road with a flat, and we stop to help. We might just be the military spouse but the sense of “brotherhood” that is felt by our service members is felt by us, too. And with this new-found family comes the desire to serve, protect, and love one another simply because we are living the same lifestyle.
Whether we like it or not, we are part of their job.
There is not a single other profession where a family’s life is so intertwined into the profession of one of the head of household. Every single thing we do is a reflection on our service member:
- Headed to the commissary? Better change before leaving the gym because you can’t wear workout clothes to pick up milk and diapers
- Going through a rough patch with your spouse? His superior might counsel him on it
- Got a ticket on base? You’re probably on the PMO/MP blotter
- Dog not registered on base? You will be forced to do it if her command finds out
- Having housing issues? Your CO might show up at your door
In addition to having a unique set of rules to follow, most military spouses understand that we play second fiddle to the needs of the military. When that Crackberry goes off during your Thanksgiving dinner, he’s going to get up and answer it. When her orders change and now you have to reschedule your wedding- again- it makes you wonder if you should just elope. When he comes home and tells you that he will be in the field for three weeks, you shrug your shoulders. When you get orders to a new place, even if that place was number 17 on your list, you pack up your entire family and go.
It’s what you do. It’s what we understand we have to do. Because we are military spouses and that’s what this life requires.
We make sacrifices, too.
Maybe our sacrifices don’t compare to that of our spouses, but we still make sacrifices. We sacrifice our time. We sacrifice our comfort zones. We force ourselves to make the best of a situation because that’s really all we can do.
One of the biggest sacrifices military spouses make is with their career. We often leave our careers behind because of the nomadic lifestyle of the military. Licensure is hard to keep up with when you move state-to-state. Applying for countless jobs every few years, only to start at the bottom rung each time, is exhausting. The unemployment rate for spouses of active-duty military is at least 4x the national average. And many military spouses who are employed have jobs that don’t match their higher skill, education or prior salary levels. Luckily for military spouses, there are companies out there that understand the sacrifices and the skillsets that military spouses possess, and that provide jobs that fit with our unique lifestyle.
T-Mobile provides job relocation opportunities for military spouses in their physical stores, as well as provides career programs, employee networks, and hiring commitments for both veterans and military spouses. In fact, they are continuing on their commitment to hire 10,000 veterans and their spouses by 2023. The widely popular T-Mobile ONE plan also provides military families with the best rates for cellphone coverage, which helps to keep us connected with our service members and our families from whom we had to move away. The T-Mobile ONE Military plan provides:
- The best discount in wireless for military, veterans, and their families:
- It’s 20% off the first line and Half Off up to five additional voice lines. The first line is $55 with AutoPay and taxes and fees included – normally $70. And it’s Half Off after that, up to six lines – just $25 for the second line and $10 per line for the third through sixth lines with AutoPay. This means, a family of 4 will get 4 lines of T-Mobile ONE Military, for $100 a month, with AutoPay and taxes and fees included.
- T-Mobile ONE Military includes everything in T-Mobile ONE at no extra cost including unlimited talk, text and data, taxes and fees included, free stuff and discounts every week with T-Mobile Tuesdays, the industry’s best travel benefits including a free hour of Gogo inflight wi-fi when traveling domestically and unlimited texting and data in over 210+ global destinations.
- T-Mobile ONE Military is available at T-Mobile stores nationwide – and on bases – for military and their families, including active duty military, Reserve, National Guard, veterans, and Gold Star families, plus the small businesses they own up to 12 voice lines.
T-Mobile has long been recognized as a leader in military support, and companies like them help to make those sacrifices just a little bit easier to bear.
Being a military spouse is hard. We give. We love. We sacrifice. Any many of us do it expecting no thank you whatsoever. Because to us, this is life. This is the life we choose, the life we learned to love, and the life we will continue to support as long as it makes our family happy. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want a quick, “Hey, you’re pretty awesome” every once in awhile (wink, wink). So when you see a fellow military spouse this week, remind them of how they are totally and completely amazing. After all, you should know- since you are, too.
LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT GIFT TO SAY THANKS TO A FELLOW MILITARY SPOUSE?
Check out our 16 Amazing Gift Ideas for Military Spouse Appreciation Day
Photo credits: Marisa McDonald Photography