Thursday, November 11 marks Veterans day, the perfect chance for you to share your appreciation to veterans and their families for their faithful service. But there is a blogger that supports military spouses 24/7 with her blog and blogging community. Her passion for support stems from her personal life as an army wife and mom of 3. She knows firsthand the fears, stress, joys and loneliness of military life.
Her name is Ann Marie and her blog Household 6 Diva was a place she frequently wrote about her family, photography, and the struggles and triumphs of military life. In fact, she wrote a descriptive post to explain military life to extended family called “Saying, Coping and Explaining Goodbye.“
In June 2010 she discovered there was not a central place to find other blogs by military spouses. She wanted it to go beyond just a centralized list for military families to find each other’s blogs and build relationships. “I also wanted to raise awareness and provide a connection where Bloggers who were not affiliated with the military – could connect – build relationships – and support/encourage one another,” she said. Today the site lists over 430 blogs!
The Military Spouse Blogging Community is an every growing list of blogs written by people involved in the military in some way. Ann Marie’s heart is all about lending support online and not only between military families but helping civilians support military spouses as well. This really spoke to my heart because I live so close to a military base. I grew very close to a few military wives that ended up moving and I never quite knew how to support them.
Ann Marie shares that even if you are not in the military, you can do simple things that mean the world to military spouses. If you know someone staying home while his or her spouse is deployed, give “a specific offer or action as a method of support would be a wonderful suggestion – ie: Wow – that sounds like you had a rough day – can I bring you dinner tomorrow night? How does Chicken and Dumplings sound?” She said by just offering a vague, “how can I help?” you might make the spouse feel week or awkward and unless you are really close to them, chances are they won’t tell you what they need. Be specific and they will appreciate it. She added that wives need a close friend to talk to even after their husbands are home. Yes, give them their space while they spend time as a family again, but offer to watch their kids so they can enjoy a date night.
If you don’t know anyone personally in the military, browse the community page and find some blogs to read and build a relationship/lend support online. Ann Marie shares that by commenting and being there for a military spouse you can encourage them and validate their feelings – and help them know they are not alone. As you follow a military blog, comment and be there for them “not just once or twice — but over a few months – or an entire deployment. Watch them cope with saying goodbye… encourage them when all the kids are sick and there is only one person to stay up all night with a sick kid” this, Ann Marie shares, is what makes a difference in a military spouse’s life.
And you really do grow close to people online – solid friendships are formed and people’s lives are impacted positively. Ann Marie said she is grateful for Monica from Daily Dwelling who helped her start her blog. And she loves and relies on Sidney from Green Enough for Me and Michelle from Michelle the Rib who are her “battle buddies here in Germany.”
The military is not the only profession that causes spouses to be separated for long periods of time – even though it is the most dangerous and longest stretches to be apart from your spouse. I first met Ann Marie when I wrote about my struggles being away from Josh when he went on a week long business trip and she encouraged me in a way only a wise, “I’ve been there” military mom can. I admire their strength and all they have learned through deployment after deployment. How do they do it? How do they cope? Ann Marie said taking care of yourself is the most important thing to remember. “It is impossible to take care of your family if you do not take care of yourself,” she said. “This is literally why the phrase Balance Seeker is in the title of my blog – to remind myself I need to Balance the Army wife and Busy Mom with TIME to be a DIVA and refuel myself so I can care for my family.”
I salute the men and women that serve in combat to keep us safe and the spouses that are spread abroad and living in the USA, taking care of home while their loved one protects us. Neither job is easy, and I am very thankful to Ann Marie for sharing where to find blogs I can learn from and friends I have yet to make.