Tag Archives: MyMilitaryLife

Raising Military Kids: How Do I Know If I’m Getting It Right?

The-author's-pretty-normal-kidsI chuckle at the saying, “Behind every successful kid is a mother who thinks she is doing everything wrong.” My inner voice is thrilled someone else knows how I feel! Raising kids is a challenge. I know. I have two willful boys who challenge me every day. Raising kids in the military is an even bigger challenge.

Things are just different. As each of my boys reach different milestones and try new things, I’m always wondering, is this normal? Swapping stories with my nonmilitary friends, while often entertaining, doesn’t normally reassure me. Our kids don’t have the same experiences.

That’s why I really like what we’re doing with the MyMilitaryLife app. It’s the What to Expect When Raising Military Kids.

When your spouse is deployed, do you wonder if your child’s meltdown is because of the deployment, or the Xbox? In the app, you are connected with sites that help explain the emotions our kids are feeling. Did you move over the summer and want to plug your kids into some recreational activities? That’s in the app, too. What about getting them engaged in their new school? That’s a big one for me. Fortunately, information about changing schools is in the app!

Additionally, the comments and rating system allows other military spouses to share their experiences with the recommended programs, and help point me in the right direction. For example, an Air Force spouse posted this about Tutor.com, “Tutor.com is EXCELLENT! !! This is definitely a go-to if you, the parent, can’t help your child with school. Best of all, it’s free!!”

My military family is retired now, and the changes are fewer and farther between. These days, I watch my brother’s family cope with the challenges of military parenting as he advances in his Army career. So, I downloaded the app to his phone and said. “Trust me, it’s in there.”

Download the MyMilitaryLife app today and tell us what you think!

michellePosted by Michelle Joyner, Mobile Initiatives Director

Tired of Searching for Employment Resources? MyMilitaryLife App Puts the Answers You Need at Your Fingertips!

MyMilitaryLife graphicIt is no secret we, as military spouses, constantly struggle to find employment. We reinvent ourselves wherever our military life takes us. One new resource you should know about is MyMilitaryLife app. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, get on your phone right now and join our mobile community!

Why is this app different and how can it help you find a job? To begin with, it is created by military spouses and subject-matter experts. We get information directly from the people who use it. You can be certain the information provided is legit and the resources recommended are trustworthy. Second, you don’t have to endlessly browse through stuff that doesn’t matter to you. Personalize your experience by answering basic questions about yourself and the app filters information — you only see what you need. Finally, the app gives you a platform to share what you’ve learned with fellow spouses. You can leave comments and read what other spouses recommend.

The Spouse Employment Life Path helps shed some light on questions like:

  • What employment support can I find on/off my installation?—Know where to start when looking for employment. Find the programs, workshops and career fairs especially designed for you.
  • How can I transfer my professional license if we move?—Find updated licensure information on the state you are relocating to.
  • Is working from home right for me?—Being a remote employee or having your own e-business can be a rewarding career choice. Start by reading these tips first.
  • Am I eligible for unemployment compensation if we PCS?—Unemployment compensation is a benefit that you earned. Learn how to apply for it.

Here’s how the app can work for you. Think of moving. You don’t always know where to start when searching for new employment opportunities. You might not know anybody in the area and you once again you have to explain why your resume looks the way it does. The Spouse Employment Life Path in the MyMilitaryLife App offers a wide range of networking tips. Additionally, it points you to local spouse groups, networks and organizations that can connect you with military-friendly employers.

Having an app that filters everything for you to get the specific information you need is priceless.

Download our MyMilitaryLife app today and let us know what you think!

Marlis Perez RiveraPosted by Marlis Perez Rivera, Content Specialist, MyMilitaryLife App

Want to Go Back to School? We Have an App for That!

road-to-educationAs if military life isn’t complicated enough, I, like many other military spouses, decided to make my education a priority. After making this decision, I was overwhelmed by the amount of schools I could attend. With frequent moves and deployments, distance learning is a military spouse’s best friend. But, would it be right for me? I found the process of narrowing down schools and deciding on a program completely overwhelming. It weighed on my mind day in and day out. Waiting at a doctor’s office, at the grocery story, or painting my nails, I would be racking my brain about school, and what my next steps should be. In those moments, I wish I had something right at my finger tips to help me do the research.

Enter, the National Military Family Association’s app, MyMilitaryLife.

MyMilitaryLife is a resource any military spouse can turn to! I followed the “Spouse Education” Life Path and found information I needed to pick a good school. The app walks you through the process, from start to finish, with a checklist of items to complete along the way. Whether you want to pursue a certification, or even your Ph.D., the MyMilitaryLife has information for you.

The “Spouse Education” Life Path has the answers to your questions…even the ones you didn’t think to ask, like:

  • Where do I start?
  • What program is right for me?
  • Is distance learning for me?
  • Where can I find money to pay for school?
  • Will my credits transfer?

With MyMilitaryLife, these answers are at your fingertips, and can help smooth the road on your education journey. This Life Path even includes reviews from trusted sources: military spouses! Who better to give you advice than spouses who have been there, too? These reviews help make the app a valuable, trusted resource you’ll return to again and again!

Another bonus: the app features a great list of scholarships available to military spouses!

So, next time you are waiting around for an appointment, jump on your smart phone and download MyMilitaryLife. Maybe this time next year you will have a new certification in hand or be a headed for a new degree!

Amanda headshotPosted by Amanda Anderson, Content Manager, MyMilitaryLife

Here’s Your New Deployment Survival Guide!

Dads-homeI can identify the Fort Campbell hangar immediately when looking through pictures. The color on the walls, the bleachers, and the banners welcoming our heroes home. I remember the anxious feeling when my husband was both leaving and coming home from deployment. Anxious to get the deployment started so he could return home, and anxious to introduce him to our new family of three and welcome him to our new house.

Have you ever heard that saying “you don’t know, what you don’t know?” That’s how I feel looking back on our first deployment. We were married in September and my husband deployed in December. I didn’t want to move to a new installation by myself so I moved home with my mom. Little did I know that moving home meant I would be completely out of touch with my husband’s unit.

I received monthly emails about some things, but was never contacted about other things. During the year-long deployment, I received only two phone calls from the Family Readiness Group (FRG). I felt a little out of the loop, and under informed, to say the least! I am fortunate that my husband communicates well enough to keep me in the know. Now, I urge spouses to get out there, get involved, and stay informed! There are so many awesome resources available that won’t come knock on your door.

If there was an app like MyMilitaryLife available to me during our first deployment, my time away from my husband would have been very different. I feel like I would have been able to manage that time better, and I could have actively involved myself with his unit’s happenings. Hindsight is great, but I realize now, just how much I missed out!

With MyMilitaryLife at my fingertips, I would have utilized the Deployment Life Path and discovered the Red Cross offers online courses about deployment cycles. Military OneSource has a website, called ‘Plan My Deployment,’ with planning tools, checklists, and helpful tips. The National Military Family Association has Operation Purple® Camps for children with a parent that has been, is currently, or will be deployed. Aside from this, there are Family Retreats to help families reintegrate after deployment.

If my husband deploys again, I am prepared with resources to help, and if I have any questions I know I can pull up MyMilitaryLife on my phone to find the answer.

Download our MyMilitaryLife app today and let us know what you think!

Amanda headshotPosted by Amanda Anderson, Content Manager, MyMilitaryLife

Meet the Association Tweeters!

Meet the Association Tweeters! At the National Military Family Association, we believe in engaging with military families. That’s why we’re on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. These platforms are an avenue for us to listen to what military families have to say, provide you with important resources and alert you to news that could affect your military family. While we use a general twitter account (@military_family – please follow us if you aren’t already), we thought it would be nice to introduce you to some of the faces that make up our Association and encourage you to connect with them too!

Below are a few women you should “meet”—send them a tweet, introduce yourself and let the relationship building begin!

Joyce Raezer@NMFAJoyce – As our Executive Director, Joyce leads our Association. Passionate about being an advocate for military families, she’s always “on the ground” connecting with families to understand their needs and concerns. She focuses on posting news and events that are relevant to military families as well as noting our work as an advocate on their behalf.

Spoken like a true leader, Joyce’s quote to live by? “Lead, follow, or get out of the way!”

christina@NMFAChristina – As Volunteer Services Director, Christina is immersed in working with people who want to help others.  She tweets about activities and events we participate in but her main focus is demonstrating how wonderful our Volunteers are and why it’s something you should consider doing.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Amanda headshot@NMFA_Amanda – A proud Army spouse with two young boys, Amanda is our Content Manager for MyMilitaryLife and uses her twitter account to build relationships with other spouses and share information that can help them and their families.

As a spouse who’s had to move several times in the past few years, she stands by the quote “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Katie@NMFAKatie - As the Government Relations Manager, Katie tweets about our Association’s advocacy work. Tweets include Congressional hearings of importance to military families and retweets of the work of the Government Relations Director and Deputies. She’s a USMC spouse stationed at Twentynine Palms, CA.

Katie doesn’t have a favorite quote but enjoys reading leadership philosophies from working moms and looks for work-life balance tidbits.

eileen@NMFA _Eileen – As a Navy spouse with two children, Eilieen shares information that could potentially affect her family, or other military families.  She serves in the Government Relations department and acts as an advocate for ALL military families.

Spoken like a true advocate, Eileen’s quote of choice? “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Are you following us on Twitter? If not, now’s the time! Connect with us, share your stories, concerns and let us know how we can better serve you!

Let me introduce myselfPosted by Michelle Joyner, Communications Director

Becoming a Military Spouse: Words of advice

Becoming a military spouse: words of adviceIt’s finally wedding season (hurray for warmer weather!) and we thought it’d be nice to focus on one of the most pivotal moments for military families – the wedding day. For military spouses and service members alike, this is the beginning of a grand adventure. We’ve asked our staff members for words of advice to celebrate this occasion, along with a few fun pics to share.

Michelle-wedding-outsideChange is constant. Always have a back-up plan and be OK with the fact that you will probably have to use it.—Navy spouse

Get involved. Get to know the other spouses. Who knows, you might just meet your next best friend! –Army Spouse

cc-wedding-cut-cakeMarriage is, like a box of chocolates—a super deluxe, king size, assortment.—Army spouse

Bring a sense of humor to your military adventure. You never know where the journey will take you.—Marine Corps spouse

Remember, it’s not where you are, but who you’re with. Your next assignment Becoming a military spouse: words of advicecould be a hole in the wall, but if you make the best of the situation with those around you, it could be the best assignment you’ve ever had. Attitude is everything!—Air Force spouse

Try not to get overwhelmed by the new lingo full of acronyms and such. You have the rest of your military life to learn it all!—Army Spouse

Being married in to the military is such an Becoming a military spouse: words of adviceadventure. Get involved and take advantage of every opportunity you get!—Army spouse

Treat your friends like family. You may be thousands of miles from your closest relatives – but your friends and neighbors – they are your family, too. Embrace them.—Air Force spouse

It’s an honor to be a part of such a special community; focus on the positives and count your blessings.—Army spouse

If you’re newly married or soon-to-be married into the military, be sure to download our MyMilitaryLife App for more information on what to expect.

What do you wish you knew when you married into the military?

hannahBy Hannah Pike, Communications Deputy Director, Online Engagement

 

Digital scavenger hunt results: and the winners are…

With all of the excitement surrounding the launch of our mobile app, MyMilitaryLife, we wanted to kick-off the completion of all 10 Life Paths in a unique and fun way. We hosted two digital scavenger hunts (on Twitter and Facebook) using clues hidden within the app and offered an awesome giveaway…FOUR round-trip airline tickets!

Congratulations to our winners, Jean and Melissa, both are proud USMC spouses! It was great to be able to connect with these ladies, learn a little about their families, and share in their excitement.

Association: Tell us about your military family…

Digital scavenger hunt results: and the winners are…Jean: Nate and I have been married 16 years and have 2 kids, a 7 and a 10 year old. My husband just reached his 20th year in the Marine Corps.  We have lived in 7 different states throughout his career and have spent many summers moving.

Digital scavenger hunt results: and the winners are…Melissa: My family consists of my husband and I, and our cat. I moved with him in July 2011 as his girlfriend of 2 years, and we eloped on November 11, 2011 in Virginia Beach. My husband is a Sergeant in the Marine Corps and is stationed in Maryland as a Recruiter. I am a full-time Nursing Student and work part time as a Nanny. We both have VERY busy schedules and hardly see each other, but we count our blessings every day.

Association: How long has it been since your last vacation?

Jean: Our last real vacation was to Disney World back in 2009 when we were stationed in South Carolina.  We drove down for a 5-day trip and really had a blast.  We are thinking about adding a trip to Disneyland while we are in California.

Melissa: My last real vacation with my husband was before he started Recruiting Duty in 2011.

Association: What trip do you plan to take with the tickets you just won?

Jean: We are so happy to have the opportunity to visit my parents and friends in California this summer.  The kids haven’t been back to visit in over 3 years.  My parents already have big plans for us and my 7 year old started making a list of what to pack!  We plan on visiting old neighbors, my extended family, and my closest friends.

Melissa: They will be used to visit my family in California.

We had so much fun hosting this digital hunt and couldn’t be more thrilled for our winners! A big thank you to all who participated and please continue to check back for new features that will be added throughout the summer! If you haven’t already downloaded the app, you can get it for free in the App store and Google Play.

lauren kuenBy Lauren Kuen, Communications Administrative Assistant

Recap: Military Spouse JD Network “Making the Right Moves” Event

Military Spouse JD Network event recapThe Military Spouse JD Network (MSJDN) hosted a professional development event for military spouse attorneys yesterday in Washington D.C. called Making the Right Moves: Celebration and Education for Military Spouse Attorneys. This event featured educational breakout sessions focusing on career advancement, networking, legislative updates, how to overcome employment barriers, and how to enhance career portability. It was an event that boasted fellowship and intertwined tools for career success.

I was thrilled to represent the National Military Family Association on a panel to discuss hot topics regarding federal and state legislative initiatives affecting military families (and more specifically spouses). As an Association, one of our top priorities is to ensure that military spouses are able to pursue and continue their professional career as they support their service member in this highly mobile lifestyle.

A few legislative highlights from the panel included:

  • State legislation: Four states have passed a rule accommodating military spouse attorneys. These include Arizona, North Carolina, Texas, and Idaho. We look forward to being a force multiplier through our advocacy efforts with MSJDN in other states.
  • Federal legislation: The Military Spouse Job Continuity Act (S.759 and H.R.1620), if passed, will provide military spouses a tax credit to offset the cost of obtaining a new state-specific license or certificate when the family is ordered to move.

After the forum, several military spouses approached me and asked how they could get involved with our advocacy efforts. One way is to join our Association’s Volunteer Corps. With your voice and personal experience from your local community, we can identify needs and are able to advocate for military families. Another way is to simply stay in touch with us online and on social media. By sharing the victories and shortcomings when it comes to spouse employment, you help us show how important this issue is to our community.

Please know that the National Military Family Association is here with you every step of the way! Our mission is to fight for benefits and programs that strengthen and protect Uniformed Services families and reflect the Nation’s respect for their service.

We would love to hear from you! Engage with our Association through our website, on Facebook, on Twitter @military_family, and through our Branching Out blog. (Subscribe on the top right of this page!) Don’t forget to download our new mobile app MyMilitaryLife.

ccPosted by Christine Gallagher, Government Relations Deputy Director at the National Military Family Association

Join our Digital Hunt and Win 4 Roundtrip Tickets on Southwest Airlines!

For the rollout of the 10 completed Life Paths in our MyMilitaryLife mobile app, we are kicking off a digital scavenger hunt via social media and two winners will each receive FOUR roundtrip tickets courtesy of Southwest Airlines!

Starting today, May 20, we’ll post clues on Facebook at noon ET to help you find keywords hidden in the MyMilitaryLife app. Follow the clues, track the keywords daily, and submit ALL FOUR answers on our website by midnight Sunday, May 26. If you don’t win the first scavenger hunt, follow along on Twitter starting May 28 for a second chance to win! Questions? Leave us a comment below.

Now, share the image below with your friends and let the hunt begin! To get started, visit our website at www.militaryfamily.org/hunt You must be a military spouse or partner  and a registered user of MyMilitaryLife to win.

National Military Family Assoc. digital scavenger hunt

App for Military Families Puts Resources in the Palm of Your Hand

MyMilitaryLife graphicWith more than 10,000 official military and community support websites providing information for military families, it is often difficult to navigate which sites are supplying credible information. To help alleviate this frustration, the National Military Family Association launched the first mobile app of its kind, MyMilitaryLife. The app provides a customized experience that guides users through different life paths by anticipating  their needs and determining appropriate resources for them at a particular stage in military life.

There are 10 “Life Paths” that help families navigate the many adventures of military life and address key events a military family might experience during their career. For the first time families have access to trusted information right at their fingertips, specifically identified for their current life challenges and goals.

While every family goes through challenges, the military lifestyle changes quickly and often with unexpected hurdles to overcome quickly, making MyMilitaryLife a critical resource to have for every scenario.  Below is an extended look at key features and Life Paths:

Features

  • Customized to-do lists
  • Tailored resources based on Service branch, location, and needs
  • Due date reminders
  • Push notifications
  • Emergency phone numbers for military families

Life Paths

  • Having a Baby
  • Reintegration
  • Transitioning out of the military
  • Spouse Education
  • Spouse Employment
  • The Basics
  • Survivors
  • Deployment
  • Moving
  • Raising Kids

“Military families shouldn’t have to struggle with finding information they need,” said Executive Director, Joyce Raezer. “MyMilitaryLife serves as a trusted one stop shop providing families with credible information, tailored to their specific situation. We’ve verified the resources and have put it into a format that eliminates the stressful search. Understanding our families are often on the go, it is also important to ensure there is access anytime, anywhere.”

MyMilitaryLife is available through iTunes and Google Play, as well as our web portal. Take a look at our video for a quick demo of the app in action. This initiative is made possible thanks to the generosity of BAE Systems, Goldman Sachs Gives, and TriWest Healthcare Alliance, and additional support from Health Net Federal Services, Hummingbird Foundation, Magellan Health Services, and USAA. If you are interested in contributing to our mobile efforts, please donate here.

To learn more about the National Military Family Association, please visit www.militaryfamily.org.