December 5, 2014 Sarah 53Comment

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There was resentment. There was bitterness. There were insults, name calling, generalizations, and discussions about topics like pay, status symbols, and who has a harder life; who makes the bigger sacrifices.

No, I’m not talking about the “mommy wars.”

I’m talking about the conversations between (mostly) active duty women and female spouses of soldiers and sailors. There were new players, but the crux of the argument was still the same. Each group felt they lived the most difficult life, that they deserved more recognition because of their own separate challenges.

I wrote a piece that outlined how I handle this aspect of my life. And many readers commented, saying that they understood because they also used many of these same strategies to move forward during difficult times. It was awesome to read how others also felt how I do; how they create a system to handle challenges, how they often feel at their limit, how they need their friends and especially, how they are so proud of their children.

Others used my article as a jumping off board, as a forum where they could insult and berate the title of “military spouse.” Where they could call us entitled, hollow, self-righteous whiners. Of course, military spouses argued back. I don’t mind the criticism or debate. We are all entitled to our own opinions, based on our own experiences. We can’t all agree on everything. But wow…the insults.

So many readers had so much to say. Our blog crashed on the second day after the piece was published, and after calls to our host, we put it back up at a faster speed. Our daily numbers soared through the roof, and since last Tuesday, haven’t slowed down.

And two words began to emerge in the conversation.

Victim.

Special.

Comments kept circling back to these two words. Some readers felt that I was writing as a victim, that I wanted pity because of the challenges I’ve faced in my years as a military wife.

I don’t.

Some talked about the subculture of military spouses, about how we as a group need to feel special in order to be successful. There were a few active duty men who explained that their wives were their rock; a special group of women who held them up through tough and unpredictable times, who pulled their family together during long separations.

But then, there were the active duty women. Some of these women were upset at the spouses for using the word “special,” (a word that was not in my piece, by the way.) These active duty soldiers and sailors argued that their life was harder, that they faced the difficult challenges, that we as spouses have a cushy and comfortable life, doing chores and buying groceries.

We all come from different perspectives. Some of us are stay at home parents, others are not. Some of us have children, and others do not. We all have challenges. But we cannot make this into a competition, about whose life is harder, about who has it worse. Active duty personnel put their life on the line on a regular basis. That is a huge sacrifice.

But military spouses give up things, too.

But that’s not what my piece was about. I don’t want to talk about whose life is harder.

It is unfortunate that through this conversation, there was so much bitterness. So much resentment. So much anger. I didn’t expect that from a community that preaches teamwork, that comes together with patriotism when ships pull into port or airplanes land at airports, welcoming soldiers home.

Our community, whether active duty or spouse, whether male or female, all struggle. I cannot, obviously, write from an active duty standpoint, but from what I have seen, active duty face serious challenges maintaining personal relationships and finding balance in their lives between their calling as a soldier and their family.

And spouses face different challenges. We live an unpredictable life, a life where we are married, but often don’t feel that way, a life where we want to have some stabilization, but we can’t. I know that sometimes I envy the husbands who get home at six, who can have dinner with their families, who don’t leave for work before the sun rises.

Does that mean I want pity? No.

Does that mean I view myself as a victim? Of course not.

But it’s a little sad. Sometimes it’s a lot sad.

Of course other people have it worse. But that doesn’t mean that I, or others in similar situations can’t miss their spouses.  My husband is the love of my life. When you marry someone, it’s because you want to spend as much time as possible with them. And when something keeps yanking that time away, it’s frustrating. There is never enough time.

It’s not because I need him to mow the grass, or take out the trash, (although that is nice) it’s because he’s my best friend. And without him, there’s a hole in my life. So life becomes more stressful, because sometimes, when I want my partner, my love, to help me through life or to share it with me, he just can’t.

There’s no victimization or feeling special there. It’s just heartbreaking. For both of us.

Want to read the original post, Ten Things you Don’t Want to Know about Military Wives?

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53 thoughts on “My Response to Yours…Ten Things About Military Wives Continues

  1. Sarah,
    I can speak from the perspective of an active duty sailor, military wife, military mom, AND military Brat. I’ve been on every side of the military fence that you can imagine. It’s a tough life that is often interspersed with the most amazing journey. I can promise you that it is worth every minute… even through the hardships. When I was on active duty, I was also a military wife & mom. At times I felt isolated because I there was a perception (or maybe as I reflect, just my sense of perception) that I was not a part of the military wives community because I was active duty. Regardless, I was so blessed to live around so many wonderful military wives who provided day care and thus made my life manageable. Fabulous women! When I left the military, I made it a point to reach out to the women in my husband’s command and include them in activities. When they were deployed, they stayed in touch with me and would send me letters & emails that had WAY more detail than I ever would have gotten from my husband. Some of them had husbands and children at home so I made sure that they had support too as often the military dads tend to shrink off into the woodwork. Sometimes all it takes is building the bridge.
    What it all boils down to is this… Honey you are doing just fine! Actually, usually more than fine… you are pretty awesome. Be nice to yourself & take whatever negative comments with a grain of salt. I promise you that what they have to say is WAY more about them than about you! You, my friend, are a fantastic role model for your children… I know… I grew up with a military mom. If you have a son, you are showing him what a strong woman can be. If you have a daughter, she is taking some serious notes on how to be in the world. You are the steady rock that supports your husband NO MATTER where he is. I promise you that he looks at a picture of you and your children or thinks about you all before he shuts his eyes at night.
    You just keep being a rock star military mom!

  2. Sarah,

    I think the conflict on the previous post speaks to the rift between active duty women and female spouses in general. I am an active duty female officer, and I can’t even begin to describe the way I’ve been treated by female spouses. I am shunned, treated like an enemy, it’s shocking and despicable. My other active duty female friends and I have all had the same experiences. There are a handful of spouses I have met who have been kind, but they have been spouses who work on bases, not the stay at home moms. I have no idea why this rift occurs. I have a friend of mine who is active duty and she’s married to another active duty officer and the spouses said she was not welcome at their functions because she’s active duty even though she is a military spouse. It’s really such a shame. The military community is challenging for everyone and it makes no sense for such bitterness to exist. We are all in this challenge together.

    1. Hi PRC,
      I guess I am naive, because I really had no idea this rift existed and was so strong. Really. However, once I started thinking about it, I realized that when I meet a spouse who then says she (mostly) is active duty, I do feel a bit uncomfortable. Why? Because I think she probably doesn’t want to be friends with me. I have thought that her life is more exciting than mine, so why would she want to be friends with me- a stay at home mom? Course, I am more than that…and more often than not, we’ve become friends. However, I always try to be kind. There’s no reason to be downright rude to anyone. I am so surprised to hear of your experiences, and that’s too bad. I wonder if they just think that active duty doesn’t understand their position and they want to be around people with similar experiences? I agree that we should be working together. Thanks for commenting and for the insight. This has been such a fascinating discussion to be a part of.
      – Sarah

      1. Sarah,

        That’s part of the problem. When we meet someone and feel uncomfortable, and feel like they aren’t a potential friend, the tone comes across. The bigger problem is that negative experiences on both sides of the fence cause future biases. I think you are correct that people tend to want to flock around people with similar lifestyles and experiences.

      2. Sarah,
        You don’t know about this, because you probably don’t associate with people like what PRC described (I as well in the other post). I can tell by the way you have responded to everything in the last two articles and your person accomplishments, you are not the caliber of person I, or any other has described as the bad behaving stereotype. You probably had no idea what was going to go down when you wrote the blog post, and I am sorry for you to learn about it this way. Trust me, it was a shock to me too, because as a military child- my mother shielded me from this by not associating with these folks. I would ask her sometimes why she didn’t hang out with so and so and she would just say, “we don’t have anything in common”. I would scratch my head at that one…but, now I get it.

        1. Thanks, sistersailor. I appreciate the thoughts. When I wrote the post, I thought it would be popular, as my last one, which had a more positive angle and was written a few years ago, was shared thousands of times. So…when I wrote this one I figured it would hop around a bit on social media. But neither Evie (my business partner) or I were prepared for what ensued! It is awesome to have so many opinions and comments, and social shares. Somehow, this post touched thousands of people in entirely different ways. I think it was you who mentioned this, in the other post, that I didn’t intend on the types of conversations that happened in the comments. But, I know that once a person publishes a piece of work, it no longer belongs to the writer. It now belongs to the readers. And each reader takes something different from it, based on their own perspective and background. That is the cool thing about reading the responses; the piece is different to everyone who reads it.

          I really appreciate your compliments here. I have not encountered these types of women that you speak of, but now that I’ve been part of this discussion, I think I’ll be more sensitive to interactions in the future. I am proud of my family and what we can do, and how we have managed the last decade or so. But it’s been hard, and I never know what’s coming around the corner.
          I have really enjoyed reading every single comment in both posts, and synthesizing it all. And as always, there’s so much more to say. :)

    2. PRC- I am very sorry that you have been treated this way. As a military spouse with over 22 years of marriage I am ashamed at the way you have been treated. People that do so are a reflection of their insecurities, please know that it has nothing to do with you personally. I have many friends that are both active duty women, military spouses (both officer and enlisted) so I know that forming friendships can be done. I wish all this fighting between spouses and active duty would stop, but I think, sadly, that it is a function of women in relationships in general that is on the fire and the active duty/spouse divide is just making it worse. {{{HUGS}}} to you and know that there are decent women out there that would be friend you in a heartbeat.

    3. I can tell you why there is a rift. As a military wife of 15 years my enlisted husband warned me to stay away from the wives clubs period. Those wives that participate consume themselves with their husbands rank and advancing his career. Many have operated under the thought that their volunteer hours, command involvements, ect have something to do with the advancement of their active duty spouses. The active duty members view the spouses as “dependapotimus”. (Look it up lots of very degrading memes). The dynamic is us vs them. So long as that is the case there will continue to be a rift. Also with respect to the sub group of female active duty, they are a tight click that sticks together. Further heightening the us vs them dynamic. Just my 2 cents for what it’s worth.

      1. I, as an army wife, volunteer and do everything I can to help my husband and his career. Trust me: your spouse’s command knows if they have a good spouse or not, and they know who wears the pants in the relationship. I choose to be a supportive wife because it does look good to the army. You can argue all you want but it’s a fact. But our group is not cliquey. Being a military wife is more than just holding the fort down.

        1. Your volunteer does not help his advancement! Cute that you think you know the Military

    4. I’m a milspouse and I can’t stand the wives group. Not all, but most of them are horrible. I got married and had my children before the military. I’m tired of the ignorance some of these wives possess.

    5. I’m sorry that you’ve had that experience. I’m kind of the opposite. I’m a stay at home mom and all of my female friends were active duty in my husband’s unit. When they deployed I “lost” my husband and my best friends. But I got to send really funny care packages to them that my husband wouldn’t have cared about at all. Lol

      I hope that you have better luck with wives at your next post.

    6. Wow, this is such an interestingly different experience than any I’ve had in 13 yrs as an army spouse. I am a stay at home mom. Yes, I have worked before but having kids and supporting my husbands unit has been my full-time work for the past 9 years. When I meet female soldiers I am thrilled, I have never interacted with one with any hint of the awkwardness you mention. Truly. I have at least as many active duty female soldier friends as I do military spouse friends and it’s amazing. I love and adore them. They are women just like me. Many are mom’s just like me. They are funny and insanely sweet and super smart and incredibly well rounded. They are exactly the kind of women i want to surround myself with. Just like my military spouse friends. I am so very sorry for the negative experience you’ve had. It’s so sad. I hate that others have not been able to experience the same coexistence, because it is such a deep personal loss for both sides to not embrace once another and celebrate our commonalities (there are so many!). But I’m here to share my own personal testimony that the interrelations of female spouses and soldiers is no myth. In fact, it’s quite alive and well, thriving really. I hope you find a tribe of women with the labels peeled off. It’s such a good place to be. Please know that for every spouse that (knowingly or unknowingly) made you feel awkward or disregarded as friend potential, there were more who would jump at the chance to get to know you and embrace a new friendship. Cheers to ALL the ladies.

    7. Wow, this is such an interestingly different experience than any I’ve had in 13 yrs as an army spouse. I am a stay at home mom. Yes, I have worked before but having kids and supporting my husbands unit has been my full-time work for the past 9 years. When I meet female soldiers I am thrilled, I have never interacted with one with any hint of the awkwardness you mention. Truly. I have at least as many active duty female soldier friends as I do military spouse friends and it’s amazing. I love and adore them. They are women just like me. Many are mom’s just like me. They are funny and insanely sweet and super smart and incredibly well rounded. They are exactly the kind of women i want to surround myself with. Just like my military spouse friends. I am so very sorry for the negative experience you’ve had. It’s so sad. I hate that others have not been able to experience the same coexistence, because it is such a deep personal loss for both sides to not embrace once another and celebrate our commonalities (there are so many!). But I’m here to share my own personal testimony that the interrelations of female spouses and soldiers is no myth. In fact, it’s quite alive and well, thriving really. I hope you find a tribe of women with the labels peeled off. It’s such a good place to be. Please know that for every spouse that (knowingly or unknowingly) made you feel awkward or disregarded as friend potential, there were more who would jump at the chance to get to know you and embrace a new friendship. Cheers to ALL the ladies.

  3. I just want to say thank you. I have also been on all sides of the fence. My time on the side that you described felt well represented by your list. It touched my heart and I’m proud to identify with it.

  4. I miss the military so much. Albeit the separation aspect, it was one of the best parts of my life. As a military member and spouse, I was proud to put on my uniform and see my husband in his. I have come across both types of “military wives” and others in between. I befriended those that were genuine and ignored the phonies and jerks. All in all I consider myself blessed to have been a part of it and honored to be able to call myself a veteran.

  5. Well I just finished reading the original article and quite a few of the comments. As I am not a writer I am sure this won’t come near to your response but like many, several of the responses really hit a nerve and I feel the need to post a reply. I am a Navy brat and a Coastie Spouse. I come from a long line of military wives. My great grandfather was in the navy and so was my grandfather and stepfather. My other grandfather was army. My husband and brother are both Coasties and my brother in law is an Air Force Veteran. I have grown up learning that as woman and military spouse we do what we have to. I have known a lot of spouses and most feel the same. We do what is needed for our husbands or wives for our kids and for ourselves. It is not always an easy road but like many I wouldn’t change it. A long time ago at the age of 12 I felt differently, I never want to go through what my mom did or raise my children without a father and only 2 short years later I met my husband. I realize this was a very young age but at the time I never thought we would marry. He was a senior and I was a freshman. I didn’t know he had already enlisted and would be leaving 3 months later but 18 years later and several changes to his career, 5 duty stations and 2 kids later we are still happily married. This is something I have come to realize is not the norm for most military families. The toll of the lifestyle brings many to divorce. We by no means have it nearly as hard as those on the battlefield or their spouses waiting at home but my husband is a pilot and it comes with its own dangers. He doesn’t deploy for 6 months at a time like my Dad did but his few short deployments add up.
    I can tell you that Sarah’s article really did hit home for me. Maybe not for 100% of the time but for the times that I can say I have been there and done that. The article to me was like talking to one of my best friends whom I call often when things aren’t going right because there is no one else to talk to and I need someone to help me reclaim my sanity. It was for the long nights I don’t sleep because like her I married my best friend and haven’t slept alone since I was 18 unless he is deployed or on duty. My brother recently commented that one day he would like to have a women like that someday. He gives me props for doing what I do because he knows how hard it is to find a women out there strong enough to put up with this lifestyle and keep on living it.
    Yes I am a stay at home mom one of those you speak in her yoga pants some days. The one who is home teaching my girls how to do it themselves. How to be strong when they miss their dad. How to pitch in because it takes team work to do what we do. Team work from our friends, neighbors, and family to raise 2 amazing girls who someday might want to grow up to be a pilot like their Dad or a stay at home mom like me. Here in America I am thankful they have that right thanks to all our military families and soldiers.
    See me I was an accountant before I had kids and my husbands job moved us. I loved my job then but I realize now I love being a mother and wife more. I know for many they need and want to have a career and I think what they do is amazing. I think single parents deserve a metal and Military moms who have to leave their children deserve so much more. My husband is one of the few Dads I know who is all about his kids and I know how hard it is for him to leave them but I am not sure I could do the same. Maybe this makes me weak but I gave birth to them and I feel that bond changes something. I do have a career though it is teacher, caregiver, accountant, maid, construction Forman, mediator, repairman, landscaper, personal assistant, and receptionist. I may have left a few out as well but the reality of the lives we all lead is that yes we chose and continue to choose this life but it has more hurdles than most and no matter how much or little we voice our struggles we are all living it for love. The money or perks aren’t enough for me to keep doing this job everyday. My husband has said on many occasions he couldn’t do his job without me and that he couldn’t do my job. He knows and understands when I call to vent after a particularly long day and he gets to do the same.
    I in no way feel entitled by my husbands job and more than anything I would just like it to be easier to make friends outside of my husbands rank and job. I am an enlisted/ officer spouse who doesn’t seem to fit in on either side. I never wear my husbands rank as they say because I didn’t earn it he did. I however have earned my own a military spouse of 18 years and with that I have learned a lot about life, love, and true friendship. All that I wouldn’t have without this crazy military life.

    1. Thank you Anonymous!
      I often feel that Coastie spouses a underrepresented in these discussions, and it was great to see someone talking about that service. And being a CG pilot is no joke. That’s a dangerous job. Something about this whole subject is bothering me, though. Those who aren’t eager to assert that they have it harder than some other contingent of the military community, seem almost apologetic about admitting that their lives are hard, too. Perhaps especially Coastie spouses. Just because the CG doesn’t deploy like the other services (usually) does not in any way negate their membership in the military, or the challenges their families face. There is always someone who has a tougher time/harder life, but I think that the tendency toward comparison is a trap, and is what engenders these rifts that folks have mentioned. It has taken me a while to figure this out, and I really appreciate your comments. It’s not the same at all duty stations, of course, but where we are now, there’s no support for anybody (not even an ombudsman) and the spouses are all pretty isolated. And yes, the active duty members (duty standers, anyway) spend about 60% of their lives at work. Certainly, that schedule impacts all our family lives. It’s not about who’s got it harder; we all face challenges as a result of military involvement. Signed up for it or not, like many commenters (and Sarah) have said, it’s still hard.

  6. Ignore the haters. What you wrote is spot on. I’m a military wife of 20 years and didn’t see a single aspect of your piece that is not accurate. 13 moves, 7 years of deployments, 4 kids, 4 countries… I’ve been there and done that and you hit all the right issues.

    Thank you!

  7. I read the original article when it was first published and watched as the comment section exploded. I want to commend you, Sarah, on always keeping things civil in the comments sections of your articles, and not getting defensive on what is undoubtedly a sensitive topic for you and your family. I have many friends who are both military and military spouses and you have given me a lot of insight into what they go through.

    1. Thank you, Hadyn. :) I appreciate it. This has been a fascinating conversation. I had no idea such a rift existed. It’s been educational.
      – Sarah

  8. I am a military wife and have two jobs. And regardless of having a job or not, being a military spouse is not for everyone it’s hard on everyone in a family. And as for anyone who’s says “get a life, it’s not hard”. I’d love to see u do half of what we do, cause nine to ten says you’d be whining & wanting to give up after the first week. Don’t make comments about things u have no experience in!

  9. My cousin (also a Marine Corps wife) posted the original article, and I came straight here after reading it (I didn’t even glance at the comments). I was very lucky that while my husband was in he was with the same unit on the same base *Gasp! I know!* and I didn’t have children until he was out. I watched the military spouse moms in our unit with absolute awe and a little fear. I cannot imagine, now that I am a mom, how strong you have to be to deal with all things deployment AND the every day whirlwind of children. It amazes me to this day. I know that during my husband’s second deployment we happened to have a command that consisted of men who had never been deployed to a combat zone before, who were running a unit full of Fallujah vets. The rift I saw was significant between enlisted spouses, and officer spouses, and also between wives that lived on-base and those off-base. I didn’t see this first or third deployments. I decided that commands/postings/units/cycles, however you break it down, are a lot like school classes. Sometimes you get a year of kids that just can’t seem to get along no matter what – even if they have things in common. Sometimes you get a year of kids that runs so smoothly they become part of that team for the rest of their lives. It all has to do with the mix of personalities, and I think a lot to do with how each person was treated by others at the beginning of their military experience – it seems like some who were beat up by the ‘veteran wives’ or told that AD females were a threat to their marriages at the beginning believed they were supposed to pass that hazing – of a sort – onto the next generation. Being a Marine Corps wife, I didn’t have a lot of interaction with female Marines. Sure they worked in various base buildings etc. but they weren’t deployed with my husband. The impression I get from observing my AD (Air Force) BIL’s wife – who absolutely falls into the category of spouse playing the victim – is that we all know deployments make us emotionally vulnerable. Everyone feeds that hole differently, and some do come off looking for pity, and others insulate themselves with brick walls and come off cold, and still others fill their time so completely they appear to be too busy to care, and on and on. Feeling like someone else has a better understanding of what’s going on than you do – because they’ve lived it and you haven’t – is very threatening to some marriages and personalities. Unfortunately that typically results in lashing out and exclusion. Its more fear and jealousy than disrespect for either side, I think. The moral is: AD military moms deserve so much respect it can’t be expressed in words for me – they have a very hard and intense life and they are rockstars. AD females deserve so much respect it can’t be expressed in words for me – they have a very hard and intense life and they are rockstars. SAH military spouses deserve so much respect it can’t be expressed in words for me – they have a very hard and intense life and they are rockstars!! …. All of the men and women who serve, in whatever capacity, deserve respect – that, sadly, doesnt keep the mean girls from being who they are, but there are a lot of us out there that choose not to partake in that competition and who could basically care less about what category of support or AD you fall into. Your post hit the nail on the head for me, and I didn’t even have to do deployments with children. You kept your head in the comments here, and more importantly, you gave respect to each position. I think that is more representative of the military wives I was friends with than the catfighting, entitled, or exclusionary persona. Anyone who thinks military wives play victims, or who thinks AD women couldn’t possibly understand and all the various demeaning slots inbetween, needs to walk a mile in the other’s shoes, or decide to respect each role for its unique challenges, benefits, and trials! Thank you for your original article, I’m sorry it generated such a contentious conversation.

    1. Thank you for reading, Leigh, and for reading this perspective as well. I agree; respect is key here, and there seems to be some difficulty with that. People are very passionate about this subject, evidently.
      – Sarah

  10. Active Duty, wife, mother. The rift is real and it gets lonely. One thing that I have found is spouses get jealous of the time us Active Duty women spend with their husbands. (Words from a spouse). I had to put myself in their shoes. Try this scenario: your hubs comes home everyday talking about TSgt Sexless. He tells funny stories about what they do all day and you can see how much he likes this person. Then you meet her. He never said whether his new friend was male or female. TSgt is eager to meet the spouse, hoping that they will become fast friends. But, nope.
    I don’t hold harsh feelings against them. I feel the same way when my Active Duty husband comes home and tells me about his day and it is filled with stories of Airman Female.
    I even tried joining the Spouses Club, but was told by the First Sgts wife that it is only meant for spouses! I AM A SPOUSE! I don’t want to know your husband (I have to know him). I want to know who his spouse is, who his kids are. I want females in my life! Specifically mothers with children round the ages of 3 and 9. LOL! We all just need to open up and understand that we are all in the military and we all need help and support! God bless all of you and prayers for you and your struggles.

    1. I was just thinking of all the spouses that think all AD women are after their men…I see it all the time, I never wanted any of your stinky men with their bad habits I have my own! my hubs always had a office spouse I had them too!

  11. I didn’t fully realize any rift between informal spouse groups until I retired from the Navy and became the stay at home Army wife and my child’s mom. Imagine my dismay and discomfort at times when I just didn’t initially mesh with other spouses at the spouse group events (formerly known as the wives club). The welcomes were sometimes icy, cold shouldered. Some wanted to know my husband’s rank and went to great lengths during small talk moments to figure it out. Not only was I someone who had her own career for 20 years but I had a paycheck (from my own service), I had my college degrees funded mostly by the Navy, I was enlisted and an officer, and I had been deployed at sea and in the sand, but I could talk with their husbands at a different level than they could. I don’t think it really mattered in the end but I knew innately just to observe and find like minded women and men, spouses who cherished their loved ones and service to the nation, & not take anything personally. Since I spent half a career as an enlisted sailor and experienced a similar transition when I became an officer. True friends and others who became lifelong friends, made the transition with me. Sure there’s a difference in rank and pay but at the end of the day, when you and your family are no longer in the military, the differences cease to matter. Your character is defined by your actions, your experiences culminate into an incredible or a mediocre life, and that doesn’t change when you marry into the military. My individuality, what I thought was my own identity was not at risk of being completely overcome by someone else’s description. I am proud of my service and I choose not to be bothered by the pithy and insensitive. I read through about 20 of the comments in the previous post and was shaking my head at the insensitivity, hurt and frustration shared…enough to jump over and read this post. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I can see your frustration. My husband was in Vietnam several times. We had 4 children under age of 8 during the first “tour”. No phone service or skype, only tapes sent weekly. Getting back tapes? Only occasionally. Hubby gone 13 months at a time. I would have loved to be able to hear his voice on the phone! I am so glad that the wives now have more contact. Back then people were against the war and spiteful to waiting families, I am glad that has changed. We have been married 51 years now and all the children have college degrees and great families. We toughed it out, we loved each other and prayed every night for all the soldiers. Hang in there Military Wives, it is all worth it!

  13. When we play misery poker, always trying to get the worst hand, everyone at the table loses. Everyone’s suffering or sacrifice is valid and even though it is sometimes hard not to, we don’t need to rank them into Military Worst 40.

  14. I was active duty military, a military spouse and a military brat. To say I’ve seen the whole spectrum is a mild understatement. My husband (now ex) was special forces. I got out of the military because our specialties did not mesh. During his training we moved every 6 months to a year. One year we moved 3 times! During his many lengthy deployments, I cared for our daughter, paid the bills, worked full time, took my daughter to dance, gymnastics and made sure she was in Church whenever they were open. Was it easy? No it was not. Reason for my divorce? My husband didn’t feel I needed him. I took care of it all and nothing was ever unpaid, the house was intact. (yes I mowed the yard, did the weed eating etc.) It’s a very fine line that is walked to be sure you don’t grow apart. We failed at this but I know many, many military families that make it and are very happy. We are not victims, we are human and we all deal with things differently. I knew spouses that could not manage at all without their military spouse. I on the other was perhaps a bit too self sufficient. LOL hats off to all the military spouses and members.

  15. I have never felt comfortable among other military spouses and I’ve been one for 20 years. The majority of my friends are civilian and I prefer it that way. In the mandatory fun that is known as the spouse group there is competition, backstabbing, judgement and condescending attitudes. I have no use for that and have never found comfort in commiserating or comparing my woes with yours. I married my husband – the Navy was just his red-headed step child I’ve been forced to live with. It’s not always easy but with him it’s always worth it. Don’t let the bastards get you down. In this “it’s all about me” society we live in, the field of military spouses brings it to a whole new level. I’m just fine dealing with it on my own. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Thirty-four years ago, newly married and off to Germany, I asked my active duty spouse what he (and the Army) expected of me vis-s-vis participation in the “wives club.” His reply was, “Participate if you want to or not if you don’t want to.. You’ll find your groove. You’ll find good people wherever we land – or they’ll find you. Give it shot and I’ll support whatever you choose to do.” I became pregnant the literally the day I arrived in country and during the first coffee I attended the CO’s wife (I’ll never forget this!) said, “We need to bump up our contributions to our baby fund since we HAVE TO buy a gift for our newest member.” I was mortified and not a little offended. After the coffee, several of the wives approached me and expressed how appalled they were over this woman’s behavior. They went out of their way to welcome me, chat me up, and best of all, followed through and became some of my closest and life-long friends. With regard to “wives vs. soldier-wives” (ugh!) – I wouldn’t trade those soldier-wives for all the wine in Germany! Their experiences taught me valuable lessons. Their friendship remains non-judgmental and exceptional. We shared advice, tissues, child care, and reinforced one another’s commitment to our spouses and our country. My heart hurts for those who had, and are still having, unfortunate experiences on both sides of military life. The one thing I would ask of those who have been, or are, disappointed and unhappy is to give it your best shot. If you are willing to be receptive, you, too, will find good people to inhabit your life – or, they will find you.

  17. Is it part of your “job@ that you “pay all these taxes on” to write these posts? Or are you just an ignorant hater? God, you are so delusional. Assuming you’re a military wife with some SSGT (respect to him by the way), but I’m guessing his deployments have been to Camp Cupcake and you two skyped everyday. For many of us, we would go weeks and months without hearing from them, praying tat when a group of men showed up in uniform in our neighborhood, that they weren’t coming to our door. I would say you’re married to a guy who rarely deploys and that you don’t have children. You are being SO DISRESPECTFUL to our US ARMED FORCES. Why don’t you spend less time on blogs and more time as a cashier at Target.

  18. You’re first and biggest mistake is the title of your article “Military WIVES…, not SPOUSES. Since the beginning of time wives have been the majority taking care of the children. Yet still today, the military ignores the male military spouses. Have you read Military Spouse Magazine lately? It is absolutely ridiculous.
    MSgt Downey

    1. Absolutely. There are many military husbands as well, and I actually think they face different and more often, more difficult challenges. I would love to see more articles from their perspective, actually to spread more awareness.
      – Sarah

  19. I’ve been on both sides. I was active duty when I met my husband. It wasn’t until I realized the difficulty of being duel military with a child that I chose to step aside, despite my love for my job, and become a SAHM. We felt our son needed a constant in his life and that it would have to be me. I have seen and felt the rift from both sides. The hostility towards spouses doesn’t just come from female service members. I’ve been active duty. I know what the men say about the wives. I heard it with my own ears and sadly I laughed right along with them not realizing the truth of the other side. I heard of a different stereotype for military spouses; the fat, cheating dependapotamas who marries her man for the money and the benefits.
    When I got out, I felt like I was in a void. I wasn’t active duty anymore, but I didn’t feel like “just a spouse”. Even when I tried to get involved with groups on base because I needed something to get me through deployment, I didn’t feel like I fit. I felt shunned, different, and held at arms length from the other spouses. I finally understood their side of the story, but I wasn’t allowed in the “club” so to say. When there were command family activities, I found myself in a bigger predicament. Because I was shunned by one group, I naturally gravitated towards the other. I loved my time in service and would get in long conversions with the active duty husbands, swapping sea stories and laughing about the crazy life at sea. Next thing I know, my husband is getting in trouble with his chain of command because some wife accused me of being inappropriate with her husband (in a room full of other people? Really?). This is when I began to see why spouses are hostile towards active duty women. I had felt it before, but this was the first time I actually began to seen why. To some spouses, active duty females are The Other Woman. The competition. The one closest to our husband when we are not present to satisfy his physical needs. Having been active duty, this is not a completely unfounded worry. There are men who seem totally devoted to their wife while in port, and completely NOT underway. Some actually feel it’s their right, that they are entitle to cheat during deployment because of their service to our country. I really don’t mean to bash the guys here. There are wives that are the same way. A spouse got kicked out of base housing because she turned her military housing into a brothel during deployment and recruited other spouses to help “take care of customers”.
    This community is full of drama and scandal . Every side eyeing the others as The Enemy. Generalizations and negative stereotypes abound. So many playing the Who Has It Hardest game. It’s difficult not to play that game with my husband after a particularly challenging deployment. But the truth is, all sides are hard. Being active duty is hard. Being a spouse is hard. Though I’ve never been a military brat, I see how hard it is on my children. No matter what happens the rifts between AD and spouses are there. They can’t really be fixed. The best we can do is just try not to get caught in one.

  20. I rarely comment on these things, but I really appreciated the article. I was a military brat, in JROTC in high school, and was going to join myself til I started dating my husband. Well, turns out it was his biggest dream to enlist, where as it was only one of mine. So, although I am the spouse, I understand the military better than some of the other spouses, and it helps, I think, with connecting with the other members. Long story short, I think any rifts arise simply from a lack of true understanding of military life (not the spouse’s/family’s end). In our case, very very few women are in his unit period, let alone his shop, but I’m thrilled when one transfers in! It’s hard to be the girl in the guy’s club, spouse or otherwise-period. Again, thank you for the articles, and keep it up!

  21. I’ve been on both sides of the fence, and I’m grateful to have experienced both perspectives. Honestly, when I was active duty, it was very hard for me to relate to the other military spouses. They would host meetings during the day, have luncheons, and other activities that I just didn’t have time or interest in doing. At that point, I was extremely ambitious and couldn’t really understand the perspective of other spouses and the challenges they faced. It wasn’t until I actually lived it that I started to understand. Having left active duty several years ago, been a military spouse for 12 years now, and moved more times than I can count, I now understand how difficult it is to maintain balance for yourself and family, be a rock, and make many sacrifices along the way. It’s definitely not the way that I perceived life as a military spouse to be while I was active duty. While I would never be purposefully unkind or disrespectful to anyone, it was just very hard for me to understand their point of view. Now that I’ve seen both sides, I appreciate the struggles of each so much more and would not have fully understood if I hadn’t have walked in each ones shoes. I think the biggest thing is to realize that we can’t bridge the gap without learning about each other, sharing our stories, and putting aside the judgments to just help each other in this journey no matter which roles we take on.

  22. i read your blog quite a while ago and again this evening (thank you FB and friends who stumble upon things at different times). The thing I opposed to it both times is your use of the collective “we.” By all means, tell the world how you feel. But, please, don’t speak for all of us. We have our own voices. Some mayor entity with you, but I do not share your point of view as a military child, service member, or a spouse (my kids are still at home, but I’m sure I’ll be a milit mother one day as well.).
    Say what you have to say, but, please, don’t say it for me. Be careful when you use “we.”

  23. Yes! And I enjoyed and could totally relate to your article. It’s not a competition. It is certainly not cushy. But I am here for one reason only, my love. My husband. My soldier. Jaters be damned! That is not what I got from you article at all. People have a strange way of turning everything around, and making all about them. Happy, healthy people do not seek out to bash other people nor their point of view- that they have not lived. So we’ll leave it at that. Don’t be an asshole people.

  24. Yes! And I enjoyed and could totally relate to your article. It’s not a competition. It is certainly not cushy. But I am here for one reason only, my love. My husband. My soldier. Haters be damned! That is not what I got from you article at all. People have a strange way of turning everything around, and making all about them. Happy, healthy people do not seek out to bash other people nor their point of view- that they have not lived. So we’ll leave it at that. Don’t be an asshole people.

  25. Love this, Trish! I spent 15 years as an Army wife and the past 24 as the ex-wife of an Army officer. I had sole custody of our 3 children, who were 5, 4, and 9 months old when he left.

    It was actually easier on me in many ways when I was completely on my own. I wasn’t expecting/missing/hoping he would help out with x, y, or z and then be disappointed when he didn’t. I knew I could count on me.

    So I feel military spouses have a tougher time in some ways than I did. It’s stressful having the roller coaster of military spouse home/deployed. Roles and expectations change. I’m not saying single parenting was easy for me, but at least the emotional up and down was gone.

    You are the first person who I’ve run across that gets this.

  26. I am a full time serving member and so is my husband. The problem I have with this article (whether intentional or not) is that it reads like military wives are someone special. And separate to ‘other’ wives. To me, that’s just the ego trying to make itself important. The bottom line is, defence force members choose this career. Spouses know what they’re getting into and therefore they also choose the lifestyle. It is what it is. At the end of the day there are plenty of careers out there where ‘the spouses’ could say exactly the same thing.

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