You’ve been there, and so have I. We have seen a soldier in uniform and we don’t hesitate to say, “Thanks for your service.” We recognize their willingness to sacrifice life and limb to protect our freedom. But we forget the spouse who serves this nation in ways we don’t always see.
When my husband deploys I have to add his responsibilities at home to my own, without the benefit of adding extra hours to do the work. “Honey, can you pick (anything) up on the way to work?” is no longer an option, and I have to run all the errands. My organization skills have to kick into high gear to stay on top of everything. I have to know how to use a steamer basket for vegetables; I have to know the difference between a socket wrench and an adjustable wrench – and what to use them for.
With the spouse at home carrying the entire load, it becomes overwhelming. There are many things that you can do to help a soldier by helping their spouse who is still at home.
1. Set up special deliveries.
It is impossible to be deployed and not miss a holiday, birthday, or anniversary. Help a soldier. For example, ask a soldier what kind of flowers he wants sent to his wife on Valentine’s Day and have them sent to her. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
2. Help around the house.
Nothing says, “Thank you or we love you,” to a wife and mother quite like helping around the house. Mow the yard, or volunteer to take the cars in for oil changes. After all, an hour out of your day will make their week.
3. Ready-made Meals
Sometimes it is the wife who serves, and the husband who stays home. If he isn’t a kitchen whiz, meals can get interesting. Showing up with a pan and a note that says, “Pop me into oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes,” can be a lifesaver.
4. If it’s broke, fix it.
Find out what is broken and help. If their dryer stopped, let them come over and do laundry. If the computer crashed, let them use yours so they can still communicate with their spouse. Help fix the leaky pipe, or help them find a plumber who will.
5. Pick up a phone/schedule a visit.
Don’t be afraid to pick up a phone and call just to let her know you are there. Offer to come by and fix a pot of tea, fix lunch, and just sit with them. Even offer to run errands for them or with them. My best memories during the time my spouse was gone include my best friend coming by, making a pot of my favorite tea, and just sitting at my kitchen table while I was down.
Doing these things will allow you to support your troops in unique and invaluable ways. The spouse will be able to support their family more, while the soldier is able to rest easy knowing their family is cared for. Helping the family helps the soldier.