A few years ago when we were still stationed on the East Coast, my husband was gone for several months at a military school. Right before he left, I quit my job as a nurse to be a full-time stay-at-home mom to our 6 month old son. I didn’t know it yet, but I was about to turn into a lonely military wife.
It was an odd feeling at the time. To be honest, it felt a little bit like an island. Most of my friends PCS’d out of the area, my family all lived over a thousand miles away in the Midwest, and now my husband was gone. And now I had this baby to take care of.
I had no idea what I was doing.
I was on this metaphorical island. Just floating around aimlessly, hoping to find my way.
To stay busy, I joined a mom group in my area. I worked to make new friendships. I regularly called faraway friends and family to stay connected. I even made a trip back to the Midwest to visit loved ones and pass the time.
But as the weeks rolled by, I started to get that lonely feeling in the pit of my stomach.
I often think of myself back then and what it meant to be a new mom, a new military wife and separated from my husband. I think about things that really helped keep my spirits up and make life fun and enjoyable.
I also think about how I never asked for help. I didn’t ask because it wasn’t like the house was burning down. I didn’t feel like I was drowning in military life, desperately waiting for my next gasp for air.
I didn’t feel bad. Just a little bit lonely. Yet, I didn’t ask for help.
Do you know why?
Because most spouses don’t ask for help until things get really bad. I mean, really bad.
So whether you are a military spouse or civilian spouse, there are ways we can all help each other out from time to time. You don’t have to wait until a military spouse hits rock bottom to help her out. Little things make a huge difference.
How to help a military spouse.
Bring her a meal.
A little act of kindness can make a huge impact on a military spouse’s day. Plus, bringing a meal is relatively easy to do. It especially helpful during deployment, TDY and other separations because most spouses don’t feel much like cooking during this time.
Pick up the phone.
This is one of the biggest things I noticed after moving away. The disconnect starts and it grows deeper with each passing year. This is not intentional. It simply happens.
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and give a call. We’d love to hear from you and catch up!
Send a care package.
In the same way you send a care package to a college student or service member or friend, you can send a care package to a military spouse. It could contain a favorite book, coffee, relaxing bath salts, or anything you’d think she’d enjoy.
Write a letter.
It’s so fun to get a letter in the mail from someone you care about. Grab your favorite stationary and send her a funny story from her day. I guarantee it will brighten her day.
Offer to babysit the kids.
This is HUGE. If you live nearby a military spouse with kids, she would probably love you forever if you watched the kids for a few hours. When service members are gone, it can be hard for spouses to get important things done. Taxes, grocery shopping, or taking the car for an oil change are just a few examples.
Help with a home project.
If you see a home project that might require assistance, offer to pitch in. Maybe she needs to paint a bedroom or organize her garage. Maybe she needs to hang some pictures on the wall or landscape the yard. I’m sure she would appreciate any amount of help to make the project go a bit faster.
Invite her to dinner.
Having a friend spontaneously invite you over for dinner can really make a military spouse’s day. This is so helpful because instead of cooking an entire meal, she can bring a contribution to the meal. Less work and likely less waste. Second, she gets to spend her meal with good company. Having another adult to talk to is so helpful.
I quit feeling lonely.
After several weeks of participating in events run by my mom group, I started building friendships with a few of the moms. They were in similar situations with husbands away, and it helped us connect and rely on each other.
My best friend from college sent me a care package. My dad came down for a week-long visit. And I started having weekly dinners with a local friend.
I’m so grateful for all the small ways friends and family helped me stay positive. It made a huge difference.
Because nobody wants to be a lonely military wife.
Want more on military life?
- 25 Genius Life Hacks for Military Spouses
- Military Spouse Jobs That Work for You, Not Against You
- I’m Terrible at Being a Military Spouse
- 9 Reasons Why It’s Okay When He Deploys