Author Archives: Heather Aliano

Holiday Resources for Military Families


Our research tells us that many military families struggle with food insecurity and budget shortfalls. You may have trouble putting food on the table year-round, and this stress is even more apparent over the holidays.  We believe that all families should have the resources they need to serve their families healthy, nutritious meals and that…

The Tenant Bill of Rights – What You Need to Know


This policy is a direct response to the many brave military families who shared their stories with us through our research, to members of Congress, to military leadership, and the media. It’s not easy to speak up, but here at MFAN, we know that data is powerful, and we appreciate the nearly 17,000 families who…

Changes are coming to the child care waitlist 


Child care is notoriously challenging to find. Across the country, families struggle to place their children in safe and affordable care and are often on waitlists for a significant amount of time. Military families often have extra considerations when seeking care for their children due to extended work hours, unexpected travel, and distance from family members and loved ones.  A new memo from…

When your spouse deploys without notice 


It was a Thursday in December, and I was cautiously navigating the Raleigh-Durham International Airport parking lot when my phone rang. It was my husband.    I answered, “Hello?”  “Hey, what are you doing?”  “I’m trying to figure out where I’m supposed to go to pick your mom up, so I can’t really talk. What’s up?”  “Well I just found…

Relationship Advice for Military Couples


This time of year is all about love and romance, but ask any couple and they’ll tell you a good relationship requires a lot more than just a card and some chocolates.  All relationships take work, but the added stressors of military life mean that military couples need to be especially conscious about taking care of their relationships with their spouse.  By…

Introducing the Military Housing Roundtable


It’s been exactly one year since MFAN shared the results of the 2019 Privatized Military Housing Survey with Congress. Since the first Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on February 12, 2019, we’ve shared what we’ve learned widely, we’ve met with the Department of Defense, with several of the Services, with GAO, with nonprofit and business…

Social Media Rules for Military Spouses 


Instagram, Facebook, and other social media apps are a fantastic way to keep in touch with loved ones at home and friends and neighbors from previous duty stations.  I love getting the chance to see my friends’ babies turn into kids and celebrate their latest successes in spelling bees and on the basketball courts.  But,…

Looking ahead: What to expect from MFAN in 2020


To our friends, followers, partners, and fellow military families: When we founded Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN) nearly seven years ago, we knew we wanted to connect leaders across the public and private sectors with the real lived experiences of military families. We knew there was a sea of goodwill and that people truly wanted…

Finding fitness support as a military spouse 


Are you hoping to spend more time focusing on your health and wellness?     Some of the most significant barriers to success to achieving personal fitness can be knowing where to find fitness resources or finding those resources only to have to pack and move shortly after. Fortunately, military spouses have access to a variety of gyms, fitness…

Where do you turn for help during a deployment?   


As military families, we expect separations. After a few decades of war, we’ve become accustomed to our service members coming and going for training, TDYs, and deployments. We know they are well-trained and are ready to answer their nation’s call, whenever it comes.   What we aren’t always ready for is the timing, especially when deployments…

Setting SMART Goals for a New You


Judging by my social media feeds, most people are setting resolutions for 2020 with the hope of being a little bit happier and healthier in 2020. If you’re focusing on health and wellness in the New Year, you aren’t alone! This time of the year, the gym is packed and everyone seems to be starting a new…

Is Military Life Worth the Wear and Tear?


As I write this, my husband is sitting on the couch with his foot, bandaged and bruised, propped up in front of him. We are getting ready to celebrate the New Year, but we won’t be out dancing this time. This is the third time this year that he’s recovered from surgery on the couch. All…

Ask Me About Our Holiday Apart


My husband and I have been together for almost twenty years. We have spent literally dozens of holidays apart due to deployments, his TDYs, and my work travel. Our first separation as a couple was in the days following 9/11, and time spent apart has been the norm ever since. My children, who are still…

Help is not a Four-Letter Word 


As a chaplain, I have the opportunity of spending a lot of time with service members and their families. I often see them through the best and worst moments of their lives, but most importantly, I see them in the everyday moments too.  Just last month, I participated in a “Families of the Deployed” event…

A Military Family Holiday Story


This guest post is by Joanna Guldin, a member of our 2019-2021 Advisory Board. This is the second post in a series titled The Resiliency of Military Families: Sharing the Whole Story. It was the first Christmas of our marriage. It also happened to be the first and only time I had eaten Christmas dinner…