Final week for Tricare open season selection is here

Last week my dentist held an informational meeting for military retirees to help navigate the maze thousands of military families have suddenly found themselves in – choosing their medical coverage through Tricare, otherwise known as open season.

I was the youngest person in the room, by about 20 years. And the consensus among attendees and medical professionals was: this first year of Tricare open season is a confusing one.

The kids are fine, in fact, military kids are incredible

The oldest of my two kids turned 17 this week. In true mom fashion, I spent most of the day of his birthday reminiscing about when he was born, and where he’s been.

And wondering where he will go.

He was conceived in Hong Kong, grown on Okinawa, and born in Korea.

He’s lived in 11 houses and moved to Florida, Germany, Florida, Kansas, Germany, Canada, Germany and, finally, Florida again. In 10th grade, he started his eighth school.

Don’t Panic

I woke up in Tokyo around 2 a.m., my bed shaking. Earthquake.

In Hawaii we had a gripping hour-long wait after a tsunami warning was issued and then recalled.

In North Carolina a vicious winter storm brought the entire east coast to a standstill. We were left without electricity for nearly a week. We didn’t have blankets or warm clothes either since the storm delayed our household goods’ delivery.

Military family: The ties that bind and support

My husband retired from the Army five full years ago. It feels like a lifetime ago.

Five years without ceremonies, packing, early morning PT or deployment - five years without uniforms to clean or friends to say farewell to as they moved on to their next duty station.

We’ve settled quietly into civilian life, in a tiny town with a routine schedule that we once envied during our busiest PCS.

Money tops worries of military families

A new survey shows military families are worried about money.

No kidding.

The Military Family Advisory Network conducted a recent study that showed the stressors toping military families worry list are financial problems associated with health care, education, child care and frequent moves.

After my husband retired, multiple civilian friends asked us if we missed what they dubbed the “cash flow” from Uncle Sam – housing allowance, access to commissaries, discounts from retailers, deployment pay.

Change to maternity leave rules long overdue

Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, made headlines earlier this year for announcing that she vowed to change senate rules to make it easier for future senators to take maternity leave.

In fact she told CNN, it was ridiculous that these types of changes were still making headlines in 2018.

She’s right. The U.S. lags far behind the rest of the developed world in granting workers not just maternity leave, but also any guaranteed paid leave of any kind. The U.S., in fact is the only advanced economy that does not mandate paid sick or maternity leave.

Retirement means change for military kids too

My kids started their first post-retirement school in August. A couple of months in, I asked my 16-year-old if he had made any friends yet.

“Not really,” he said. “There just aren’t any other kids like me.”

We often talk about how active duty servicemembers lose their bearings when they leave the military. They might feel lost, their feeling of purpose gone and their sense of working toward a clear objective stripped away. Their peers are no longer around to share war stories. They feel like they have nothing in common with anyone.

Families Spending Less on School Supplies This Year

Still checking the items off on your child’s school supply list? Still searching for the best deals?

So is everyone else.

A recent survey by the National Retail Federation shows that families are trying to spend less on back to school shopping this year. The survey found that average families will spend $634.78, down from last year’s average of $688.62.

Still, nationwide, back to school sales are expected to top $26.7 billion. And that’s not just money spent on paper and pencils.

Clothing and accessories top those lists, followed by electronics.

For Military Spouses
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