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A Mom Reflects on Her Lifeline: the Ever-Changing Village of Military Families

Submitted by Rita Brhel on 4 April 2023

One of the many reasons parents find their way to Nurturings is that they're seeking a community, and Nurturings can connect them to local parenting groups. As a parent, I can relate: I enjoy and have come to rely on the parental support of like-minded individuals who may be going through the same joys and challenges or seeking guidance from others who have been there in the past. 

While social media has made constant and instantaneous connection easier, there is nothing quite like going to a face-to-face meeting and interacting with other parents and their children in real time. It is so much more personal than an online encounter.

With April being Month of the Military Child, I want to take a moment to talk about how important a sense of community can be to military families and how much of a difference "finding your village" can make. 

It is not uncommon for military families to move every year or two and have every child born in a different state or even a different country! As a military spouse, one of the first things I do when I find out that we are moving again or going somewhere for a lengthy training is to look for similar-minded parents' groups in the new location. These groups often become our lifeline; they are where we find an extension of our village, which can make transitioning to our new address easier.

However, sometimes it can be hard to break into these groups since everyone in the group knows each other and has been friends for a while. Especially for families who have recently had their first child, or who have just started to find their groove for leaving the house after a spouse is deployed, the support and comfort to be found in a parents' group or informal meetup can make a huge difference in the lives of the parents and children. I know, and love, that everyone is parenting their children in their own way but having a parents' group means having a common thread with other families to help us create a safe, still space when it seems that our world is constantly in motion.

There are two big move cycles every year in the military, during which many families are moved to new stations; the summer cycle is coming soon. Having a village to belong to is one of the most vital "survival tactics" of being a military family.

I encourage parents' group organizers to outreach to any military installations they may have locally. If you see parents, military or not, who look like they may benefit from a support system like what is offered through your group, be the one to invite them to your next meeting. They may not have found you yet or might not have known exactly what they were looking for. Whether you are someone who already has a village or is trying to create one, don't be afraid to say "hi" to the new mom with her baby at the grocery store or at the library story hour. The benefits, to all, are priceless.

Who is someone you could reach out to about meeting up at the park for a playdate and parent-to-parent conversation?


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