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2013 MOAA Military Spouse Symposium: The Scoop From Macho Spouse

Chris Pape at MOAA Spouse Symposium2013 MOAA Military Spouse Symposium: The Scoop From Macho Spouse was originaly written for MOAA Spouse Blog: Making it in the MilLife.

When I was asked to participate during this year's MOAA Spouse Symposium, I couldn't refuse. Sure I am insanely busy with work and my travel budget didn't include a 2900 mile trip to Tacoma, but these were the popular kids calling.

I felt like I was in elementary school all over again and the jocks just asked me to play football at recess, no way I would miss this opportunity. (Side note: The jocks did ask me to play football with them in elementary school where I torched Braden Kelly, the most popular kid in school, for an 80 yard touchdown run that day. Great memory.)

Not only would this event be great exposure for Macho Spouse, but it would help give male military spouses some “street cred” while hanging with a great organization at a visible event.

1289 Views | 39 Likes


Posted in Blog



image for Drink, Drank, Drunk: Wading Though Military Life

Drink, Drank, Drunk: Wading Though Military Life

Daddy-Ian-Beer.jpgThe author, Chris Field, demonstrating some "top-shelf" parenting while at Epcot's Biergarten.

 

There seems to be a common thread running through military sociability: booze. It's the thread that allows you to tie one on just about anytime. It's everywhere. At the Exchange, at the local Class Six…hell, you might even score some free booze from those distributors hosting tasting events throughout the year. Play your cards right, and you could be half in the bag before the sun even goes down.
When I first drive through the gates, there's always the sign telling me how many days it's been since the last alcohol related incident on post. And when that sign 'resets' back to 1, I'm always tempted to check it out: “Uh oh, what did (one of a handful of likely suspects) do now?” Thankfully, I've never triggered it myself. Yet.

2762 Views | 112 Likes


Posted in Blog



SAHD Life: Are You a Sad-At-Holidays-Dad? - Anxiety, Depression, Loneliness

When I was a boy, I loved the holidays. I had great anticipation and excitement during Christmas. I loved being with family and friends during Thanksgiving. Food, football (Washington Redskins forever!) and fellowship are what I looked forward to the most.

But then something happened. I didn't know exactly when, but I was definitely a grown-up at the time when I started dreading the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas became the worst times of the year for me. The things I loved about these holidays and anticipated as a boy, I hated as a man and a father.

At first, I didn't think anything was wrong. I just thought that I outgrew the hype and hooplah of the holidays. But I was wrong.I was diagnosed with clinical depression. Each year, the holiday season, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, triggered my anxiety, depression and loneliness.

The worst part for me was not recognizing the negative impact all of this was having on my family.I was a "Sad-At-Holidays-Dad" for the first five years of my daughter's life.

Keywords: SAHD, male military spouse, depression, anxiety, loneliness, stress, holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, grief
Posted in Blog



image for SAHD Life: Sad-At-Holidays-Dad - Anxiety, Depression, Loneliness

SAHD Life: Sad-At-Holidays-Dad - Anxiety, Depression, Loneliness

Holiday Depression"SAHD Life" is a blog segment by male military spouse and stay-at-home-dad, Taurus James - husband for 15 years, father for 7 years, SAHD for 2 years. In this post, Taurus takes a look back at his personal struggles with anxiety, depression and lonliness during the holidays and encourages others to seek help.

When I was a boy, I loved the holidays. I had great anticipation and excitement during Christmas. I loved being with family and friends during Thanksgiving. Food, football (Washington Redskins forever!) and fellowship are what I looked forward to the most.

But then something happened. I didn't know exactly when, but I was definitely a grown-up at the time when I started dreading the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas became the worst times of the year for me. The things I loved about these holidays and anticipated as a boy, I hated as a man and a father.

4386 Views | 71 Likes





image for 25 Reasons Why an Infant is Like a Deployment

25 Reasons Why an Infant is Like a Deployment

ChrisFields.jpgTom Cruise took a great deal of heat a number of months back for suggesting that wrapping his film Oblivion was like returning from Afghanistan. And oh, did the howling begin in earnest. And while I know that he was trying to suggest that filming an action epic was physically demanding and mentally taxing, you just knew he picked the wrong metaphor to characterize his challenges.

(This is NOT Tom Cruise)


But there are at least one or two Cruise movies that you've enjoyed over the years, so you let it slide just this once, because you know it will never happen again. I ask that same level of charity and indulgence here…

 

1581 Views | 71 Likes





image for The Busy Life of an Army Family

The Busy Life of an Army Family

TimBlog.jpgThe last several weeks have been non stop for our family.  There have been trips, sports events, family visits, etc. It seems like there is a never ending stream of things to do and places to be.  I find it hard to imagine a stretch of more than a few days where we have nothing planned. Take this week, for example.  Yesterday, my oldest had a football game, while at the same time our battalion (for which I play) was in the championships of the base racquetball league. Somehow, my wife and I managed to cover down on both, all the while dragging three other kids along for the ride.  Tonight is not much different. The battalion has its Halloween party while my oldest is again at a football event (this time playing in the band). Add to that our martial arts class (which I teach).  I can envision my head hitting the pillow tonight and my eyes closing quickly afterwards.  And this isn't the last of it this week.  Friday night there is a school Fall Festival while one of the kids has to be out of town at a different school event.  At least the price of gas is going down...

For the rest of the story, visit Tim's blog at: http://armyspouseami.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-busy-life-of-army-family.html

 

About the Author:  Tim currently lives in San Angelo, TX and is a stay at home dad raising four beautiful children.  He is the proud spouse of an Army Lieutenant Colonel who does his best to keep up with the kids and all of their activities.  He enjoys playing the bass and the occasional bass guitar building project. You can follow him on twitter if you so desire...@ArmySpouse007.

1313 Views | 118 Likes





image for What is No Shave Movember?

What is No Shave Movember?

I learned about Movember from John Aldrich, AVP, Military Relations at American Military University via his post Get In The Game

Movember, the grass roots movement to raise awareness about men's health issues is nearly complete, and for those of you who are growing a mustache to show support for the cause, I salute you. For those who didn't participate or weren't aware of Movember, there is always next November.

After checking out what it was about, I started last November 2016 and continued without shaving (or cutting my hair) up until September 2017.

Since then, I have gained a better understanding of the movement and become more intentional about  my health, fitness and wellness.

385 Views


Posted in Health



image for 2015

2015 'Thank You' and Year In Review

malemilitaryspouse_2015_YIRIt's the holiday season and to me that means spending time with family and friends while reflecting on the year that was. How many had a good year? How many of you feel as if you've accomplished, overcome, loved and laughed as much as possible? There have been a few bad years in my life where I just wanted the damn thing to finish so I could start fresh with a clean slate, it's a mindset, but we all know that reality doesn't work that way. I usually judge my life in a similar way as to how we judge football coaches, “what have you done for me lately.” My year was a good one, a net-positive. So congratulations, you get “happy Chris,” or at least “less grumpy and sarcastic Chris.”

The tremendous amount of progress within the male military spouse community is one reason why 2015 was a good year. Guys, we're finally starting to get some recognition. People, businesses, and other organizations are starting to approach us and ask for our input, insight, and yes, our business. Marketers are finally recognizing that we are a demographic worth pursuing; just check out this holiday spot from Toys R Us. (I just bought 4 gift cards for my nieces from them because of this commercial.)

In 2015, Macho Spouse was approached by the Sonoran Desert Institute's School of Firearms Technology to hold the first ever “Male Military Spouse Appreciation Day” where SDI donated a full-tuition scholarship to their popular Gunsmithing certificate course. (Male military spouses are a large demographic for them.) USAA asked for our participation to help raise awareness on the importance of life insurance during “Life Insurance Awareness Month.” Yeah, I didn't know that month existed before this opportunity either, but USAA sure knows that we exist! And Marriott really knocked us off our feet when they offered several nights worth of hotel stays in return for a few reviews on their TownePlace Suites properties. TownePlace Suites made it very clear that they are interested in helping military families who are on the road, from PCSing to family vacations, TownePlace Suites wants our business!  And it's not like this is some shabby hotel chain guys, their rooms are usually very spacious, clean, come with fully equiped kitchens, and hot breakfasts.  I was surprised to learn how many were actuallyl located near military installations, which makes them a great temporary housing option, or vacation get-a-way. In full disclosure, I dispersed their generous offering quietly among those guys who have helped keep Macho Spouse up and running over the last few years. We don't make any money here, so when a top-notch organization such as Marriott offers us some swag, I like to spread it out amongst our volunteers first. If you want access to some of this cool stuff, contact me and be prepared to help build our community. But while I'm speaking of TownePlace Suites, you guys should check them out because they're really showing their appreciation and commitment to our military community! That goes for USAA and Sonoran Desert Institute as well, these organizations aren't just talking about supporting male military spouses, they're actually doing it. So let's not forget to return this generosity in 2016.

While I'm patting others on the back, I can't forget the amazing content NextGen Military Spouse, Military.com/SpouseBuzz, and Military Spouse delivered on behalf of male military spouses in 2015. When I started Macho Spouse in late 2011/early 2012, there was nearly nothing…nothing, written for or about us male military spouses. No blogs, no websites, no Facebook pages, no nothing. Now look at us, male spouses are popping up everywhere! (We've probably had absolutely nothing to do with this trend, but I will take full credit.) So despite terrorism, politics, war, and racial unrest, life hasn't been all bad this year. It's been good enough for me to crack a cold one, light a cigar, sit back and reflect on how far we've come and how many goals are still left to accomplish. Don't worry, I won't be consuming and driving while reflecting, Dana and I have already booked our New Year's Eve room at the San Antonio Riverwalk TownePlace Suites. Happy 2015 everyone, have a safe holiday season!

1015 Views | 10 Likes | 1 Comments





image for Top Five Ways To Enter The Military As A Husband

Top Five Ways To Enter The Military As A Husband

ChrisFields.jpgFellow male military spouse and general provocateur, Chris Field, shares his "Top 5 Ways to Enter the Military as a Husband." 

5) Read. There are any number of "military spouse" books and websites that explain the mechanics and formal structure of the military and military living.  I found that reading as much as I could about the terms, code names and acronyms (i.e., your ability to learn the quasi-language of Militarese) was invaluable in acclimating myself to my new military life. Arm yourself with a basic understanding of such phrases and acronyms as 'PCS' (relocation), 'LES' (her paystub), 'TDY' (a shorter, out-of-town work trip). Just as you would learn a few basic phrases like “Wie geht es Dir?” (How are you?) and “ein Bier, bitte” (A beer, please!) if you were vacationing in Germany, know the basic terminology of your wife's new employer.  I promise you, you will never regret reading too many articles and books on military spouse living.

2560 Views | 79 Likes


Posted in Male Spouse 101