There seems to be a fine line between not taking any credit for being a military spouse, and taking too much.
I think we are all familiar with the “taking too much credit” ones. Having “Proud Army Wife” as your FB job is a dead give away. Along with the ACU purse, with name tapes and rank. These are the spouses that get nicknamed “dependapotamus” and end up on OSMW and Dear Dependa.
These are the spouses whose entire identity revolves around their husband’s career in the military. They are first to tell everyone they meet that their husband is in the military (if they can’t already catch on by the PT shirts and “Marine Wife: Toughest Job in the Corps” sweatshirt), and then expect the sympathy and “thank you for your service” comments. They are the wives who get offended that not everyplace offers a military discount to spouses, stating that they serve just as much as their spouse.
But then there are the spouses who take no credit for being a military spouse. They are harder to find because they stay under the radar.
I went to an event on base a few months ago called “Heroes at Home”. It was a motivational speaking event for military spouses, the Commandant of the Marine Corps wife (she is hilarious!) was the guest of honor, along with other military spouses who had written published books relating to military life.
After the event, one of the wives that was there said to me, “I wish they wouldn’t call us ‘heroes’, we aren’t doing anything different than civilian spouses”.
This stuck with me, because I do think we do more than a woman married to a engineer or most other “normal” civilian jobs.
I’m not one to think that just because I’m married to a Marine that my marriage or my husband is “better” than any other, but I do feel that it is different.
If I wasn’t married to a Marine I wouldn’t have had to cancel our vow renewal because he was told he was deploying, only to have them change their mind at the last minute. If I wasn’t married to a Marine, my husband would have been at my college graduation instead of being in Afghanistan. If I wasn’t married to a Marine I wouldn’t have spent almost 2 years of our 5 years of marriage with him off to some other part of the world in service to his country. If I wasn’t married to a Marine I wouldn’t know a 20-year-old widow whose husband died while serving overseas.
So don’t downplay the service that you do as a military spouse.
Don’t downplay having your husband miss your child’s birth. Don’t downplay the fact that he won’t be meeting your son until he is 6 months old.
I’m not saying that we should all take it to the extreme like some do; there is a difference between acknowledging the challenges of your life, and making your life only about those challenges.
Military families do serve their country, but in a different way then the service members do. It’s not the same; I would never entertain the idea that staying home and waiting for my husband for 7 months is at all comparable to him serving in Afghanistan.
But I do believe that holding down the home front while he was gone is something I should be proud of. It’s something that I should acknowledge in my life.
I do feel that it is true that “any wife would do the same thing” if she was in my position. I’m not stating otherwise. But what I am saying is that not every wife has been asked to. Not every wife is a military wife.
They may have their own challenges that I will never experience, and they should be proud of overcoming them. Just as I am proud of myself for being a military wife and supporting my husband through 2 deployments, numbers trainings and school and a duty station change.
To my fellow military spouses, don’t sell yourself short.
But also, don’t take it too far, it’s annoying lol.