Military spouse club members are snobby, uptight and always wear pearls. That was my unfavorable first impression after being welcomed to a military spouse club garden party nearly 8 years ago this September.
Boy was I wrong.
Since that garden party, I realized that military spouse clubs, for either officers or enlisted, are a wonderful avenue to quickly make friends with similar interests and to connect with women and men who can answer my endless questions. (Who is your hairdresser?) The military spouse club is the ultimate welcome wagon when you move to a new military installation. Literally every club member has been in your shoes and they can’t wait to share their knowledge with you.
Haven’t joined a military spouse club yet? What’s your excuse? What misconceptions do you have?
Here are 3 military spouse club myths debunked once and for all.
Cookie-Cutter Military Spouses
I’ve known military spouses with Mohawks and unconventional hair coloring. She has a bright tattoo on her bicep and sells homemade jewelry on Etsy. He is a veteran who stays at home with their children. There isn’t a cookie-cutter military spouse.
Today’s military spouse club members are as diverse as the Armed Forces itself. There are people from every race, culture, and background. There are spouses who work outside the home and others may be homeschooling their children. The group is made up of spouses who may or may not have children. Their spouse may be retired from the military. Male spouses are becoming more active members in recent years. I think that happened around the time the word “wives” was replaced with “spouses” in the nonprofit organizations’ names. Most recently partners of gay and lesbian service members have been welcomed as club members. I love seeing the diversity of the military reflected in the spouse club.
It’s Only Bunco
Each military spouse club has its own history, culture and mission statement. Many clubs have a social chair, a volunteer who organizes a variety of events to appeal to today’s military spouse. This chairperson wants your participation. She wants you to stop watching “Army Wives” reruns and leave your house to socialize with other military spouses.
This may be a Bunco night or it may be a book club. Many clubs offer smaller interest groups that range from running clubs to cooking nights. The Fort Irwin Military Spouses and Civilians’ Club has roller derby, photography and swimming groups.
At my current military spouse club in Monterey, Calif., I prefer to participate in the educational social events. For example, last week I attended a private pickling workshop for military spouses at a Pacific Grove cannery. In February, a local chocolate extraordinaire explained how to make high quality sea salt caramels at a workshop that included samples. Military spouse events are much more than Bunco.
If the current social events don’t appeal to you, offer to organize an event that does appeal to you. The social chair will be happy for your suggestion instead of a complaint. Plus you will meet military spouses with similar interests.
Social Media Replaces Spouse Clubs
This statement is blatantly false. With Twitter, Facebook, and blogging, military spouses aren’t required to leave their houses to connect with other spouses. But studies have shown that social media shouldn’t be our sole source of connection. It doesn’t replace face-to-face time with a friend.
Whether you are a new or seasoned spouse, you should consider joining a military spouse club. Military spouse clubs are a benefit of military life. Take advantage of them.