These issues aren’t sexy. They aren’t discussed in most places devoted to solving our problems. But these are the things we need a HERO to solve.
Please believe us.
Solve these 5 things and military families will line up to thank you.
Show up at a new duty station and you are faced with reams of paper to apply for a space at the Child Development Center. We’re not talking about moving from an Army post to an Air Force base or from a Navy base to a civilian provider. No, we are even talking from one branch’s post to the same branch’s post. Each duty station, a new set of paperwork; often the same that was filled out at the last duty station.
And, after gathering up the necessary documents and papers, you are put in a queue to wait for a space that probably doesn’t exist. At each duty station, you wait and wait for a slot while being told “here is a great job just for you, military spouse.” Too bad you can’t apply. Sometimes we feel the need to spell it out: I’m waiting for childcare to even apply because the military is pretty inflexible when it comes to the service members’ job so I can’t rely on “back-up” from my spouse even for the interview.
No child care. No job.
No way to work out for stress relief because there is no drop-off care at the gym they say you should use. No way for a chance to “regroup” when a spouse is deployed or to go to the meetings where kids are not welcome. Child care is not just a “nice to have” in military life it is a “doesn’t anyone see making access to childcare easier or possible is the root of many of our bigger issues?”
2. Resource overload
How many times have we heard it? “We HAVE a website for that!” or “Don’t reinvent the wheel! We already do that!” So the question is: why the heck does NO ONE know what we already have or that we do “that” already. As one Army spouse said, the problem lies in poor modernization and assimilation of information dissemination to the military spouse community.
Truth is, these websites you speak of, we don’t know they exist. And often we are frustrated by their poor design, broken links, and portals to nowhere. You may have a website for that but no one is using it. The question you should be asking is “why” no one is using these sites versus pointing us back to it or making more resources. We’re not using your resources because there are TOO hard to use and they often don’t work.
You may have a process you want us to follow but Wayne is standing in the way of it being completed. Wayne is the guy (or gal) who just throws the whole process out the window, creates a new process or adds crazy things to the existing process, who gets mad at you because you aren’t familiar with all of the intricacies of said process, and then tells you, no, the phone numbers on the website that you called to double-check you had the right paperwork don’t work but you should have called to make sure you had the right paperwork.
It seems the number of Waynes grows by the day.
So when you tell us “there’s a process you need to follow,” you never seem to account for Wayne. Don’t always assume it is us messing up; instead, evaluate what obstacles are in our way to getting the job done.