Military Spouses: Don’t Sell Yourself Short

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.

BTW: This guys comic strip is hilarious. He has a FB page and a Website

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.

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TBT: My First Trip to WI!

The first time I met Jeremy’s parent, we had been married for about 4 months.

The summer of 2009 I made my first trip to Wisconsin. My first time seeing Jeremy’s home town. My first time meeting his family.

5860_118041556818_7666711_nAs someone who was born and raised in CA, Wisconsin was a bit of a culture shock! Lots of farms, lots of drinking, lots of bars and lots of cheese.

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A little drunk at Fundfest (country concert) with Jeremy and his BFF Mallory

People are allowed to smoke inside. It was shocking enough to see so many people smoking, let alone inside! Everything takes place in the bar. Lunch, dinner, football, hanging out. The food is deep fried and cheesy. Culver’s is amazing, I’m very sad they don’t have one in CA. There are farms everywhere. We visited on of his buddies farms and saw baby pigs!

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His friend Shorty’s farm

Aside from the culture shock of Wisconsin in general, Jeremy’s family is very different then my own.

My parents are upper middle class people. My Dad is an artist and my Mom owns her own dog kennel. They are liberal, eat a lot of veggies and don’t drink (my Mom at least).

Jeremy’s family is working class. Conservative. Most of them smoke and drink heavily.

And I love them all! They all probably thought I was some kind of crazy California girl, but as different as our lifestyles are, I love them all. They are sweet and kind people who welcomed me with open arms.

His sister has a hilarious sarcastic sense of humor that I always enjoy (even if at times she scares me and I worry she doesn’t like me lol).

His brothers are so close to each other and similar in many ways. They joke around and get on each other constantly, which is so entertaining.

His sister-in-law and her family are so sweet. We bond over the fact that we are married to such similar men and complain about their lack of communication skills.

His Dad has a very distinct personality, but he is the sweetest man I’ve ever met. He loves his children and calls me his daughter.

I got very lucky with my in-laws! And although I know they probably questioned Jeremy’s choice to get hitched so fast to some random Cali Girl, they have been nothing by kind to me.

I love Wisconsin and I can’t wait to move there after Jeremy gets out of the military. I love the open space and the farmland. I love the small town community. The only downside so far is the snow lol

I can’t wait to live in Wisconsin and be close to Jeremy’s family, especially now that we have a niece, a nephew and two more on the way! I love how close his family is. How much they value and love each other.

Being a Minority

I’ve never been in the minority.

As a upper middle class Caucasian female growing up in California, I was part of the majority for my entire life.

The majority of people at my schools were Caucasian. Even in college, after moving to San Diego and being so close to Mexico, Caucasians were still the majority.

Although Psychology is considered to be a “science”, it was mainly a female dominated major. Certainly social work is, there were maybe 5 guys in my entire masters program.

Now, for the first time in my life, I find myself in the minority, and it doesn’t feel very good.

I work at a Jewish agency. You don’t have to be Jewish to work there, nor do we only serve the Jewish population, but most of the people that work there are Jewish. Certainly most of the people I work with on a daily basis are Jewish, culturally and religiously.

There are many times during the day where I feel left out of conversation. They will make references to places that I don’t know, holiday’s I am unfamiliar with, slang words I don’t understand, jokes I don’t get. I often has to ask what certain words mean, what certain places are, and what certain symbols mean.

It’s not a very good feeling to have, being in the minority.

I know my co-workers aren’t trying to exclude me on purpose. I’m sure it’s rare for them to be in the majority, most of the time Jewish individuals are in the minority (according to them).

But I feel like the odd one out. I feel left out.

Makes me wonder how other minorities feel; if they feel the same way I do.

As much as we like to think that we are understanding and open-minded to other cultures, maybe the negative/uncomfortable feelings around being in the minority is something that can’t be overcome.

Pre-Ball Photo-shoot at Sunset Cliffs

I wanted to share some photos from the pre-ball shoot I did last weekend.

I was looking forward to this shoot for weeks! I checked out the location, research the poses I wanted to try, and the entire week leading up I would longingly stare at the sunsets, anticipating beautiful lighting for my session. Then on the night we were scheduled to shoot, it was cloudy! No stunning lighting, no sunset. Just clouds. Thankfully the couple was stunning enough to compensate for the lack of beauty in nature.

Location: Sunset Cliffs, San Diego

Photographer: Alison V. Photography
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Are Break-Ups Bad?

I’ve been seeing a lot of break ups recently.

Two girls at my work were broken up with by their boyfriends and a girl who helps run the military support page that I am part of on Facebook was broken up with by her Marine.

I noticed something in common about everyones responses to the news of the break up; everyone saw it as a bad thing and many people said something along the line of “I hope you work it out and get back together”

Am I the only one who disagrees with both these statements?

I don’t think break ups are necessarily a bad thing. Are they painful? Heck yes. I cried for weeks when my first boyfriend broke up with me.

But does being painful make it a bad thing altogether? I don’t think so.

I think break ups are actually a blessing in disguise. They are freedom from someone who didn’t value you they way they should; from someone who didn’t love you the way you should be loved by a partner. They are freedom to find someone else; someone who will appreciate you for who you are and count themselves blessed to be your partner.

I’ve also never understood the break up and get back together cycle that some couples go through. The reason being, why would you want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you? That person looked at you and all you had to offer, and they decided “I don’t want that”. They took a long hard look at you and the relationship and said “nope”. Why would I want that person back?

I deserved to be loved. I deserve to be appreciated. I deserve to be with someone who knows what they have when they have me.

If the person I am with does not value me the way I deserve, then they are doing me a favor by ending things.

What do you think? Have you even broken up and got back together? Are there certain situations where it is beneficial? A

Uncertainty: Part II

The uncertainty finally came to an end today.

We are staying in San Diego!

Jeremy was officially dropped from recruiting school today due to his injury last week. I get to keep my job and he is non-deployable for a while while he heals and starts physical therapy. The doctor says it could be 6 months before he is fully healed.

We were looking forward to going someplace new and hopefully being closer to his family, but there are plenty of perks to staying here. San Diego isn’t the worst place to be stuck for a few more years! Keeping my job is a huge plus, it’s an awesome job and I am very grateful to be able to stay on since I was originally hired as a temp. We are going to start looking for a house to rent since our lease is up on January and we have the new puppy.

In 2 years we can hopefully pay of all of our debt since we are both working full-time, which will prepare us for Jeremy finished up his contract with the military and making the transition to civilians. I will hopefully get enough hours to become a licensed clinical social worker, which will open up job opportunities for me when we move.

All in all, things are pretty good aside form Jeremy’s injury. But mostly I am just happy about knowing for sure where we are going! I can find the good in pretty much anything.

What I dislike most about military life: Uncertainty

You know what I dislike most about military life? It’s not the deployments. I can deal with time apart. It’s not the moving, I am used to living away from family.

What I dislike most is the uncertainty. The “maybe”

The, “you are deploying in December”, and then two months later, after you have prepared for the deployment, possibly held off applying for schools, put off moving to an new place because you are going to go home for the deployment, pushed back your wedding or moved up your wedding…they say “oh wait, your not deploying in December, its July now”.

Are you freakin’ kidding me!

You think I would have learned by now, since almost that exact situation happened to us a few years ago. Jeremy was supposed to deploy the summer after we got married, so we pushed back our big wedding to the following summer. Then they said he wasn’t going, so we moved it back. Then they decided he was going in November, so we again had to move it.

Yet another reason why so many military couples get married in the courthouse, it’s nearly impossible to plan a wedding around the military.

So why am I so upset/annoyed/anxious about this recent “you are moving/your not moving”? I should know how the military is by now.

I don’t mind moving as long as I can plan for it. If the Marine Corps wants to send us to Japan I would make it work. But when they mess with my planning time is when I start to come unraveled.

Jeremy was supposed to start recruiting and we were planning on moving in December. We’ve known about this since around April. So when I graduated in May I didn’t look for permanent jobs here, I just looked for temp work. I stumbled upon an amazing job in my field that I love, and they knew up front that I was a temp hire.

Then the government shut down happened, and it looked like Jeremy would not be going to school anymore since the people in change of booking up the class got furloughed and didn’t notify people about who got a seat in the class and who didn’t (Jeremy, it turns out, did not). So I told my boss that I was likely going to stay. She was so excited, as was I, and she stopped interviewing people and told her supervisors that I was staying.

Jeremy still had to show up for class anyway, some silly thing about having orders but not having a seat in the class, and last week it started to look he was going to get a spot in the class because so many people were getting dropped for not qualifying (too many kids, too many tattoos, out of shape, etc.).  I felt guilty holding that information from my boss because I didn’t want to screw her over and not give her enough time to hire my replacement, so I told her it was looking like I was leaving again. I asked her to give me two weeks, and if he was still in school then she should go ahead and start the process of hiring someone else.

THEN Jeremy hurt his leg really bad on Thursday during the PFT, and he was told he was dropped. I excitedly told my boss that I was for sure staying and she was again super excited.

Fast forward to last night, and apparently the orders for Jeremy to get dropped made it up the ranks and the final guy decided that he wasn’t hurt enough. Apparently being on crutches and popping Vicodin isn’t hurt enough and he still has to go to class next week and more doctors appointments to figure out exactly what is wrong with his leg and if it’s a long-term injury.

I’ve decided not to tell my boss this last part, to keep mum until next Friday. If Jeremy is still in school then, I will tell her to replace me.

Everyone I’ve talked to has told me that I just shouldn’t have said anything after I told my boss that I would be staying (the first time). But I want to be honest. I feel like they deserve to know what is going on. I would feel guilty if I didn’t tell them.

At this point, my boss probably thinks the military is crazy. She will never hire another military spouse after all of my drama. I’m happy she is sticking with me and not just giving up after so much back and forth, after all the uncertainty.

There is that word again. Uncertainty. 

I hate it!

It messed with my personal life, and now it’s messing with my career.

I see now why so many spouses are stay at home wives/moms; trying to work a career around the military is so frustrating.

I was ready to move, I was going to make it work. I have applied to get my intern number in CA and WI so that I can collect hours towards my license in both states (that took a lot of prep work). I found an awesome temp job where I could get some good experience and not screw them over by lying about how long I could work for.

I did everything right, but the military bulldozes over all of it.

Sometimes I just need to vent it out. Feel free to join me.

What has the military screwed up for you? Did you buy a house and then orders got changed and you had to move? Buy a plane ticket for homecoming and then have it be pushed back and not be able to get your money back?

TBT: Our 1 Year Anniversary

3824_82848211818_1560725_nMay 16, 2009

I always think it’s very telling that my husband and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary AFTER we got married lol

You know you got married quickly when you don’t even make it to your first milestone as a boyfriend/girlfriend couple.

We still celebrated our 1 year anniversary of being together, even though we had been married for 3 months by the time it came around. I wanted to acknowledge the landmark, it was the first time I had ever experienced a 1-year anniversary. My longest relationship before Jeremy was only 3 months!

Sometimes I think I’m crazy for marrying the first guy I ever had a long-term relationship with. But I guess when you know, you know. There is no need to date and sample all the fish in the sea when you find the right fish on your first cast. (like that fishing metaphor? lol)

We did the typical date night, a fancy dinner at a restaurant over looking the water at sunset. Jeremy even wore a polo shirt! Fancy 😉

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