what nobody ever told me about being a military spouse

Bonjour! I got a new blog layout! I’m so freaking happy that I actually followed through on this, asked for help and got it all up and running. I have a few more things to tweak, but overall I’m very very happy. Now on to today’s post…

I don’t really talk about being a military spouse all that often because it’s still very new to me and it’s not my main identity. I personally think it’s a little silly to refer to myself and take on the title of being married to someone else. For instance, if my husband was an accountant, I wouldn’t call myself an accountant’s wife.

Here are 10 things I’ve learned/experienced in my almost 2 years of being married to a sailor:

1. My husband is gone more than he is at home. Sometimes it’s over night, other times it’s for up to three months. Eventually it could be up to 10 months or more. During these times, we don’t talk on the phone and I sometimes go a few days without an email. Try building a marriage with someone you don’t actually see.

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2. I don’t have the luxury of living in my home state. Even if you hate where you’re from, it’s familiar. I navigate a completely new place with my two small children while my husband is away. Unless I make friends, I’m completely alone. There are no grandparents, cousins or friends from elementary school to hang out with.

3. Other military spouses can be very helpful (but sometimes the only thing you have in common with them is that your husbands have the same job). They text you when your mother in law is in town, they get you nice and drunk, pick your kids up from school, tell you what to wear to the Navy Ball, and help you figure out all the things your husband forgets to tell you. The drama can be real on facebook, but at the end of the day, they are my sisters.  The best resource I’ve used for Navy spouses is Compass Class. There may be something similar for other branches, but I’m not sure.

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4. I have this deep rooted fear that my friends from before I got married (who are all pretty liberal like me) hate me now because my husband trains for war. I also have this deep rooted fear that war will break out at any second and my husband will get called away and never come home.

5. My husband doesn’t kill people. He usually works 8 decks below an air craft carrier doing something with fuel so the airplanes can go places. Once his ship did humanitarian relief after a tsunami and some of his ship mates were exposed to nuclear waste and now have cancer and there’s a big lawsuit (probably very easy to google). He’s not on the ground shooting at people, but he does fuel the “machine” so to speak.

6. We don’t get discounts on everything. Generally, if there are discounts it’s like 5% off at places like Home Town Buffet, Grocery Outlet and Old Navy. Do I think I should be able to save $5 on clothes for my daughter because her dad puts his life on the line for us? YES.

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7. We move alot. I, as his spouse, have absolutely no say in where we move. Most of the time he doesn’t either. He gets to pick like his top 5 places but it all depends on the needs of the military and his job. If they don’t need fuel people in Hawaii right now, we’re not going there. It also depends on where there are actual navy bases at. There aren’t any in Paris.

8. I’m actually more patriotic than I realized. I actually take offense when people talk shit about the military, my husband and where we live. However, my husband isn’t in the military because he’s particularly patriotic, and when he’s not in uniform he gets treated like every other big black man in America. When he’s in his uniform, people want to hug him and shake his hand.

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9. Our health and dental insurance isn’t better than yours. We pay for some things (prescriptions, co-pays) just like you do. Sometimes more, sometimes less. And we get put on hold on the phone, are told to wait in line and sit in the ER with sick kids for hours just like you do.

10. My kids suffer. Just today my 8 year old son handed me a flier for soccer. He’s a total jock and wants to play. The season is starting soon. I had to tell him no because we won’t be living here much longer. His little face dropped and his eyes started watering. He has to switch schools again and worries about bullies. He has to leave his friends and his amazing teacher behind. He has no idea who will come to his birthday in April or if he’ll have friends by then.

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 So that’s about it. I hope this gives you a little bit of insight into my life and the lives of other military spouses and our families. We’re all pretty ordinary for the most part. Except we wear ball gowns more often than regular people.

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