No Key Spouse? No Problem!
We have had so many of y’all reach out to us about your key spouse experiences from what worked to what didn’t to…what even is a key spouse? Jen here! I became a key spouse almost a year ago after being at the same assignment for about 3 years and thinking, well who else would if not me? Even as I went through the training, and received the pin *eye roll*, I was well aware that this was a program with a lot of potential but a really bad rap or, in many cases, completely unheard of.
What is a Key Spouse?
To those who don’t know what a Key Spouse is, 1. I am sorry:/ and 2. The Key Spouse Program is an AF funded/Commander directed program that trains up a few spouses in each squadron to be essentially a welcome committee, leaders in the spouse group (party planning committee anyone?), and a source of knowledge of military aid programs for whatever curveballs life may through at you.
When a Key Spouse group in a squadron is healthy, this program really shines and the unity and morale of the squadron are amazing. On the flip side, if the Key Spouse group is divisive, or non-existent, it can really negatively affect the squadron and the spouses.
So what if your current squadron doesn’t have an active key spouse group or a healthy one? Well there are still ways to start a spouse group on your own without all the official training/KKG pin (where is my srat fam at? it’s a legit key-shaped pin and the ChiO in me dies every time I see it on my desk, lol)
What you have to work at…
Anywho, the things that you will have to work at: Legally, Key Spouses are able to store up rosters with other spouses’ contact info/addresses and so on. This may be a hurdle since you have no legal/ordained (idk?) right to obtain this info if you are not trained… obviously, unless you do it the normal human way of just swapping info with another spouse! A great way to keep everyone in contact is through a spouse Facebook page or a GroupMe.
Oh, and real quick, excuse me when I say “spouse” if you haven’t been around for a while it is important to us that we make it clear that our stance is “spouse OR significant other”! So many times we have heard of girlfriends feeling alienated from a spouse group or even just mentally putting up a block themselves.
Both of us did the long-distance thing as girlfriends which can be SO HARD and deserves credit in and of itself, and we both believe that it can almost be more difficult to be a girlfriend because you literally have no rights/access to anything. What does this mean for current spouses? You must be sooo intentional to reach out to the significant others! You were a girlfriend once too, weren’t you? A ring doesn’t mean that you miss your significant other any more than someone without. Okay, now that we are all on the same page, let’s move on to the next tip:)
Another piece of being a key spouse is having access to information about all of the different resources that the AF/Military has put in place to ease the burden on families. Anyone can get this info, but without the training, you just may need to do some digging. Firstly, you can try chatting with the First Sergeant in your squadron. They are supposed to have all of this info as well- their job is basically the squadron counselor and is trained on this info as well! You could also set up a meeting with the Family Readiness office on base to ask for any and all the info they can give you!
The fun part!
Finally, the fun part, really connect with the other spouses! Set up monthly socials, playdates, open up a shared calendar that people can post events that they want to host! This takes time, sacrifice, and a willingness on everyone’s part to succeed. The nights that I gripe about going to a spouse event because I just want to be lazy and stay home, I try to think about the new spouse who isn’t as comfortable as I am and how just by me going, she could meet one more friendly face. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when it comes to the spouse group, it. isn’t. just. about. you! So open up, enjoy, and let others in!!
Meet Jen + Kirst! We are two women doing our best to thrive in this Air Force wife life. Neither of us saw ourselves marrying into the military so when our time came, we were way in over our heads. After our desperate Google searches in an attempt to set our expectations for our new lives came up short, we felt called to make a difference for other Wives of the Air Force (WAFs) walking this same road. We are an organization dedicated to making the lives of new WAFs easier through everything we learned the hard way.
Read more about them at www.wivesoftheairforce.com