I consider myself a very lucky military spouse. My husband and I have the best of both worlds surrounded by an incredible civilian community, but also the love and support of our military family. We are an Army National Guard family, and while this is just one of the many reasons why we are lucky, it can also be difficult to transition from one lifestyle to another. We have the constant feeling as if you don’t really belong fully to one life, and being a part of both lives simultaneously for 12 years, you sometimes just have that need to belong to only one.
It isn’t any secret that I spend my days advocating and helping other National Guard families such as myself through the many challenges we incur, such as;
- Having little to no resources specific to our family unit.
- Living off and far away from military installations and other military families.
- Learning how to quickly switch between the civilian/military mode when spouses are whisked away for training or deployments.
- When spouses leave, many take a huge pay cut from their civilian jobs, leaving families in a financial burden.
- Stress on the family unit, especially the children. Guard kids have to learn to be both civilian and military kids, which can be exhausting and very stressful on them.
- A huge disconnect between the military and family level – lacking programs and funding at the state level.
These are just a very small amount of the current challenges of a National Guard family. Can you imagine if there were something we could do to help our voice be heard?
Well, there is.
I have been running the Homefront United Network for 7 years and I can honestly say that it hasn’t been easy gathering information from spouses. Many feel as if their voice won’t matter, or that it just won’t make a difference. IT DOES! In these 12 years of being a National Guard family, we have been making progress, much progress. There is always something that we can do, but we can’t do it alone, we need your voice.
If you aren’t familiar with Blue Star Families, they are a non-profit organization built by military spouses. Each year they conduct an annual survey about the quality of life for military families. Without the participation of military families, there really can’t be an accurate reporting.
The Blue Star Families Lifestyle survey is thorough, collects valuable feedback, and acts as a voice for the military community. As a National Guard family member, you are contributing your voice to this important research, which is necessary to make changes in our military family community. And there can’t be any change if you don’t stand up and say something! The survey is completely anonymous and only takes minutes to complete.
If you are a National Guard family member, I encourage you to take this survey. This will be a vital step in helping future military families. Let’s do this together.
Join the HUN and Blue Star Families tonight for a Facebook Live event discussing the National Guard and Reserve issues that are most important to you. We will be live from the Blue Star Families Facebook page – be sure to go there for the live feed.
With the help of Blue Star Families, we will focus on how the BSF Lifestyle Survey can help Guard and Reserve spouses have their voice heard.