The List: Helping military families

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By Sarah Berkshire

Many in the community give generously to support deployed soldiers, collecting supplies and goodies to mail overseas. But the families on the home front need support, too. Michelle Cuthrall, a writer, mother and military wife who has been through deployments, offers the following suggestions. For a more detailed list, check out her website, www.behindthebluestarbanner.com.

Supply free child care. With one half of the two-part parenting team down for the count for 12 to 15 months, the stress of raising children alone can sometimes become overwhelming. Offering free child care is one of the greatest gifts you can give to a military mom on the home front. It allows her time to herself and time to bring down the Super Mom front that she sometimes has to put on for her children so they know everything will be OK.

Prepare free food. There’s nothing worse than cooking for one on the home front. Offer church potlucks, organize social get togethers, drop a lasagna by a military friend’s house one day or invite a military family you know over for dinner.

Mow the lawn. For many of us, mowing the lawn is the task of our soldier. When he’s gone, there’s nothing we dread more than taking over the yard chores.

Provide encouragement. When all is said and done, the house will get taken care of. But not every home-front spouse will. Home-front spouses need to know someone cares about their situation, someone cares about their feelings, someone cares that they are serving our country, too. Taking time to love, encourage and emotionally support these spouses through cards, get togethers, phone calls, emails, late-night talks and small packages and gifts is absolutely the best present you can offer. When these home-front heroes feel emotionally supported, they can then support their families. When they support their families, they can then better support their soldiers by remaining stable on the home front. And when they support their soldiers, their soldiers can do their jobs confidently and safely.