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Family Matters Blog: Blogger Shares Radio Experience

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 13, 2010 – It was minutes before my radio debut on Military Mom Talk Radio, and I was a nervous wreck. I clung to my comprehensive notes – aimed at highlighting the past 10 months of Family Matters – with slightly shaky hands while I tapped my foot compulsively under my desk.

As you've probably gathered, radio appearances aren't my strong suit. But I was pushing past my performance anxiety with the aim of spreading the word about Family Matters, a blog that I hope has been a useful resource to our military families over the past year.


Concerned about filling an hour guest slot, I had asked Vivian, a regular guest blogger for Family Matters, to join me on the show. I knew she’d have some great input and also help attract more guest bloggers, an ongoing goal of mine.

After we both called in and while on hold, Vivian and I instant messaged back and forth to distract ourselves from our nerves. We both had locked ourselves in our bedrooms and crossed our fingers that our children wouldn’t come knocking at the door.

And then it was time, and I heard the introductions begin. My nervousness quickly faded away as I bantered with the hosts about my Air Force days, particularly about my challenges when I was an active-duty single mom of two. But I was glad when the topic switched after break to the challenges military families face, a topic I try to focus on often in Family Matters.

The host, Sandra, asked me which challenges I hear about the most. "Childcare, Tricare and education," I told her. After nearly a year of writing the blog, I've heard these issues echoed in many different forums and speeches. Spouses often talk about the difficulties of supply and demand for childcare, and the need for more drop-in care for appointments, particularly when their spouse is deployed. Tricare, the military's health insurance, is an ongoing area of concern. Military families have trouble reaching people over the phone and parents of children with special needs have expressed concerns about the care that's covered under Tricare. As for education, concerns range from easing school transitions for military children to caring for Guard and Reserve children attending civilian schools.

Vivian also spoke about her work with Blue Star Families as the research and policy director and touted the Blue Star Museums program, which offers military families free tickets to museums throughout the nation.

Before I knew it, we were on the last segment of the show. I squeezed in a few words about my recent trip to Iraq with Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, which I wrote about recently in Family Matters in "Blogger Joins Dr. Biden Visiting Troops in Iraq."

Sandra asked me what I took away from that trip. "A deeper appreciation for our servicemembers and the families holding down the homefront," I told her.

And then it was over. It was a great experience and I'm so glad I did it. I hope, by doing so, more of our military families will start reading Family Matters and maybe a few of those readers will decide to guest blog about their experiences, both good and bad, as a military family.

If you'd like to hear the podcast of yesterday's show, visit Military Mom Talk Radio at http://militarymomtalkradio.wordpress.com/.

To comment on this blog, please visit the Family Matters blog.

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