I had no idea when I married someone in the military that I was supposed to take on a certain persona of the 'military wife.' As I've gotten more connected and Facebook has changed and started showing me a bunch of stuff in my newsfeed that I never "liked," I'm realizing that it really is this huge community. Except to me, a community is a helpful thing. To be honest, I'm pretty bad at being a military wife. You won't find any moto stickers on my car and because we live far away from any actual installations other than recruiting stations, other than people I know from childhood or highschool, I don't know many military wives. My military ID has been expired since November, right before my husband reenlisted. I should probably go get a new one, but its just not at the top of my priority list. Unless you happen to catch me leaving the dry cleaners with an SUV full of dress uniforms, most people I meet here have no idea what my husband's job is. I like to keep it that way. Its not that I'm not proud of our armed forces. Its certainly not that I'm not proud of my husband and what he does. I am. Its just not something I parade around because they aren't my accomplishments. He's the the one who's endured the deployments. I stayed home and had access to the comforts of this country. He's the one who missed his daughter's birth. I looked into her eyes all those newborn days, knowing that I hadn't missed a second.
Facebook is full of thousands of pages dedicated to military spouses. Some are reserved for certain branches, some are more inclusive. Some of them are strictly dedicated to bashing the stereotypical military wife with a van full of kids who sits on her butt all day eating bon bons, trying to find the next place with a military discount. I guess I just don't get it. There isn't an exclusive club for the wives of bankers or construction workers. I think I'd understand more if being in this "club" was a source of help for the people that participate. From what I've seen its mostly dangerous to complain or vent about your husband's latest deployment. Responses range from the typical "You signed up for this" to the extreme, "My husband was deployed for 7 years while I was pregnant with quintuplets and didn't know anyone had no vehicle to get our 10 kids to school." Suck it up, buttercup appears to be the prevailing message. How is that helpful? Since when does having pain of your own cancel out anyone else's pain? I'd be lying if I said I'd never gotten annoyed with the "OMG my boyfriend has been gone for three whole days. I feel like I'm dying, what am I going to do????" That annoyance though has just as much to do with the overadundance of question marks as it does the short amount of time she's upset about. More than that though, I'm saddened that it appears we've lost our own identities in this all. Yes, my hubsand serves in the military. Yes, we are married. Technically that makes me a "military wife."
First though, I'm Britni. I like Greek and children's literature. I love the movie Juno and have an insane dream of becoming a midwife even though I'm pretty much horrendous at Chemistry.
Then I am a wife. Military or no military, I do my best to put my husband first everyday. Military or no military, he does the same. We aren't perfect. We know that good marriages don't just happen. We have just about every odd against us. Kids before marriage, long separations, little time together in general and close to no time alone. Lets face it though, in the society we live in we only had a fifty fifty shot to begin with. Its never easy. Especially since being pregnant I've had my share of nights I cried more than I slept. Its sad that I feel afraid to say that because I "signed up for this." It has nothing to do with a lack of love and everything to do with a lack of time. Its basic fact that building relationships takes time. Thankfully though, it also takes going through for lack of a better word, crap. If you are having trouble finding your flaws, get married, they'll come to light real quick. There are people who handle this miltiary wife stuff better than I do. That used to really bother me. There are women who sail through deployments. They mail care packages full of sunshine and rainbows and don't write things like, "this freaking sucks" in their letters. There are women who raise children essentially alone and don't bat an eyelash. I was SURE I'd be one of those women. I honestly thought to myself that it wouldn't matter if Will was never home. I'd been a single parent for a couple years. Then we started living it, and I realized that I was pretty tired of doing it alone. And that I had effectively added in another person to worry about and take care of. And that because I loved that extra person, I wanted to be able to spend time with him. I wanted him at tee ball games and preschool field trips and to help me put the kids to bed at night. What a concept.
Then, I'm a mom. I have two and a half wonderful little people who definitely do make up a big part of who I am. But even as much as I love them, losing my identity in them would not be wise. Faster than I know, they will grow up and leave. And my son will probably barely call me anymore. So I had better have some of my own stuff going on.
There are a billion others things that make me who I am. My husband being in the military is just about at the bottom of that list. I don't know anyone who would want this lifestyle on purpose. All the women I know who live it do it because they fell in love with a man who loved the military first. Ok, I do know of some women who want this lifestyle on purpose. They can be found in mass outside the gates of Lejuene and Pendleton, but that's beside the point.
My identity is not found whatsoever in my husband's profession. Sometimes, especially around other military wives this causes me to come off as unsupportive. I support my husband as much as he needs. We talk about his job as much as he needs. But its certainly not our whole lives and I never want it to be.