If you are a new military spouse, chances are, you might have already heard “Use your resources!” Yes! We do want to make sure we use our resources, but what exactly are they? Where can we find them? Will we be hand delivered a special spouse resource map, color coded and all? I don’t know about you, but I would love one of those! In the meantime, while we wait for that special delivery, we will just have to do some exploring on our own. No need for hiking boots or hats, lucky for us we have a ton of information right at our fingertips.
A good place to start is a spouse orientation. Each branch offers classes to introduce spouses to military life. The Air Force has an orientation called Heartlink and the Navy offers COMPASS. If your spouse is a Marine, you can attend a L.I.N.K.S(Lifestyle, Insights, Networking, Knowledge, and Skills) class. If you are an Army family, catch the next Army Family Team Building class. Check with your family support or service center for information about these classes. Not only are you going to learn some military basics, you will make a few new friends too! If you want to learn more about your particular installation and resources, visit http://www.afcrossroads.com/ and Military Spouse Advocacy Network.
While you’re at your family center for your orientation be sure you look into other base resources, as well. You will find information on childcare, legal aid, recreation, commissary/exchange hours and much more! I learn something new every time I walk into our Airman and Family Readiness Center and I’ve been a military spouse for 10 years. If you find yourself a little shocked that there is so much material to read, take it slow! There won’t be a pop quiz, just get familiar with what is offered to you. I like to grab brochures or print outs and keep them all filed together in case I need to reference something. The goal is not to become an expert in all things military, but to head in the right direction when we do need to use our resources.
I like to think of it like this…We can’t always fix things on our own, we need help sometimes. Each time we educate ourselves about our support services, we are adding a tool to our “spouse tool box.” So when we have a problem that may be too big for us to tackle on our own, we can reach into our toolbox. With the right tools, we can fix anything.
Spouses are an invaluable part of the team and together we are one.