Real Life Communication Tips for Milfams This Holiday Season

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This blog post is part of a paid Megan Media and AT&T/Kyocera blogging program for #DuraForce4MyMilitaryFamily. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

‘Tis the season…

…for a lot of separated military families to feel lonely and cut off from their families and friends. While deployments, separations and PCS-ing is never easy, the holidays make it even tougher.

And let’s be honest, if you’re in a military family, you’re missing something, whether it’s a spouse, your parents, your children, dear friends or other important people in your life. And let’s not talk about being homesick.

All in all, Thanksgiving through New Years can be a really tough time for military families.

Make time to talk

The holidays can feel like a whirlwind — especially if you’re solo-parenting or taking on more responsibilities than you usually do. Still, it’s important to treat yourself (and practice self-care) by making a point to make time for the people you love. Whether it’s your in-laws, your sister across the country or your husband in a different land, be sure to connect over the holidays.

Use the most effective communication tools you can find

It can be easy to get twisted out of whack if things don’t go as planned. Haven’t talked to your spouse in a while? Use all of the tools at your disposal. Depending on where your other half is located, social media may be more readily accessible and usable than the telephone. Perhaps email is the only mode of communication that works well. Maybe Facebook’s video app works better than Skype (it did for us when John was deployed). Figure out the best means of communication, and then be okay with it. A text may not have the same romantic ring as a phone call, but if that’s what keeps you in touch with the person you love, does it really matter?

Plan for the holidays

No matter which holiday you celebrate, make a point to share some of your traditions with the people you love who are far away. This might mean using Facebook live to record the kids opening presents from Santa, taking tons of photos of the lighting of the menorah and sending them in an email or through Dropbox, or calling your loved one to so you can enjoy the countdown to 2017 together.

Make new traditions

The first Christmas John and I spent together, we ate Christmas dinner on the floor… at 3 PM in the afternoon… right before he had to go to work. We didn’t even have a chance to open presents before he left. It was not the most picture-perfect Christmas we spent together, and we couldn’t observe many of our families’ traditions, but we still made it special. In lieu of those traditions, we created some of our own: We baked a candy-cane shaped cherry cheesecake breakfast bread, bought and made special ornaments for the tree and filled each other’s stockings with goofy bits and pieces that made sense only to us. Document your new traditions and share them with the people you love who can’t be there with you. They will be so happy you’re making an effort to share your life with them.

Be prepared

Communication is the lifeblood of any relationship. Make sure you have the tools and services you need to keep in touch with the people you love, especially during the holidays. AT&T and Kyocera are partnering to offer military families service discounts and durable equipment.

If you’re looking for a reliable, take-no-prisoners phone, Kyocera’s DuraForce PRO phone is the choice for you. Check it out:

  •   It can be submersed in 6.5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes.*
  •   It has military-grade protection against shock, vibration, temperature and humidity, and is certified for use in hazardous locations.*
  •   It allows you to take video and pictures with three different cameras: front-facing with 5MP, rear-facing with 13MP and a wide-view, 135-degree angle camera with 1080p HD video. Oh yeah, it also has underwater photo and video mode, too.
  •   It is water-, dust- and drop-proof, and is shock-resistant.*
  •   It has a built-in fingerprint sensor.
  •   It can be used while you’re wearing gloves or when the screen is wet.
  •   It has a two-year warranty.

If you want to save a little cash this holiday season, consider AT&T’s Military IRU program. It provides a 15% discount** on qualifying monthly service charges for all military members regardless of branch, including the National Guard (military family members  who live at the same address as the military member also qualify). Find out more about the program here. You could also receive up to $650 in credits*** per line when you trade in a smartphone and buy a new one on AT&T Next®.

Kyocera and AT&T have teamed up to make the holidays a little brighter for one lucky Jo, My Gosh! reader. Enter to win a Kyocera DuraForce PRO phone and you might be the one giving your loved ones a jingle on your brand new phone!  Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Kyocera DuraForce PRO: Certified for IP68; protection against dust and water immersion for up to 30 minutes in up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) of water. Only device cameras are intended to operate underwater using Underwater Mode. Avoid using your phone in saltwater. It is highly corrosive and can damage internal components and degrade audio performance over time. Always rinse phone in fresh water immediately after using it underwater. Water in the phone’s open microphone and speaker ports may affect outbound audio quality and speaker performance. These are temporary conditions and will subside once the phone is dry. Before immersing your phone in water, make sure all ports and covers are properly seated, with no foreign objects obstructing the seals, to maintain the waterproof capability. Phone should never be used underwater with broken/missing/open SIM/microSD port-cover. Refer to User Guide about how to dry your phone and using the phone’s Underwater Mode. Dry your phone with a clean cloth before charging. Certified IP68, full dust and waterproof protection. Can be immersed for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 6.5 feet (2 meters). Military Standard 810G protection against shock, vibration, temperature extremes, blowing rain, low pressure/high altitudes, solar radiation, salt fog, humidity, water immersion, temperature shock, and icing/freezing rain.

**15% Service Discount: Avail. to (a) qual. gov’t employees providing valid gov’t employee ID card or current paystub; (b) qual. military veterans providing either a Dept. of Defense Form DD214 indicating an honorable discharge or a valid retired military ID or current AMVETS membership card; and (c) qual. spouses of active duty or deceased military service personnel providing a valid Dept. of Defense sponsorship card. Offer requires eligible verification in AT&T & authorized retailer stores & is subject to change or discontinuation w/out notice. Eligible indv. must take personal liability for his/her account. Discount applies only to recurring monthly svc. charge of qual. voice & data plans, not overages. Not avail. w/unlimited voice plans. For all Mobile Share plans, applies only to the mo. plan charge of plans w/more than 300MB, not to add’l mo. device access charges. Add’l restr’s apply. May take up to 2 bill cycles after eligibility is confirmed & won’t apply to prior charges. Applied after application of any avail. credit. May not be combined w/other svc. discounts. Visit a store for details.

***$650 Offer: Limited time. Port from elig. carrier on their term agmt or device plan, buy smartphone on AT&T Next or AT&T Next Every Year installment agmt w/elig. svc & remain active & in good standing for 45 days. Credits may not equal total switch costs. Trade-in: Must be in good working condition w/min. $10 trade-in value, on line ported in, & meet program reqmts. Get instant credit/promo card (in 3 wks) for use only to buy AT&T products/svc. Final Bill: W/in 60 days must go to & upload/mail final bill w/ETF or device balance (incl. lease purch.) on port. Credit = device balance/ETF (exclusions apply) up to $650 minus trade-in. Get AT&T Promotion Visa Prepaid Card w/in 4 wks after meet all elig. reqmts (add’l terms apply). Promo & Prepaid Cards: valid for 5 mths & not valid for cash. Subj. to Wireless Customer Agmt. Deposit, fees, charges, usage & other restr’s apply. Coverage not avail. everywhere. Subj. to change. See for offer details. Each line reqs elig. service & qual. trade-in. $650 = trade-in credit (may be AT&T/store promo card) + prepaid card (w/in 90 days) for device balance/early termination fee amount less trade-in.

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