5 Online Sources for Spouses During Basic Training

5 Online Sources for Spouses During Basic Training

I hope the day that your soldier left for Basic Training, you were not a hot mess.  Hopefully, you were surrounded by supportive friends and family, or at least that you loved your job and knew how to make yourself happy on that tough day.  I hope you were able to stay strong during the entire block of training, and felt like time flew by.  I think a lot of military wives would say they wished they were you.
If you didn’t come from an Army family already, a lot of what you’re experiencing is going to be very new. Unfortunately, friends and family don’t always support your and your husband’s decision to join the military.  They might be just as scared and confused as you are, or much more so. There are a lot of things you can do to ease the burden, and there are also places you can turn to.  Unfortuately, at this stage in your soldier’s career, you won’t have an FRG group to rely on (Family Readiness Group).  In the future, they can be very helpful in situations like this one.  For now, here are the sources you can go for support: (hint: they aren’t negative chat forums filled with lies and opinion and zero fact).

1. Army One Source

I honestly can’t give them a worthy enough shout-out. They were singularly the most helpful of all sources.  In fact, within an hour of dropping my soldier off for Basic Training, they called me to “check” on me.  They have a 24/hr hotline that you can call for anything–ANYTHING.  You can call them for advice, for information, or even for sympathy. They will try their best to answer any question, and will spend as long as you need addressing your concerns.  Even if they can’t give you an answer (like if you ask how your soldier is doing at Basic…they won’t know that)…they can still give you their most educated assessment (for instance, they will ask when he left and then deduct what phase of training he is on and tell you what it focuses on).  Click here to visit their website.

2. Your Soldier’s Unit Facebook Page

I’m actually not a big social media person.  But finding the Facebook page for my husband’s training unit was so helpful.  Every two weeks or so, (sometimes longer) they would post some pictures of the soldiers training.  I was almost always able to spot my husband in at least one picture.  It helped so much!  Seeing his training put visuals to the letters I was receiving, and really helped me feel connected.  Bonus: pay attention to who else is visiting the page, because you might be able to make friends with a  few spouses whose soldiers are battle buddies with yours.  Unfortunately, the soldiers cannot contact you through the page, and there are guidelines as to what kind of questions you can ask on it.  Don’t worry, the guidelines will be posted!

3. Your Soldier’s Training Website

All the bases where Basic Training is located have websites. And on these websites are not only FAQ’s, but often training videos.  I reccomend watching them, because even though they won’t be a film of your soldier, they will still be an accurate depiction of what your soldier’s training is like.  While this source won’t necessarily swoop in to save you (the way Army One Source can), it may have some helpful information for you.  And if nothing else, it’s another way to feel connected.

Here are a list of the training websites:

4. Army Family Information Center

Once your husband fills out all the required paperwork for registering you as a dependent, your information will be used to welcome you into the Army.  The day my husband left for Basic Training, I got an invitation via email from the Army Family Information Center.  The welcoming was perfectly timed!  I really appreciated the outstretched hand, and they sent me a link to join a Army spouse’s support group.  The support group was comprised of new Army wives going through exactly what I was, and it was managed by seasoned Army wives.  They occasionally did a live chat session, inviting us to all ask our many questions (though by that point I didn’t have many to ask).   Army families are great at helping each other out, and this was a really nice experience for me.

5. Blogs

I’m not just saying that because I’m a blogger.  I found that sometimes reading a blog was better (ALWAYS) than the comment section of military-themed social media posts.  The tricky thing about military lifestyle blogs is that the various parts of the Army can be so different that it’s hard to get all your answers from one blogger’s experience.  Shop around and find a few you trust, and follow them.  You’ll probably get answers to questions you didn’t even know you had!

If you’re already alone while your spouse trains hard at Basic Training, consider checking out one of these links.  And if your man hasn’t left, it’s not too early to begin setting up a little support system for yourself.  Remember, the Army Family Information Center will only contact spouses, so be sure that your soldier has all the paperwork necessary to register you as his dependent (for many, MANY reasons beyond that).  Army One Source is also designed for military families.  But the Facebook unit pages, training websites, and blogs are all open to the public, so even if you’re not married yet, take a look at those in your time of need!

Best of luck to you during this important time in your life and your soldier’s career!  Basic Training isn’t easy for them or for us, but the reward is greater than the pain.  I really believe that.  If you have any other online sources to recommend, leave a comment below!  And if you have a question, feel free to post that there too.  I will be sure to answer it.  Thanks for stopping by!!

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you for your response. You make me feel better about this. This information is awesome. I’ve been trying to find pastimes- I started writing in a journal at the end of everyday so I can write all my sad feelings and frustrations in there. I’ve started to write letters to him too- just not sure when I’d be able to post them or where at the moment. But I piling letters- trying to write one each day so I feel like I’m closer to my boyfriend.

    I look at our pictures and that reminds me of the times we’ve spent together so that has been helping me. I’m trying to keep myself busy. When I come home from work, I binge watch shows on Netflix until I fall asleep so I don’t notice the emptiness in the apartment. I also am trying to get back to working out- I know this sounds crazy but ever since he left for Basic, all I want to do is curl up and lay on my bed and cry. I keep telling myself that it will get better soon and I am hoping it does.

    I also decided to sublet our apartment because I don’t think I like this “quiet” place very much. I am counting days to seeing him again. He also ships off to AIT as soon as he gets out out of Basic which now makes it 19 weeks (if I am not wrong). But I hear that AIT will not be as hard as Basic. Soldiers get little more freedom so I hoping everything goes ok and time flies.

    I just have one question… When can I expect my first letter or a letter with the right address? 1-2 weeks from now? I’ve read some of your other posts and I know you’ve said 2.5 weeks from the day he actually left but I just want to ask again. Sorry!

    Thank you for your sharing your personal experience. Your blog is really very helpful and it is by far the best one I have come across! Thank you for your amazing work and effort you put in to help people like me!

    1. You are so kind! That is the nicest thing anyone has ever commented on my blog! Thanks so much.
      It sounds like you are doing so many things to make the time go by, and I know that is really going to help! Like you said, hopefully with AIT you will get more contact, and as he progresses through each phase, he will hopefully get more phone privileges. I know it’s different with each Drill Sergeant, but I know Basic gets more bearable with each phase, and often privileges go along with it!
      I dug out my box of Basic Training letters and peeked at the postdates on them. I got three letters from him while he was at Reception (I know it can be different for every class though, depending on what the cadre allow them to do). The first letter I got was postmarked 5 days after he reported to Reception. The next two were a day apart from that. And none of those letters had a return address on them. When he got to Basic, the first letter he sent me with his address was postmarked about 10 days after his report date (11 days after we said goodbye). When he sent mailed those to me, I was living in Virginia, so there was a three day delay between our letters. So if my memory serves me right, I got his real official address about 14 days after we said goodbye. I remember the first time I was able to send him a letter, I had between 14 and 18 letters saved up. So I would say 2 weeks is pretty normal for when to expect his address. I wish it was sooner, I think everyone does!
      I really hope you start getting them soon! That was the most comforting part of my day…getting a letter from my solider! I think that is everybody’s favorite part of Basic. 🙂 Besides graduation, of course! People always say how much the soldiers love them (cuz it’s totally true!!) but I feel like it is just as helpful for the loved ones staying behind! I guess it’s not the same as a phone call, but it’s nice because you can read them over and over again, whereas a phone call is always too short, and can be hard to remember perfectly. Of course, the phone calls are pretty amazing in their own way. But I always cried. lol
      Anyway, I’m rambling now! Best of luck to you in this journey, and please reach out at any point. I’m totally here for you!

  2. Hi,
    My boyfriend left for his basic at Ft. Benning a week ago and I am finding it hard to cope with this. We used to live together, so I find it very weird to go back home from work. Fortunately, he was in “Reception” till 7/6 and he had some phone privilege time so he called me and I was able to talk to him for about 5-10 minutes before he shipped off. He shipped off on 7/6 and the fact that I cannot talk to him is driving me crazy. I just want some advice.

    The day he left was so overwhelming for me. I know everyone says “stay strong and you will be okay”, but its been a week and a half and I don’t see it getting better- Does it ever get better? I also do not have a lot of friends here as I moved to Boston 1 year 8 months ago and I think its harder when you have no one to talk to about the things that make you sad/depressed. I try to read a lot of blogs or google things about Basic Training and the army and it makes me a bit calm. As long as I am at work I am ok (which is weekdays 9 to 5)but when I have to leave work to go home is the hardest part of my day. I feel very weird going back to an empty home. Weekends are the worst, when he was here we used to spend them together and now I don’t know what to do.
    Any advice on how to cope with this will be appreciated!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this. We have all felt (or are still feeling) the same way at one time or another! When my husband left for Basic, we had only been married for 3 weeks and it was the hardest day of my life. 🙁 Much like you said, reading Army-related articles, watching Youtube clips, and making Pinterest boards helped me feel connected. It never quite filled the void, but it helped me feel closer to him. I know everyone is different, so I don’t want to just say what worked for me will work for someone else. But for me, there were 3 main things that helped when he left for Army trainings.
      First, I tried to stay busy. I began working two jobs, and even though weekends were the very very hardest, it helped to not have an empty week. (I know you said work is the best time for you too!) I know it’s really easy to say “stay busy” and it’s a lot harder to actually do that, but I really did try to create pastimes that would take up my time. For instance, one Saturday I would come up with a Pinterest-inspired homecoming craft and I would make that project my task for the day. I also joined a social group at my church because I needed an outlet to have interaction when I felt like I was getting too lonely. (which was sometimes often *sigh*) I didn’t have a ton of friends either, but connecting with two or three people really helped me pass the time.
      The second big thing I did was establish a new routine. My routine with him just didn’t work once I was by myself and it became too lonely to go through “our” entire day alone. So I mixed it up. I picked a new bedtime and a new wake-up time. I also began watching my “own” netflix series and changed how I cooked. I even began exercising (just pilates videos on Youtube) and that gave me an outlet to burn anxiety/energy as well as to zone out and add a chunk of “workout time” to my day. It’s not like my new routine made me crazy happy, but I knew that changing things would make me less sad and feel less “holes” throughout my day.
      The last thing I did, which was my favorite, was I stayed very sentimentally involved in our relationship. I know this doesn’t work for everyone–some people get sadder thinking about their loved one. But for me, I felt much MUCH closer to him if I kept up little romantic traditions that made me feel better. I bought a ring at my local accessory store in the shape of Georgia (my husband went to Ft. Benning for Basic too) and every time I looked at it I felt close to him. I spent 1 hour every night with a cup of coffee, writing him a letter about my day, and that made me feel like we were having a conversation. I kept his picture by my bedside, listened to music that reminded me of him, etc. Again, I know that can make it worse for some people. But for me, I wanted him to still be a part of my everyday life.
      At the end of the day, I couldn’t just “hunker down” and push through all those weeks of Basic Training, pretending I was okay. Some days were really hard, and on those days I tried extra hard to get myself out of the hole, by re-reading a letter or by creating a Pinterest board about our dream homecoming day. Sometimes I let myself cry because I knew it was just going to be a tough day, but that everything was going to be okay in the future. I knew what we were going through was an investment in our future and that helped a lot. It wasn’t just random suffering, it was a trial that we had both agreed to for the sake of a better future. I won’t say that the sadness ever completely vanished, but little by little, I found myself getting stronger. I’m still not a champion at separation. It has been my least favorite part of the Army life since the day he joined. In fact, just last week, we had our three year anniversary and he had to train in the field during it. 🙁 It was hard and we were both lonely, but the Army always finds a way to make up for it later. We ended up having a great 4-day weekend and celebrated so much together. I guess what I am saying is that the hard times don’t 100% vanish, but the good times make up for it ten times over. Like the graduation and homecoming weekend…oh my goodness, that is amazing.
      I never really considered myself to be a strong or independent person. I’ve always been super close to my soldier and we have been together a long time. Days without him are super tough and I never quite feel whole. But every single training comes to an end, and there is nothing on this earth like a homecoming. I can promise you that! While you may never feel like the sadness completely goes away during the separation, I guarantee that you will surprise yourself. One day, you will look at how many weeks have passed and realize just how strong you are. I feel like for me, so many people give the advice to “stay strong” and it never feels like you can just force yourself to be strong. But one day you read an Army quote somewhere and realize, “hey that’s me” and then you can really see just how far you both have come.
      I totally understand what you are going through and I really hope that you get another phone call soon! Luckily, letters will start up in the next couple weeks, and I felt like those help a lot too. Feel free to leave anymore comments if you want to follow up! Welcome to the Army family 🙂

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