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.
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.
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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