Witty and Wise, Milblogs Are a Voice for Military Spouses

Military blogs, or milblogs, are a popular voice for the families of American service members.

By Beth Dreher from Reader's Digest | December 2011 / January 2012

Blogger Lori VolkmanPhotographed by Robbie McLaran
Lori Volkman, an attorney and the wife of a Navy commander, started a blog in 2010 as a diary for her kids. “I kept going because I realized a lot of military families were starving to hear a version of military life that recognized the struggles associated with it,” she says. Wittylittlesecret.com is now one of the most popular “milblogs” out there. Here’s a post that went viral — a fake order addressing Volkman’s husband in the Middle East as he prepared to come home. His reaction to being teased? “He laughed,” she says.

(See a list of popular milblogs.)

Operation Order to My Deployed Husband

I. SITUATION Civilian Home Group, West (CIVHOMGRU), has recently identified threat “military brain,” aka MILBRAIN, a condition that hinders communication and family reintegration and that requires immediate and ongoing resolution. Current unit is composed of:

• Civilian leader MOM • Two rogue operatives known as Operative–1st Born and Operative–2nd Born • DAD (deployed)

II. MISSION Prepare for reintegration of DAD into CIVHOMGRU by:

Disintegration of MILBRAIN Introduction of counter-components DADBRAIN and HUSBANDBRAIN Reintroduction of concept “feel” Suppression of dictatorial hierarchy, oligarchy, and misogyny

Accomplish DAD homecoming 2011 with goal of fostering mental and emotional health of the family unit and avoiding any further loss of spousal consortium.

III. EXECUTION It is the intent of these maneuvers to prepare all members of the team for reintegration.

A. MOM, Operative–1st Born, and Operative–2nd Born will each practice elimination of all expectations related to basic everyday interactions. This will be accomplished by standing in front of a brick wall and attempting to engage it in conversation and elicit sympathy and/or compassion and attempting to get it to respond to external stimuli, touch, and/or tears.

B. DAD will increase situational awareness of social and nonverbal communications of others. This will be accomplished by standing in front of a mirror, making eye contact, and practicing HOME phrases such as “I’m sorry,” “Let’s get through this together,” and “I understand what you’re saying.”

Upon completion of these basic maneuvers, DAD should progress to more advanced maneuvers such as SMIRK and WINK, the “HUBBA-HUBBA” (two successive eyebrow raises), and NODDING.

IV. SERVICE SUPPORT The critical supporting actors and services required to sustain the unit during this operation include:

DAD‘s emotive alter ego, which has been suppressed for the past year MOM‘s noncontrolling alter ego, which has been suppressed for the past year Operative–1st Born and Operative–2nd Born‘s obedient alter egos, which have been suppressed for the past year

Upon reentry to the CIVHOMGRU, DAD should consider the following services and materials for future maneuvers DATE and WOO:

• Class I (subsistence): fine-dining establishments, wine bars, candlelight, or sunset-view venues • Class II (individual equipment): razor, aftershave, deodorant, mouthwash, elbow cream, and civilian clothing • Class III (major end items): flowers, jewelry, chocolate, handwritten notes or cards, and perfume

In preparation for such availability of services, DAD may spend time on the Internet reviewing what these items look like, how they are utilized, and where they can be obtained upon delivery to the assembly point.

V. COMMAND AND CONTROL Upon reintegration, unit commanders MOM and DAD are expected to operate in a JOINT ENVIRONMENT for all operational and tactical maneuvers.

A. Command The higher unit commander is GOD. If you suffer from the delusion that you are GOD, then knock it off. You are not. Your spouse and children are not subordinates; they are your support.

B. Signals This operation specifically prohibits use of the following signals: silence, thousand-mile stare, dirty looks, shark eyes, loss of consciousness during conversation, and drama (aka “pyrotechnics”) of any kind.

Signed, Mom, COMMANDER, CIVHOMGRU, WEST

———–

The Lives of the Wives (and One Husband)

Our Crazy Life (mama2six.blogspot.com): Mom to six kids, ages 4 to 18, and wife of an Army National Guard officer, Athena Goldinger Hall posts about the challenges of military life and reviews books.

A Little Pink in a World of Camo (alittlepinkinaworldofcamo.blogspot.com): Twenty-four-year-old war widow and mom to a 22-month-old daughter, Rachel Jewell Porto blogs about staying positive after the 2010 death of her husband, Marine Cpl. Jonathan Porto.

The Invisible Wounded (theinvisiblewounded.blogspot.com): Finalist for the Milbloggie award for U.S. Military Spouse Blog of the Year in 2010, Gina Hill writes about her husband Allen’s struggle with PTSD.

The Army Wife (Dude) (thearmywifedude.blogspot.com): Stay-at-home dad to two sons, Wayne Perry, posts about finding his way as one of the few male spouses on a military base in Kansas while his wife is deployed in Afghanistan.

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