You Bet Your Boots by Sandra Beck, Military Mom Talk Radio

As the host of a popular radio show I am often asked about issues pertaining to the military family and for the purposes of this blog series I would like educate the public and honor the military family so they can be seen in the exceptional light that I see which is missed by most of the civilian population.

When you take a closer look at the military family, you see that in many ways resiliency is a way of life. Resiliency as defined as the ability to bounce back from change, adversity and disappointment is the epitome of the career military family.  Not enough attention is paid to this amazing characteristic that is honed by PCS moves, working through government red tape and following as a family the orders set down by military protocol.

When you stop to think about a married soldier on deployment, it’s hard not to think of the family he or she left behind to do their duty. Our unsung heroes, the spouse and children are left to carry on, to do the job of both parents, to manage disappointment, fear, loss, loneliness and change. They do that day in and day out.

Children learn to live without one parent for months and months. They move from place to place making new friends, creating new lives all during the business of growing up. Our military spouses take on a new role as single parent – except there is no seeking out a new mate to pair up and ease the burden.  There are lonely frightening nights and long task filled days.

And here is the quiet resiliency. Day after day the military family shows up. They respond, they regroup, they rework the family system and they keep going. This to me is resiliency. So yes, when people as me about the military family I cite them as the classic case of resiliency.  They are a beautiful shining example of resilient living. I am always amazed at the clever solutions, the brilliant brainstorms and the superior attitude of our military moms and dads braving the home front and keeping the home fires burning until their loved one returns home.

So when asked is a military family is resilient, I have only one answer.  You bet your boots.

Sandra Beck is the host of Military Mom Talk Radio a show dedicated to bringing issues, solutions and up to date information to our Military Families.  Mondays 2pm PST on Toginet.com. Also available for free on Itunes.  Sandra Beck is a writer for MilitaryConnection and a member of VAMBOA and Military Writer’s Society of America This Article appeared on http://www.militaryconnection.com.

Burning Daylight, by Sandra Beck, Military Mom Talk Radio

One time I was sitting in a leadership seminar and the Commander teaching the course looked directly at me.  “You have the same 24 hours in day as me- What are you doing with your time?”

I thought about what he said. I thought about how I was actually thinking if Batman paired up with Superman and Wonder Woman with their 70s technology who could they defeat in present day? Will Smith in Independence Day? The Bourne Guys? Tom Cruise in MI 1 maybe but definitely not 3. What a colossal waste of my brain that discussion was regarding super heroes. But I was smart enough not to answer the question truthfully.

I did take away the 24 hour rule. I thought about how many times my USMC buddy would run behind me when we would train yelling “C’mon Beck! We’re burning daylight, Girl move!!!”  I would run faster but it didn’t hit me until recently that I have a choice in how I spend my day. I really never thought that being a full time working single mom with two active elementary school age kids.  It was always do, do, do…go, go, go…but where was I going? And I mean personally, not to the grocery store to collect the endless gallons of milk that seem to stream through my children.

I look back at all that I have accomplished. I’ve written books. I’ve hosted a radio show for three years.  I have built charities from the ground up. I have raised my boys to grow into great leaders of men and women. But at the end of the day, if you ask me what I have gotten the most satisfaction from it’s an easy answer. I get a true heartfelt joy from serving my country in my own way with my own skills.  In serving my country I am serving my family, my friends and the country I love.

Did I fight in a war? Nope.  I am a flag waving civilian? Yes.  Do I make a difference…? Absolutely! You see I wrote this article because I have a great friend who was bounced out of the Army on a MEPS error. Because he’s not behind the barrel of a gun, or in uniform or pounding the ground he doesn’t think he can serve his country.

I am here to state clearly that there are many ways to serve and not one is better than another in the hearts of men and women – it’s the difference we make at the end of the day.  Today I ask you – you’re burning daylight…you have the same 24 hours as me….what are you doing with your time?

Sandra Beck is the host of Military Mom Talk Radio a show dedicated to bringing issues, solutions and up to date information to our Military Families.  Mondays 2pm PST on Toginet.com. Also available for free on Itunes.  Sandra Beck is a writer for MilitaryConnection and a member of VAMBOA and Military Writer’s Society of America This Article appeared on http://www.militaryconnection.com.

Battle Parents by Sandra Beck, Military Mom Talk Radio

It takes a lot to impress me with new ideas. I’ll be honest with over 300 radio shows under my belt pertaining to military and motherhood, I think I have heard everything. Then an idea pops out from an unlikely place from an unlikely person.  No, it’s not a shrink or a counselor or a decorated veteran. It came from a mom. From a mom who started a small Facebook group called PODS – Parents of Deployed Service Members.

This group is private and has about 1500 members. I had the pleasure of meeting Marcella Stretch the founder and she came up with a great idea recently. You see in Battle – we have Battle Buddies. Those promised to be at our side and watch our back and take care of us when we need them.

Marcella Stretch came up with the concept of Battle Parents.  This is a unique and powerful concept because it allows our parents of military service members to bond and support each other in ways that no one else can. If you are a service member, encourage your mom or dad to get a Battle Parent.

See a Battle Parent promises to be at their side and watch their back and take care of them when needed. Parents of our service men and women take on a unique role.  The love their children and knowingly support them as they put themselves in harm’s way for our country.  Are they proud? Damn Proud! Are they scared? Every day.

As a parent you worry about your kids their whole live. No matter how old you are, if your parents are still alive they worry about you. You can’t support them sure, but you have a job to do. You have a mission. That’s why Battle Parents need to band together, form alliances and share information.

This is especially important when a Battle Parent’s adult child goes on their first deployment, goes to basic or transfers to a new area.  The parents worry and one of the best ways to help your parents is to provide them with real information from real parents who have gone or are going through the same thing.

I watch Battle Parents in action. One child is injured or lost – Battle Parents rush in to support the grieving parent. One child is coming home – Battle Parents rush in to celebrate.  Parents get tired. Parents get scared. Parents get confused.  Together we are stronger and our Military Parents – the PODS – Parents of Deployed Service members can band together and life all of us up.

So Parents – get a Battle Parent. You can find them online.  Service men and women encourage your Mom or Dad to get their Battle Buddy – their own Battle Parent.  And Marcella Stretch of PODS – thank you for giving a name to this outstanding concept of parents supporting parents while their adult children are on deployment – as well as before and after.

Sandra Beck is the host of Military Mom Talk Radio a show dedicated to bringing issues, solutions and up to date information to our Military Families.  Mondays 2pm PST on Toginet.com. Also available for free on Itunes.  Sandra Beck is a writer for MilitaryConnection and a member of VAMBOA and Military Writer’s Society of America This Article appeared on http://www.militaryconnection.com.

Never, Never Quit – PTSD by Sandra Beck, Military Mom Talk Radio

I am not a psychologist or a therapist. I have no medical training whatsoever. What I have done is talk to experts and read their books and reports regarding Post Traumatic Stress – whether you add the D as in Disorder or not – it sucks.  And PTDS sucks for the whole family – including friends and coworkers.

To the best of my understanding, what I see from the cheap seats is everyone I have talked to and their family members who have shared with me their experiences with deployment is that everyone who serves comes back different.  Is this because of a label like PTSD? Is this just a normal human reaction to the abnormal experience of War? Probably a little bit of both with some additional trauma thrown in.

I don’t know how we ever expected people to be the same coming back after a combat experience. We change after we go to college. We change after we find religion. We change every time we experience something new.  Some changes are for the better. Some changes are for the worse.

All I know is that what I hear on the air and off the air that when people come back they are different. Some differences are extreme and some are traumatic for everyone involved.  Some differences suffer in silence. I have also understood from many service members that they are different after every deployment. I guess I can sum it up in a few words- after every deployment everyone including the service member and their family and friends must adjust to a new normal.

PTSD/PTS is real and it’s here to stay.  The more we accept it as an expected I believe the faster we can get services to the people who really need it. I believe the faster we remove the stigma from this, the faster we can raise awareness, help those affected and move forward with what we all need.

I also learned from my experiences that PTSD/PTS is much like the word cancer. It covers just a huge spectrum of situations.  I have also heard about treatments that span the same spectrum. They are as wide and varied as the diagnosis itself. My advice from a completely un-medical perspective:

Do what works. Use your head but be open to new things – remember no one ever died from an open mind. Stop what doesn’t or makes it worse. You served our country. You are oue hero. You are valuable and we need you here. Keep trying until you figure out what you need to do to take care of yourself and never, never quit.

Sandra Beck is the host of Military Mom Talk Radio a show dedicated to bringing issues, solutions and up to date information to our Military Families.  Mondays 2pm PST on Toginet.com. Also available for free on Itunes.  Sandra Beck is a writer for MilitaryConnection and a member of VAMBOA and Military Writer’s Society of America This Article appeared on http://www.militaryconnection.com.

Bouncing with Style, By Sandra Beck, Military Mom Talk Radio

I talk a lot about Bouncing. I like the word “Bounce” because it says to me that we just get knocked down and bounce right up again like a rubber ball. “Bounce” also sounds fun. I mean really how much fun are the words “recovery”, “adjustment” and “rebound.”

Chances are if you are alive reading this you will go through death, financial loss, separation and probably divorce in this lifetime at some point or another.  I got hit with all of those in the past few years all at once and it seemed like it would never end. My life was like a wave of pain that kept washing over me – only it didn’t cleanse me it just hurt.
Life is full of hurts and I think the military family goes through more than most civilian families. They have to say goodbye a lot more. They have to change a lot more. They also wonder if mom or dad is ever coming home and if they are what will that be like. These are some of the special conditions that our military families face on a daily basis. One of my radio show guests moved 19 times in “her” military career as did “her children.”  Yeah, it was the “dad” who served but one when enlists the whole family comes along for the ride.  I call the kids the “littlest soldiers” because they are serving too.

Because life is hard and bad things happen to all of us, I have learned that the way I phrase it in my head makes a big difference in my day.  If I get up and “bounce” I smile. If I am in “recovery” I frown.  Same things happened to me, but the way I choose to phrase them in my head make all the difference.

Take my divorce. It sucked. I was cheated on, then left alone with little kids and got the bills dumped on my head while my mom died of breast cancer. Any way you slice it – it sucked.  I could use the word “divorced” but that has such an icky feel to it. I choose the word “recycled” and I feel like I am helping the planet at the same time.

I don’t like to say I am in “abuse recovery” either.  That just sounds dismal. So I choose the phrase “I’m bouncing with style.”  And what does style mean??? – it means getting up every day , fixing my hair…putting on something other than sweats and greeting my future.  Do I hit the mark every day – not a chance.  But I try and do my best to phrase things in my head in a way that serves me.  Why do it any other way?  When life bowls me over, I bounce.  Do you?

Sandra Beck is the host of Military Mom Talk Radio a show dedicated to bringing issues, solutions and up to date information to our Military Families.  Mondays 2pm PST on Toginet.com. Also available for free on Itunes.  Sandra Beck is a writer for MilitaryConnection and a member of VAMBOA and Military Writer’s Society of America This Article appeared on http://www.militaryconnection.com.