New babies come with all sorts of challenges — sleep is difficult, finances are tighter, social time is more limited, and the list goes on. For new military moms, who face the unique challenges of military life, finding resources and support is vital.
Here are four resources to help you navigate the role of being a new military parent:
1. ASYMCA Food Pantry
Unfortunately, financial strain is very common for new military parents. Some of the benefits of having a new baby that the military used to provide have been removed. For example, service members no longer get additional pay based on family size.
Sometimes military families struggle financially after having a new baby even if they have never had trouble with money in the past. If this sounds like your situation, please know two things: (1) This is normal. Babies are expensive. There is no reason to feel shame if you need financial help for a while. And, (2) help is available!
The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) offers food pantry services at many of its locations. Services differ by location, but may include food pantries that military families can come “shop” at, food distribution events, holiday meals, and more. Since March 2020, the ASYMCA has distributed 5 million pounds of food and helped over 38,000 military families with food insecurity!1
2. Childcare Services
One of the biggest issues facing military moms and families is childcare. Military families are often far away from family support, so they can’t count on family for childcare and because they move so frequently, it can be hard to get their child enrolled in a childcare facility in a timely fashion. This is something that I have struggled with as a military spouse. My closest family members are thousands of miles away and many of the childcare options near me are either too expensive or have extremely long waitlists.
Fortunately, the ASYMCA offers diverse childcare services. Some examples of childcare services that may be available near you are:
- Operation Little Learners — this is more of a playgroup than childcare, but it still supports military families and can help give stay-at-home parents a bit of a break
- Operation Hero — an after-school program designed to help and support military kids
- Children’s Waiting Room — a childcare program located inside many military hospitals that will look after children so that parents can attend appointments
3. Baby Bundle Program
Another great option to help take some of the stress off new military moms and families is the ASYMCA Baby Bundle Program. This program provides newborn essentials, such as diapers, wipes, onesies, clothing, toys, books and more to military parents at no cost. Check with your local ASYMCA branch to see if this program is available in your area!
4. ASYMCA Spouse Symposium
Being a new military parent is hard. Finding community and support among other military spouses can be vital to surviving parenthood and its challenges. To look for a military family support group in your area, search for “military family support groups near me.”
Each year, the San Diego branch of the ASYMCA organizes a Spouse Symposium to help connect military spouses within their community and hopefully make new friends. The symposium offers a variety of workshops and spouses can choose to attend what interests them!
Reach out to your Local ASYMCA
The ASYMCA supports military families by providing various programs, events, and resources that help improve quality of life and ease some of the unique challenges that military families face due to their service to the country. The ASYMCA offers many more military parents benefits and programs. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your local ASYMCA branch to find out what resources are available near you!
1Food Assistance and Emergency Food Relief