by Sean O’Driscoll, Guest Contributor
Well, it’s May and you know what that means, Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Each year, one day in May is dedicated to those of us who are married to a service member who is selflessly serving or has served this great nation.
Some places will have sales, special gifts, and some military oriented organizations, such as the USO or MCCS, will put together an event to show their appreciation for what we do behind the scenes. Here is a sample of Military Spouse Appreciation Day events at bases around the world.
And then I saw this:
Is it nice to be appreciated for all that we do? Sure it is!
But sadly, it seems that year after year, the organizers of Military Spouse Appreciation Day events forget that military spouses include men.
I went to a military spouse event when I lived in Jacksonville, Fl. My wife was TAD for a month in Kentucky so I figured “what the hell, I’ll go check it out.” I drove the 45 minutes to the Veterans Memorial Arena and walked in.
I walked out 10 minutes later. “What a waste” I thought to myself. Don’t believe me?
Take a look at this local news’ video clip of the event. There you can see what I walked into and out of.
Sorry USO, but you fell way short on that event. I didn’t go the following year.
I asked the guys of Macho Spouse what they thought of Military Spouse Appreciation Day and, well, they were honest.
“Why not call it what it really is, military wife appreciation day,” said one male military spouse. “How are they supposed to get men to come to these events if all they hand out is women-themed gifts?” said another male military spouse.
“I always forget that there is a thing until my wife says something, usually a couple days later, ‘hey the other day was spouse appreciation day. So, thank you!’” said another male spouse.
Yes I am sure we can make use of the female-oriented freebies but that is not the point. If you’re going to make an event “all-inclusive” then make it “all-inclusive.” Having an event filled with feminine-themed products and giveaways and then calling it a spouse appreciation day is about as far from the truth as you can get.
Even the flyers and posters they design prove my point.
Why Not Call Military Spouse Appreciation Day What It Really Is — Military Wife Appreciation Day Mixed With Mother’s Day!
You want guys to feel included? Why don’t you actually have things that I don’t know, guys would like? I’d be more than happy to get a growler of a local brewery’s beer or some grilling tools or even a gift card to a sporting goods store such as Bass Pro Shops.
“How about a bottle of whiskey?” suggested one male military spouse. “We aren’t that hard to shop for,” said another male military spouse.
“There isn’t anything I can do with a free Ann Taylor dress except make about 20 shop rags out of it” I told someone. “But you can give it to your wife” someone said.
This is how it would go, “Hi honey, I got you a free dress because it’s Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Hope you like it!”
You can only hear that so many times before you just give up. Why try when no one else seems to be?
Dave Etter, a male military spouse and one of the moderators of Macho Spouse, was interviewed a while back along with Chris Field and they were asked about Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Here is what they had to say.
Often Military Spouse Appreciation Day events are tied together with Mother’s Day events. As you can tell, there clearly is a disconnect here.
Even though I am writing this before Military Spouse Appreciation Day, I can already tell you what my fellow male military spouses and I will be doing. We will be toasting each other, via Facebook, with a glass of our favorite drink of choice.
Another year and still, nothing has changed. Cheers fellas!
Sean P. O’Driscoll is an emergency medical technician and has been a military spouse for 6 years. His experiences in military spouse groups lead to his decision to start writing as a military spouse. More of his writings can be seen at militaryspouse.com.