An Army Wife's Life

Once upon a time I was a college student, then I was a teacher, and now I'm a mother. Technically, I'm currently a freelance writer... but really I am an ARMY WIFE. Expect to find... funny (at least to me) anecdotes, thoughts about la vida military, hopes, anxieties, dreams, commentaries on current events.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Military Supporter Contest Winner

First, I want to thank everyone who entered the Military Supporter Contest I hosted for the The Bloggy Giveaways Carnival. It was a lot of fun and I definitely plan on participating again.

Lots of troops and their family members find this blog and I think they will be heartened to read your words of support. It is nice to hear from even a handful of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who support our troops, regardless of their personal political opinions.

I'll be mailing the book and bracelet this week and I've sent out the donation in honor of our winner, Christine, who said:
I want to say a big thank you! to all the troops who are serving our country and to my husband who is on deployment now also. Thank you so much!
Christine told me her husband will be home very soon, so please keep him and all of our soldiers in your thoughts and prayers.

Even if you didn't win, you can still donate to the USO, and even make your donation in honor of someone: Support the USO. Show US troops America still cares. Give what you can today!!!

Labels: ,

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Does Love Mean Never Having to Say Goodbye? (Ask Molly)

Dear Molly,

I'm 17 years old about to graduate. My boyfriend is also about to graduate and seriously thinking about the military.

I don't really approve of it. I think that if he loves me he should want to see me and be around me more than anything. He would sacrifice everything for me. Am I right? I know he wants to do this but he says I'm the most important thing. If that's so why would he want to go?

For the last two years, we see each other on weekends and that's it. And that's hard enough. I just want to be able to see him more. And I'm working on getting my hairstylist license. And we have talked about marriage also. He said I could go with him when he went. Is that possible? When would I get to see him?

Dear Reader,

You and your boyfriend still have a lot of life ahead of you. I'm going to tell you what I tell every young person in love who is contemplating major life changes or is uncertain about decisions: find your own fulfillment and do not rush into anything. If you are truly meant to be together, you will still want to get married in a year or two.

I do not agree that loving someone means giving up everything that is important to you. And it is certainly not forcing a person you love to make that sort of decision.

You don't say a lot about your relationship, but if you have a very solid relationship and believe you can handle the military lifestyle, it is worth it. If your relationship is not solid, then the military lifestyle may make those problems worse. I think you need some time--to find out who you are, to decide if this relationship is really right for you, and to consider the military lifestyle.

What about the military worries you? Take the time together to learn about this option he is considering and then think about whether or not this is a lifestyle you want to lead. Be honest with him, but no ultimatums or drama. Just tell him that you aren't sure you want to be a military wife.

And he needs to take time, without pressure, and make up his mind. Maybe he only wants to do it for a couple of years, or maybe he wants it to be a career, or maybe he just hasn't really thought it through, yet.

Assuming he enlists, while he is completing his basic and advanced training, continue to think about what is the right decision for you.

There are several different types of duties. First, he will train for a few months and you will not be able to see him during this initial training. Then, he will be assigned to a duty station. Most duty stations are in the United States or Europe, and you would be able to join him there. If you get married, you will be placed on his orders and you will be able to get on post housing or qualify for certain allowances, based on his pay grade. There are certain "unaccompanied" tours of duty, such as a one-year tour in Korea, but most stations will allow him to bring his spouse.

Times when you will not be able to see him: deployment (at this point in the Army, this is usually 12-15 months every couple of years, but this varies), field training (depends on the mission, but is usually a week or two every few months), some temporary assignments (such as for additional training).

Everyone's experience varies, depending on the individual MOS (job in the Army) and career path.

If you decide you want to be with him, even if he is a career soldier, then you will be able to change your certification as you move from state to state.

The truth is, life is unpredictable, even if you are not in the military. If you are compatible in your love and your values, then don't let this break you up.

Hope this helps--you may also want to read advice from me and my readers for a woman who also was not sure if she wanted to be a military spouse: Should I marry a soldier?

Labels: , ,

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Prize for Military Supporters (USO Donation in Your Honor, The Sandbox, and a Bracelet)

I have a great time participating in the Bloggy Giveaways, and the last few times, I've given a military book. Frankly, I've been pleasantly surprised at the number of contest entrants who popped over to enter either for themselves, or for those they know who are in need of some moral support.

This time, I was trying to think of something that was military related but would have a broader audience.

So, here's the prize--a military supporter pack:
To enter, leave me a comment by 11:59 PM, Friday April 25th about how you show support for our troops--or leave a supportive message for our troops! Put your e-mail in the e-mail field and I'll be able to reach you but it won't be publicly visible. I'll ship to any US, Canadian, or US Military address.

If you'd like to enter more contests, check out
The Bloggy Giveaways Carnival, this contest post is part of that carnival!

On my personal blog, I'm giving away a copy of Deceptively Delicious.

Also, we have lots of contests on Mamanista, my baby gear review blog.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mother's Day Gift Guide and Earth Day Eco-Friendly Products Gift Guide

I just wanted all my wonderful military blogosphere friends to know about two guides (with coupons and contests) I put up on my baby gear blog.

We've got a Mother's Day Gift Guide with all sorts of chic, funky, and hip picks (most within a reasonable budget), coupon codes, and contests (including one just for bloggers).

Mother's Day Gift Guide

And I'm really proud of our Earth Day Eco-Friendly Products and Tips Guide, which you can use all year 'round, of course! There are contests on that one, most expiring in the next few days, and lots of coupons, so check it out:

Eco-Friendly Earth Day Guide for Parents

My close friend and Mamanista business partner just gave birth to a whopping 9 lb. 13 oz. baby boy so I have been spending most of my blogging time keeping that site going...but there will be more milblogging, soon!

Enjoy Earth Day...I remember Ft. Hood had some fun celebrations!

Labels: ,

Monday, April 07, 2008

Military Divorce (Ask Molly)

A reader writes (details deleted to protect identities):

Dear Molly,

My husband is deployed and due to his infidelity, we are divorcing. I cannot save or keep up bills right now. He is helping with rent but not much beyond that.

I have severe medical problems that cause anxiety and panic attacks.

Is there anything I can do to have the Army help get me back home? I plan to meet with the commander.

Dear Fellow MilSpouse

First, as a fellow wife, woman, and person, I am sorry to hear about your troubles.

As a lawyer's wife, I must preface all of this with the statement that this does not constitute actionable legal advice and that your best bet is to seek out a family law practitioner in your state who is familiar with military divorce. Laws vary from state to state and the military adds another layer of complexity.

As a former FRG leader, though, there is some information I can pass along that may prove helpful.
  • You do not mention whether or not he has agreed to the divorce. As you are probably aware, he can legally delay divorce proceedings while he is deployed. Even if he is willing to proceed and you agree on everything, his deployment will most likely slow things down quite a bit. Once you have a divorce, any court orders (such as alimony or any benefits to which you are entitled) can be enforced by the military. Here is some information about those benefits for divorced military spouses. As you can see, there are various factors such as the length of his service and of your marriage.
  • The short answer to your question about the military paying for your move is no. However, indirectly, there may be a solution to your financial problems.
  • Before meeting with the commander, you may want to talk to your FRG leader if you have a competent one. The FRG leader may be able to advocate for you in the most appropriate way, especially if she is the commander's wife.
  • If you do meet with the commander I would recommend NOT approaching the commander to tell him there is a divorce in progress and you want money for moving home. Instead, I would recommend saying that despite the problems you are currently experiencing, you are still at this time his wife and you are still maintaining his household. He is receiving allowances specifically alloted for his household expenses, including BAH (which is higher because he has dependents) and a Family Separation Allowance (which he would not receive if he did not have dependents). You mention he is helping with the rent--I don't know how your rent compares to BAH, but since you are maintaining his household while he is gone, you should be getting the full BAH and the Family Separation Allowance. Ask to have these moneys directly deposited into an account in your name.

Servicemembers are expected to provide for their families while deployed. However, there is a good bit of latitude given the individual command as to how this is accomplished. So, be sure to approach the command calmly and logically--and hopefully they will make this step easier for you.

Another avenue that may be worth researching is the Exceptional Family Members Program (EFMP) on your post. I do not know if your medical conditions qualify and if they can provide any assistance, but perhaps they can help in some way. Your FRG leader or Chaplain may also be aware of other post or local programs that may able to to help you out.

Hope this information is helpful to you!

Labels: , ,