A few weeks ago AT&T contacted me about writing a couple blogs on how best to appreciate a military spouse. Now, since Military Spouse Appreciation Day is on May 9th, I thought this was a great gesture by one of America's largest corporations to ask this question specifically of male spouses. Plus, AT&T offered a couple iPad gift baskets in exchange for my thoughts. The deal is that I have to share one of those iPads with you guys. I felt that offer was a no-brainer, so here you go. My top five ways people can acknowledge the sacrifices military spouses make on behalf of their families and nation. Before I begin, I want to make it clear that the following list is how I want to be appreciated; we're all different and I know other guys have different ideas. That's great! If you add your ideas below this story, I will put your name in a hat for a chance to win one of those AT&T iPad gift baskets (the only disclaimer I'm putting on this is that you must have your entry in before midnight on May 4th.)
One more thing, I feel a little self-conscious writing this because I really don't think anyone needs to appreciate me as a spouse. I'm happy and proud to live this lifestyle without any recognition. Tens of millions of people go to work everyday, many in not such great environments and/or circumstances. I do believe military spouses have it more difficult than most, but we're just doing our part to help make this country great.
But if you really feel the need to acknowledge me, the best way is to simply say, “thank you.” Nothing special, no need to buy me anything, no need to make a big show, just walk up and let me know you appreciate the sacrifices my family makes.
If simply saying “thanks” isn't what you have in mind and you're in a position to offer more (uh huh...AT&T), then how about a 6-pack of beer. Those who know me understand I prefer the Mexican brews: Modelo, Victoria, Bohemia, and Pacifico. Nothing says “Thank You” more than buying me a few beers!
If you're uncomfortable buying beer, no worries, how about baking some cookies/pies/cakes/etc. (you don't really have to bake them yourself, just the idea of you bringing us something delicious to eat is more than enough!). If you're really shy and don't want to knock on the door and hand them to us personally, maybe leave them on our front porch with a nice little note. If someone ever did that for me I would be incredibly humbled and grateful for the thought.
This next one doesn't affect me personally, but I know quite a few guys who would really appreciate a friend volunteering to watch their kids for a night. Childcare is such a priceless commodity with any young family, but especially young military families. We all need a break from reality now and then, a night off could be just the break a young military couple needs to save their marriage.
Finally, if you employ a military spouse, how about a little leniency for us during times of deployment. We love working, and very much appreciate our jobs, but when our spouses deploy we instantly become single parents/bachelors. Our normal routine has changed dramatically and what may have been an easy task to accomplish last week (getting to work on time?) now requires an act of God to complete. All chores around the house, child care, doggie care, banking, and bill paying instantly fall on our shoulders, stretching what used to be an average 8-10 hour day into a 12-15 hour day. This, added with the emotional roller-coaster of having the love your life working in a combat zone, may lead to a few “break downs” now and then. Just look the other way and keep moving, we'll catch up when we shake the funk.
That's it, most of this list is just acting as a decent human being, nothing special. What are your thoughts? How would you want to be appreciated? Do you think we should be appreciated? Share your input below the story for a chance to win that iPad Gift Basket, use #milspouse and @att if you post on facebook, then check out what AT&T is doing for our military at: http://about.att.com/content/csr/home/people/serving-our-communities/supporting-our-troops.html