Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Military Wife Life

I'll never forget a couple years ago when a mom at the park told me that she was a religious view of Army Wives so she understood what I faced as a military wife.  I must admit, I was actually speechless.

A rather rare occurence.

Maybe Army Wives does give insight to outsiders about what our lives are like.  But watching and feeling are very different things.

I think sometimes people wonder why miltiary wives hold tight to that description and yet at the same time so many hate to be known only as that, after all I'm many things, I'm a daughter, a wife, a mother, which is by far the title that I hold closest to my heart, but at the end of the day, I am also a military wife.

As a military wife I have had to hold my little boys while they cry for their daddy.

I have explained to my then two year old that daddy does not indeed live in the telephone.

I have often times been the only parent there without their spouse in the audience at school parades or plays.

I have been a stand in when daddy can't show up for "someone you love day". {Though I'm not a bad sub if I may say so.}

I have watched my boys take their first steps, say their first words, get their first scrapes and wonder if I should tell or just let their "first" happen again when daddy comes back into town.

I am more used to sleeping by myself then with someone else.

I understand that Uncle Sam doesn't care who's birthday it is or what age they are celebrating.  I also understand that he will not send a stand in to take gifts out of the box and put them together and I should buy accordingly.

I have sat in the waiting room and waited during test and procedures alone.

I have carried my phone everywhere with me for fear of missing a call. I have stared at it and willed it to ring.  I have answered it, heard his voice, and cried.  And then have had nothing to say.

I have seen things and thought they would be fun to do only to realize he'll be away. Again.

I have teared up at the sight of an American Flag flying in the wind because I know what sacrifice has gone into those colors.

I have kissed my husband and watched him turn and walk off.... to war.

Watching those things on tv might give someone an idea of what our lives are life, but its a far cry from living it.  All that being said, how could being a military wife not be a description of me seeing as how its shaped me?

What have you done, felt, learned as a military wife that you don't think you quite get from Army Wives?


  1. Wow, this post spoke to me. I myself am a military wife. My husband is in the airforce. I have learned alot. I have learned to trust myself more. That I can do things myself without the help of my husband. And everytime he leaves I realise how much I take for granted from him. I also have learned to be adaptable and strong wether I want to or not. I am a mommy too. And that is definately the hardest part. Being a single mom when he leaves. Especially in a different country when you have no family around. But you have to learn to be a tougher person. I don't think tv shows could ever really capture what we go through.

    Genevieve @ http://oldepearprimitives.blogspot.com/

  2. You can SEE a lot of things happen. Even to people who are close to you, but it is not the same. I can't explain to anyone what a Deployment feels like. Sometimes I'm not sure where my emotions are. To my 10month old, Daddy is a picture on a pillow. His last words to me in person were 'no tears', and then I cried in a parking lot for an hour. Idk, I don't watch 'army wives'. I think it's odd to watch a show about a lifestyle I'm living. I'll just record my week, and montage it.

  3. It's like watching a rape on tv and then trying to tell the victim you know what it's like.

    I am sure she meant well, but I think all military wives face similar situations at some point, and need to have the patience and grace to hopefully teach people without jumping down their throats. I'm not saying you did that. I'm saying I get tempted to. lol

    I personally haven't watched Army Wives because I don't want to miss the Corps more than I do. It still rips at me like the day my husband was medically evacuated. I just can't do it.

  4. well, from my perspective, I have no idea what that must be like for you, I am not an army wife, yet I know some of my friends partners are in the military, and I see it rip them apart each time they have to go back, but I will never fully understand what they go through on a daily basis. I do my best as a friend to be there when they need a chat, or a playdate for the kids or just to sit in the company of someone else and not have to say a thing.

  5. I don't watch Army Wives, so I'm not sure what is and isn't gotten from the show. What you wrote though, summed things up very well. I don't know that it is something someone on the outside can see and then *feel* -- they may "understand" it, but it definitely doesn't feel the same.

    All I have to do to know this is true is to think about my life before my husband (and thus the Army). I never would find myself in tears over the President talking extensively about our good friend's best friend in a speech [yesterday at DAV.. holla!], I would have just thought "wow, that's inspiring." I never cried over the flag or over commercials talking about helping our troops. Basically, I guess what I'm saying is the Army wife lifestyle has turned me into a giant softie!! :D

  6. I describe myself as an Army Wife, and the only people who really understand what that is are other military spouses. I have a lot of friends who are not affiliated with the military and they have no idea what it's like, and watching a show once a week for an hour is so far from actually living this life day in and day out.

    I don't watch the show, although I have many friends who do. To me, it's too close to home, yet it's so far from the the truth that is my life. Our 6th deployment is nearing the end and my husband is closing in on 18 years of active duty. I long for a "normal" life, but am scared about what "normal" will bring...right now I can't imagine not being an Army wife.

  7. I am surprised at how many people commented and don't watch Army Wives! I do watch it, and although I love the show and cry with the characters sometimes, it is NOT realistic. The biggest thing is how they portray the "support" system of the wives and friends, coming together at a moments notice. That is not realistic. The wives on real military bases are not like that.

    Also, we were just watching a recent episode where General HOlden is in Iraq and doing a video chat with his wife. It was funny and ironic that my husband noticed, but he said "It is never that clear" (referencing the video). I thought how true that is! When MY husband was in Iraq we had to wait for the video to catch up to what you were saying... restart a million zillion times... and endure a lot of crappy connections.

    It is sweet of your mom to try though. No one will ever completely understand, however, unless they have experienced it themselves.

  8. I agree, Army Wives just gives an insight!! You never know what being a military wife is like until you are in those shoes!

    What kills me is before my husband leaves or after he gets back and no one understands the amount of stress you are under. They are quick to tell you enjoy every second of your time together. Well that is freaking obvious. But what they do not understand is the anxiety that you face sending your spouse off to war and the transition for the entire family when they get back. You cannot understand that until you are there!

  9. Awesome Post!

    I think the show is great (extremely dramatized) but good to watch. I think a huge thing thats hard is when you need help but in-laws and such are so quick to not help out, i know this isn't everyones experience but when I went home, my in-laws were so quick to tell my son he could come play then never call or very similar things like that. Excuse but my son doesn't need any more disappointment, thanks!

  10. What do you mean that TV shows don't give you a real insight into what the lives of others are like? I mean, really, I watched Gray's Anatomy and Army Wives so I could get a good idea of what I'm in for. I know exactly what it like for doctors and soldiers families. *sheesh*


  11. There is always so much drama on that show (obviously) that I don't think people get exactly how boring and how lonely it can be in a house by yourself after the kids have gone to bed. Or how draining it can be just doing the day to day activities without someone else around to give you a hand.

    Or just how hard it is getting through all of the government red tape b/c most people aren't BFFs with the wife of the highest ranked guy on base! LOL

  12. You inspired me to post a similar message! Thanks for the idea.....that was a very well written post!

  13. When I got a 5am phone call saying that my husband had been shot and they were performing an amputation... they would call me when they were finished. Uhmm.. ok.

    Thankfully, they didn't, next phone call, pack your bags you will be moving in a couple of days to a place we aren't quite sure yet and will be living in a house with other military families with wounded loved ones and we aren't sure for how long, but it won't be a short stay. Gotcha.

    Im pretty sure a show won't prepare you for what that feels like because I learned so much about myself, my husband, and my marriage in that 6 months, and still do in reference to his injuries. I always remind myself though, as bad as I think I have it, someone else has it 10 times worse.

  14. Your post brought me to tears and makes me think about all the things I have learned. I may have to start thinking about this and write a similar post of my own.

  15. Tomorrow, I am going to UHaul and picking up a trailer to take my sweet beautiful daughter and all her precious posessions (junk) to college. Six hours away. By myself. While my husband is in Afghanistan. Tonight, I'm sitting here at 1 a.m. feeling sorry for myself. If I'm lucky, I'll get a grand total of 7 hours sleep. (And let's be honest, it's going to be more like 5-1/2) I miss my husband and don't want to do this by myself. I'd feel a lot more sorry for myself except my poor husband is sitting in Afghanistan missing his sweet beautiful girl going away to college. So. Pity party over. (Okay, sort of over... lol)

  16. Really well written post. What you said about the flag really resonates. I teach our son that that flag is special, and you don't treat it as a toy--you honor and respect it, because you honor and respect the sacrifice that's gone into itself. It's not a toy, and it's not going on your beach blanket or your flip flops. Other people think I'm weird, but I don't care =).

  17. What I'd like to know is how those women get babysitters so easily. Eesh, that is by far my biggest issue. I always roll my eyes at how easily they can just drop everything and go when their kids are supposedly home. Also, Roxy has a business and a deployed husband, yet never seems to have any trouble juggling anything. What is up with this?

    Obviously, I do watch the show, but it's more for the laugh factor than anything else. It is weird to watch a show that is supposed to be about my life in a way (although, I'm still waiting for the "Navy Wives" show - that would be a lot funnier to me!), but so much of that is so over the top I would be rather horrified if someone told me they understood my life because of that show. Yikes, not even close...

  18. I used to think that going for 5 days w/o seeing my man was rough, but I now I know that is just enough time to whip the house into shape!

    I've also learned to not take for granted the time I have with family and friends, and just how important it is to be a good friend.


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