Five Ways to Celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day {and an iPad Mini Giveaway!}

five ways to celebrate military spouse appreciation day

I took this at the boat homecoming I attended last fall – Homecomings are magical days for milspouses.

While our 10th wedding anniversary isn’t until August, E and I broke the decade mark on our relationship last year. He’s been in the Navy the entire time I’ve known him. That’s 10 years of planning everything from vacations to oil changes to babies around someone else’s not-s0-flexible schedule.

I planned our wedding from the East Coast while he was deployed in the Pacific. We moved one week after the wedding to a city I had never seen. If you check the mortgage documents for our current house, you’ll only find my signature – a change in his boat’s schedule meant he was at sea we when bought it and I did the whole thing with a power of attorney. Right at this very moment, E is supposed to be gone (he is not). He was also supposed to be gone for Christmas (he was not). And we planned this next baby’s birth to fall in the “safe” summer window, where he was supposed to be done with sea trials (nope) and home (it is looking more and more likely he will be gone).

But I’m not thinking too much about that right now, because it could change again in the next breath. If there was one word to describe what it takes to be a military spouse – without giving yourself an ulcer – that word would be FLEXIBLE.

May 9th, 2014 has been officially designated as Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Since I’ve been a milspouse for 10 years now – and part of a military family my entire life – it’s nice to know we get a specific day to be appreciated. At any given time only 1% of Americans are serving in the military so you might not have a lot of military spouses in your life or social circle. (That seems crazy to me, since it’s always been such a HUGE part of my world, but I am the exception not the norm.) If you do know a milspouse, here are 5 ways to celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Although you could start with a hug and a “thank you for your sacrifice”. That always makes me cry.

1. Watch the kids. Or the dog. Or volunteer to water the plants. Whatever thing she (or he) is responsible for, take it off their hands for a few hours. There’s a lot of life-juggling involved in being a milspouse and having just ONE less ball in the air can make a huge difference. Plus during deployments or separations there’s one grown up managing 2+ lives, so a couple of hours to get a haircut or visit the dentist can be a total sanity-saver. (While we were engaged, I got a call from E’s San Diego apartment complex saying his rent check hadn’t gone through and they were going to pack up his stuff and evict him. He was unreachable under the ocean. While I was trying to straighten it all out it would have been AWESOME to have someone come and feed my cat so I could focus. For real, one of the most stressful weeks of my life.)

2. Provide a meal. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be healthy. When E is gone we eat more fast food or hummus-for-dinner meals than I like to admit. But just like doing some free babysitting, feeding someone is the ultimate in kindness and one less thing they have to worry about.

3. Take care of some yard work. In the winter you can shovel their walk, in the summer you can mow the lawn. I assure you that it’s not a matter of “poor milspouse doesn’t even know how to start the lawn mower” but a case of “do I dare leave the kids in the house alone for 45 minutes while I do the yard work or will I find them swinging from the ceiling fan again?”

4. Learn about organizations that provide support. There’s a great website called Military OneSource that provides everything from legal and tax advice to confidential crisis counseling. For members of the Navy or Marine Corps, the Relief Society can provide emergency loans or financial support (would you believe I didn’t even know they existed until a few weeks ago?). The Army has a version too. Check out Joining Forces and the USO to learn about volunteer opportunities and ways you can help. If you know a military family that is struggling, having a website or phone number to access real, tangible help can be the lifeline they need.

5. Listen to them. Some days I just really, really need to complain about all the ways military life makes me crazy. I am very lucky to have plenty of people in my life to go to when I need to vent without having to start with a ton of qualifiers. There are a million ways my life could be worse, a billion ways we are very blessed, a zillion things that could go wrong and we could experience real tragedy. But dammit, some days I just want to whine about how I’m supposed to be going out of town NEXT WEEKEND and E’s job STILL can’t tell him whether or not he can have the days off to watch the kids. Or the whole maybe-giving-birth-while-he’s-on-a-submarine thing. Which I am still not thinking about. Nope, not thinking.

You know what else makes me feel appreciated? Presents. Who doesn’t like presents? To celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day, AT&T has very generously given me two gift bags – one to keep and one to give away to a reader. It has a hat, a t-shirt and -oh yeah!- an iPad mini! To enter, just use the Rafflecopter widget below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

AT&T reached out because they wanted to do something nice for me and my readers as a #milspouse blogger. You can learn more about what AT&T does to support our troops and their families here. No monetary compensation was provided for my participation. I have the iPad mini for the giveaway in my possession RIGHT NOW and will send it to the randomly drawn winner.  

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65 Responses to “Five Ways to Celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day {and an iPad Mini Giveaway!}”

  1. Amanda says:

    plan all babies, all vacations, all dentist appointments and everything else important around duty days, sea duty and every other military function is exhausting! I thought this shore duty would be a piece of cake but it never is! I will cook you dinner Suzanne… or cookies. Same thing.

  2. Raincheckmom says:

    When our neighbor’s husband was deployed I would stop by the house on my way to the commissary and offer to pick up a few groceries for the family. She would write up a quick list and reimburse me when I delivered them. It was so easy to do and she was so grateful to be saved a trip!

  3. Amanda says:

    USAF wife of 12 years now. My husband is currently on his fourth deployment in the last 4.5 years. It’s not hard; you just get used to it.

    I’ve learned to force my fellow military spouses to get out of the house when they’re gone. It’s so easy to turn into a hermit and stay home with the kid(s). We support each other.

    And most of all, fight the urge to smack people who say, “I don’t know how you do it.” It’s our lives, that’s all.

  4. sarah says:

    All the milspouses I know are through Stroller Strides – it’s impressive to see how much they all handle with grace! I’d love to bring you dinner when the baby arrives (or sooner, or course)!

  5. barbra says:

    My best real life friend is a military spouse with two kids under two (the youngest is two months old). She is one of the most capable people I know. I love her to pieces. Will need to acknowledge her, thanks for publicizing military spouse appreciation day.

  6. Kim C. says:

    You are an awesome mom, Suzanne! And I great writer! I love reading your blog! My kids are the same age as your kids, and I can’t imagine how you manage on your own so much – thank you for your sacrifice.

  7. Despite all the obligations and surprise last minute TDYs, I still love being part of the military community by being a spouse.

  8. Fionnuala Darby-Hudgens says:

    My dear friend, Sherry is an amazing military spouse. She does it all with a smile, and a “pull your big girl panties on” attitude. She has moved across country with her two children, by herself, and secures all of the services required for her special needs son. She is a true hero.

  9. Michelle says:

    I can’t even imagine it. Seriously. Also, I’d probably literally pee myself if I won!

  10. Jennie says:

    Best job in the military!

  11. stephanie says:

    This week I have had Diana on my mind. Her husband just left for 6 weeks and she has a lot of things coming up in the next month. I wish I could just take the next flight out to TX……

  12. Erin says:

    They should start a mowing lawns for milspouses charity. That makes way more sense then some of them. I’ve never really been a milspouse. So I will have to support you instead :) Feel free to drop your kids off at my house next weekend!

    • bebehblog says:

      Ummm…I’m pretty sure you count as a military spouse. Being active duty at the same time as your husband is harder by at least 200%!

  13. Liz says:

    The only ones I know are you and Jen, I think (at – I didn’t know it required so much planning!

    PS I like the new site design, also! :)

  14. Kristi says:

    I think the being a military wife is selfless. When I think about always being and working on someone else’s schedule I think that is incredible. I couldn’t do it so kudos to you!

  15. Bonnie says:

    Great tips! Congrats on you and Evan for 10 years!

  16. Seema says:

    Suzanne-you are a SUPERSTAR! I can’t get over how energetic and happy you always are~I have met a few milspouses ,you’re my fave though ;) I would love to make you a meal!!

  17. Christa says:

    So my computer ate my last comment which was super long :P Happy Mil Spouse Appreciation Day!

  18. Leah says:

    My sister is a milspouse, the only one in our whole extended family, which is why I wasn’t put out by the fact that she needed me to fly while 8+ months pregnant to attend her rush wedding before her guy was deployed to Afghanistan for nine months. Their three year anniversary was yesterday and I am still thankful I didn’t have Wren on the plane.

  19. Cheri says:

    I have loved and hated every minute of this life style! The good times are wonderful, but the gone times are terrible! I too planned my wedding with hubby out to sea someplace, and probably wouldn’t change it if I could! (Then he would have gotten and opinion!!!)

  20. Ashley says:

    I have so much respect for you and other military spouses. Thank you for all that you and your husband do for our country.

  21. Amy says:

    Though it’s been a long time since my brother-in-law was out to sea, I remember the times my sister used to be very lonely and just need someone to talk to. I’d send her flowers or tiny “care packages” every so often, just to cheer her up. It was never anything expensive, but just a little surprise to brighten her day!

  22. Kristie says:

    Military girlfriend through first Iraq tour, military wife through the second. Thankfully he got out after that!

  23. hali says:

    I too am a navy wife and former army brat. The military lifestyle is all I’ve known, but being a wife has been so eye opening to the other side of this lifestyle. Great suggestions on how to help a military spouse.

  24. Amy says:

    Except for two acquaintances from high school, I only know military spouses on the internet. I’m glad you guys are getting a day!

  25. Debbie says:

    I think you are an amazing military wife! Love reading about your adventures.

  26. Sheree says:

    Although I’m not a military spouse, I am a single mom (so I know how a simple trip to the store without children can be like a vacation) and I know a ton of military wives. These are all great suggestions to do our part to make life a little easier.

  27. Katrina says:

    I have so much respect and appreciation for military families! Many of my family members and friends are or were in the military. A life of sacrifice in so many ways…Thank You!

  28. Julie S. says:

    My dad was in the Air Force when my parents met and got married, and I remember hearing about how trying that time was for them. I have a lot of respect for military families, it’s such a sacrifice!

  29. Taylor Allen says:

    I’m not one, but my friend Chelsea is. Her husband is a Marine and has been gone for most of this 2 year marriage. It’s been rough for them, but she understands and respects what he is doing.

  30. nicole dz says:

    My best friend is a military spouse. She is so dedicated, honest, patient, and always shines through anything gracefully. She has two kids and is a wonderful mom and wife. Glad to have a day to honor them!

  31. Devi says:

    My MIL was a military spouse (FIL passed away a couple years ago) and the one thing she does now is talk to women who are alone while their husbands are serving. She watches their kids so they can go out for an evening, remembers birthdays and special days and does whatever she can to remind them that their sacrifice is appreciated. Yours are too. God bless.

  32. Mariaelena says:

    I think it’s good to help them with the kids every once in a while so they go get a pedi, massage or even just grocery shopping by themselves so they can get a little break from them while the husband is away. I have a friend who is a military spouse.

  33. Linda says:

    I have a lot of respect for the military spouses that I know – they are all so brave and strong and I am in awe of how amazing they are as Mothers and as wives each and every day.

  34. Tempestt says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have so much respect for you and other military spouses.

  35. Erika says:

    Life as a milspouse is busy. We just said goodbye to my husband for more training, and that means taking care of the kids here while he’s gone. It’s very challenging sometimes.

  36. livivua says:

    they are always supportive

  37. Leidy says:

    I have a friend who is a milspouse. I admire her strength and faith. She is always encouraging others and doing her best for her family. She is a very amazing girl!

  38. Kimberly says:

    I’m using you because you are the most kick ass milspouse I know & I’m tired just thinking about all the planning. I don’t even want to plan what I’m packing for lunch tomorrow.

  39. Lisa Brown says:

    I know one miltary spouse, wife and soon to be mother. We help out when ever we can, and will step up more, once the baby arrives in November.

  40. ellen casper says:

    My nieces husband is a military spouse – I help out with their kids every week to give him a break.

  41. Elle says:

    I have a lot of respect for the military spouses that I know. They do so much for their families and are such strong, amazing women who love fiercely and who take on so much but do it without complaining. It’s amazing.

  42. steven weber says:

    I have a good friend that’s a military spouse, he is so strong and has all the patience in the world. He never knows what country she is going to be sent to next.. I don’t know how he does it, I couldn’t.

  43. Cassandra Eastman says:

    I know several military spouses, I can’t imagine how hard it must be. They are all very strong women and amazing mother’s!

  44. tammy shelton says:

    I have friends who have been in the reserves. The gift of time is always good and being there to listen.

  45. Terry Maigi says:

    My best friend is a military spouse! This chick is AMAZING! They have lived all over the U.S. and Europe! They are currently in North Carolina and just welcomed their first little one into the world!

  46. Betsy says:

    As a fellow milspouse, I know what you’re going through…well, almost…we didn’t have kids during his multiple deployments in the first 4 years of our marriage. We waited until his shore duty rotation. But the whole “buy a house in a city I’ve never seen, and no one I knew lived there”…yup, been there! I give you extra special kudos for doing the parent thing solo during deployments. My whole married life has revolved around the Navy, and our plans always fly out the window, because “everything’s subject to change”. It’s a motto we live by!

  47. Rust says:

    I have a good friend who is a military wife and she is one of the toughest, most resilient women I know. She steps up and takes care of it all with grace and determination.

  48. Jessie C. says:

    You are one that I know. Thank you for all your sacrifice!

  49. Elena says:

    My aunt is a military spouse. I have so much respect for her

  50. Crimson says:

    I have a good friend who is a military spouse and she’s just amazing. I watch her kids at least once every couple weeks for a few hours so that she can have some time to herself to run errands smoothly. I do whatever I can.

  51. Samantha says:

    Life as a military spouse is always chaotic and crazy but I love it, I am so proud to be able to stand by my husband who at the moment is deployed. The hardest part for me is seeing my kids go through the deployments, 3 of mine are fine and cope well enough…but my only boy misses his dad terribly and this deployment really took a toll on him. I’m glad there’s only a few months left and they can be together again. To me that’s the hardest part.

  52. Tabathia B says:

    They are always ensuring that they can do all that they can to support other military spouses emotionally

  53. Madonna says:

    a lot of my uncles were military so I spent a lot of time visiting on bases with family. I know the constant moving and being so far from home was hard on our family members.

  54. courtney b says:

    i have a good friend married to a man in the military and i’m always there for her for support since he’s hardly home and she has many kids!

  55. Kenya F says:

    My girlfriend is military wife and she holds everything down in the household. I know that not having her hubs around is hard but she handles it like a pro.

  56. Green B. says:

    I have one friend who is a military wife and she takes on so much everyday. I always try to be there for her and be the best friend that I can be.

  57. Danielle says:

    A friend of mine from college married a man in the military and now has a child as well. She is such a strong, amazing woman who I am proud to know.

  58. Linda says:

    I know and have known a few military spouses over the years (male and female) and I respect them completely and have always felt like I wanted to do more for them in regards to helping out.

  59. meredith says:

    Im a military spouse – and ive had my far share of time alone, military moves and anxiety about PCSing – but its so worth it since i love my military man!

  60. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    I’ve known a couple of military spouses and all that they go through and sacrifice. Some of my favorite pictures on the web are military families being reunited.

  61. Erika W. says:

    I was a milspouse for 3 years when my husband was in the military. We did 3 deployments in those 3 years. I really enjoyed the time in the military though it could be stressful at times. My sister-in-law is now a milspouse and they’re going on their 2nd deployment in 2 years. We just all try to stick together!

  62. ellen beck says:

    My Mom was a military spouse! She was also in the military herself until she got pregnant with me. She was Army and Dad was Navy. It wasnt always easy but it was interesting and exciting to see new places.

  63. Cynthia says:

    USAF wife for 3 years. We have pcs’d twice and had a deployment right after 3rd child was born. Considering going tdy with him for 3 months this summer so we don’t have to be apart again. Lots of hurry up and waiting But love my man!

  64. Thomas Murphy says:

    My sister is a Military Spouse and its very hard on her. I try to help as much as possible.

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