Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on the Military Spouse Advocacy Network website.
On April 17, 1984, Proclamation 5184 was set in place by President Ronald Reagan. This proclamation “recognized the profound importance of spousal commitment to the readiness and well-being of military members” (Military Benefits) In 1999, Congress officially made Military Spouse Appreciation Day part of the National Military Appreciation month. The Department of Defense later declared it to be the Friday before Mother’s Day.
Without shame, I can admit to not understanding the meaning of May to the military community. Somewhere in the second year of being a spouse, I realized why there were cupcakes in the bank regularly for a month. The community really does recognize spouses and is appreciative of those sacrifices! Understanding that others were appreciative of the sacrifices that myself and my family made, me reflect on what it all means to me.
What does the role military spouse mean? How does being a military spouse mix with your identity before you became a spouse? How do you show yourself appreciation for your spousal commitment?
It’s easy to get wrapped up in everything we have to do for other people, but what do we do for ourselves? This month for Military Spouse Appreciation, in honor of this let’s focus on the appreciation we have for ourselves.
This is a great way to show yourself appreciation for all the things you get done, things you are thankful for, and ways you care for yourself. If you also manage a regular schedule, this can give you a reminder to take a moment to appreciate yourself and your accomplishments.
They do say to treat yourself! Gift yourself with whatever speaks to your heart from a giving and appreciative perspective. Maybe you want a new pair of shoes, a power tool, or a bag. Maybe you just want a massage, a maid for a day or to take a break from work. Gift yourself something that speaks “thank you” to you.
Treat yourself as you want others to treat you. Focus on how you speak to yourself. When something goes wrong, do you belittle yourself or use harsh language? As humans, we typically focus on those bad experiences rather than appreciating all of the good things we do. Allow yourself room for error and be gentle to yourself. Anytime you find yourself saying something negative, take a step back and find a way to compliment yourself instead.
Happy May you hard working spouse!
The Military Spouse Advocacy Network (MSAN) has a mission to create stronger military families through education, empowerment, and support. MilHousing Network is proud to work in partnership with MSAN to help military families PCS better. To learn how MSAN can support you visit https://www.militaryspouseadvocacynetwork.org/.