You may have noticed a new writer has joined the team. Claire Shackelford has been blogging about military family issues for years, contributing to sites like YouServed, Wives in Bloom and Christian Military Wives, not to mention her own blog, Colloquial Soliloquy.
Having been a military daughter, mother and spouse at different times, Claire is a bit of a rarity in the military community. Pulling from her many experiences, Claire now writes mainly from a military parent’s perspective.
With a master’s degree in social work, Claire taught creative journaling to MS patients on the side while working in the field and says creative writing has been a passion for years.
When her son was first deployed to Iraq in 2007, Claire started her blog to help her meet people in similar positions as well as keep in touch with her son. From her first blog post, entitled “It’s all fun and games until someone gets deployed!” to today, Claire says her No. 1 goal is to write something that “connects people together with a common problem, pain or life event.”
When comparing the amount of information and support given to her as a spouse while her husband was in basic training to the support given as a parent during her son’s first deployment, Claire noticed there is a huge disparity. Family Readiness Groups, other support groups and the general flow of information highly favor military spouses.
This may work for a number of service members, but younger single members have their parents serve as a main source of contact back home and they are severely disadvantaged, Claire says.
“Basically parents need to know that their feelings are valid, that their concerns are normal and that they are not the only ones feeling left out of the information loop. I was lucky to have access as a spouse to circles I would not have normally been a part of. It made a difference. I want to offer that now to other parents.”
By sharing experiences and resources, Claire is helping unite parents as an active and important part of the military family. The following quote best summarizes what Claire brings to the community:
“I was that mother five years ago; up late at night, full of fear and anxiety and feeling disconnected from the military while my soldier was in the heat of battle. I would search for information only to come up empty handed. I would look for other Blue Star parents online only to come to old forums that were long ago abandoned. Let’s face it, I don’t care who you are, it’s not natural for a parent to see a child go to war. It goes against all we have done for them for their whole lives! Parents need to feel that they are an active and vital part of the life and well being of their soldier. I hope I can show them that it can be done, and that their role is important and they can be empowered to reach out to their own son or daughter and to other veterans as well.”
If you’re a Blue Star Parent or know one, keep an eye out for Claire’s future contributions!