I've heard all the derogatory remarks about military spouses, "dependapotamus", "She has no aspirations of her own, that's why she advertises she is a military spouse", "You carry an ACU purse? Why not just wear his uniform?" Yes, someone actually said last one that to me.
What really gets me is when someone makes fun of a spouse simply because they have an Army/Navy/Marine/Air Force spouse shirt, bumper sticker, etc. Seriously people? Would someone get a hard time for having a "Soccer Mom/ Dad", sticker or shirt? How about one of those "My kid made the Honor roll" stickers. No, because we like to show off our pride for the people we love, there is no shame in that. At least there shouldn't be.
We are labeled as not having a life of our own. Being lazy, piggybacking on our spouse's glory, or wearing our spouse's rank (I realize that this does happen but in my experience, the majority of spouses are extremely level headed and don't care in the least about rank). The hatred and stereotypes just go on and on. It's really quite sad. The worst part is that generally, it comes from within the military community! We should be supporting each other, not tearing each other down.
Being a military spouse, is part of who we are, a big part. It does not completely define us, but it does play a major role in our lives. We live where we live because of being a military spouse. Our employment changes because of being a military spouse. Yes, some of us are lucky enough to have found a job we can take with us wherever we go, but depending on what we do, we may have to build up a whole new client base when we move.
We miss our spouse when they leave. And they leave a lot. There's the endless training and staff duty. And yes, deployments are the worst. We don't get to celebrate most birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays with them. We live a large part of our married lives alone. Fathers miss the birth of their children because they are on the other side of the world and Skype is not always an option.
We comfort our young children when they cry because they just don't understand why their parent left for so long. We comfort our older children because they do understand why their parent is gone and they miss and worry about them. We have to tear these children away from friends, schools, jobs that they have grown to love because the military has decided we need to move across the country. Or sometimes even a different country.
We scrimp and we save and we DIY because contrary to what some people may think, the paychecks are nothing to write home about. Especially for lower enlisted folks with children. Many military families can't get by without food stamps or WIC. When my husband first enlisted, even though I worked, we still needed help. There were times we had to go to the food bank because we couldn't afford groceries.
Don't get me wrong, it isn't all bad, there are some amazing opportunities out there for military families. Plenty of programs and support systems set up on military installations that are in place to help us be more resilient. Family Readiness Groups (yes, I'm a big supporter of the FRG and you should be too! Don't not go just because you've heard bad things, or had a bad experience in the past with another FRG) that are in place just to help guide you to and make you aware of all of the resources available to you.
Although it is difficult uprooting every few years it also gives us the opportunity to explore different cultures and experience what it's like to live in places we never would have thought to live. You meet some of the most amazing kind-hearted people. People who would bend over backwards to help simply for the joy of helping. Friends who even though you only get a few years together tops, they will be your friend for a lifetime.
And do I even need to mention the overwhelming pride you get when you see your spouse in uniform, especially dress uniform? Or how about the first kiss after a year long deployment? Or, in my opinion one of THE best perks of being married to a service member, getting all dolled up for a military ball.
So yes, being a military spouse is a very big part of who we are and we should not feel ashamed to say it. Wear that "Air Force Wife" t-shirt, drink out of that "I love my Marine" coffee mug, slap that cute "Navy Wife" with anchor decal on something, and rock that Multicam purse complete with nametape and unit patch! Be proud that despite all the obstacles that come with military life you are still here and stronger for it. Not everyone can handle it, but you do and you do it beautifully. Don't let anyone tell you different
My life as a crafty housewife
I am a wife, mother, entrepreneur, and lover of all things crafty. This blog will include tutorials on some of my favorite crafts as well as my thought's on subjects that are important to me. I by no means claim to be an expert on any subject, just a creative girl who likes to DIY.