Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ten Things Not to Say to the Spouse of a Deployed Soldier

Today's guest post comes from our pal Becky, who was one of the first people to read our blog that we were not actually related to.  So we totally love her.  Here's a little blurbitty blurb all about her:

Hi! My name is Becky and I’m a SAH Military Mom to 3 adorable monsters ages 6,4 and 2. My husband is currently deployed to Againistan and this is our third deployment although the other two were to Iraq. I live on a military installation so in general I am surrounded by people who understand what we are going through as a family. Unfortunately, on a very regular basis I am asked QUESTIONS. I try to attribute them to a perfect storm of curiosity and ignorance. I order to alleviate both I present: 10 things that no one better say to me again or I will lose my ever loving mind not to say to a military spouse. You can read more about our crazy fun life at
Ten Things
that no one better say to me again or I will lose my ever loving mind
not to say to a spouse of a deployed military person.

10. He’ll be back in no time – Keep busy, he’ll be back before you know it!
Are you freaking kidding me? No – he won’t be back before I know it. You know what happens before I know it? We run out of milk at 7 pm and there’s no one to stay with the kids while I run out - so we don’t have milk at breakfast. You know what else happens? Trash day comes and since he’s not here I have to take it out – and back in – again. It’s only been 5 months and it seems like 5 years. 

9. At least he’s not on the ground!
True – he’s not on the ground. He’s IN THE AIR. Just a reminder about this funny thing we have called GRAVITY and these things that they have called rocket propelled grenades. Just sayin’...

8. How much longer does he have until he can get out?
And when I answer the response is, “Oh, so he’s CAREER???” Like there isn’t much worse in the world than that? Seriously people there are sooooo many worse things than being actively employed in a profession that he enjoys and feels like he’s contributing to the world and whatnot. It’s not a jail sentence. He’s certainly not a prisoner and we have made a choice for him to be in the Army. This one bugs me. It just drips with condescension because what you’re REALLY saying is, “When is he going to get serious and get a real job where he actually takes care of his family.”

7. I wish my husband would deploy.
Seriously – someone said this too me – MORE.THAN.ONCE. “My husband is being sooooo annoying. He just won’t leave me alone these days. I wish that he was in the Army and would deploy.”

6. It’s not that bad – you can talk everyday.
Yes, that’s true. We COULD talk everyday. I could tell him that the kids got up, ate Cheerios, went to school, I cleaned up the dishes and changed the baby, did laundry, got the mail, picked up at preschool, made lunch, cleaned up from lunch and so on. I could tell him this EVERYDAY but then he might die from boredom before the enemy got to him.

SKYPE: It's exactly like this.
We do the same this deployment as we have the other ones. We talk once a week but now we get to add Skype – once a week with the kids. No boredom, no fighting, lots of I love you’s. So it IS still that bad. The dishwasher breaks – you don’t tell him. Flat tire – you don’t tell him. Kids are barfing all night and you have to change the sheets 5 times – you don’t tell him. He needs to stay in the game there. I want him to come home safe and he needs to focus on ONLY that.

5. The kids are young – they don’t even realize he’s gone.
In what world do small children not notice that a parent is suddenly gone? OK, it’s different for kids of different ages – heck it’s different for different kids. Some kids are more resilient and some are less – just like adults but it’s not fair to say that they don’t realize it! We listen to a recording of Daddy reading a book before bed and even the baby asks to hear the Daddy Book. She knows at 20 months and my son knew when he was 8 months old.

4. Come and visit us!
Thank you very much.  But no thanks. Do you really want to help? If so then come and visit ME. Stay home at night while I go to Walmart so I don’t have to pay a sitter $10/hour to go frigging grocery shopping. Stay with the little ones in the morning so I don’t have to drag them all to school drop off in the stroller in the rain. Make dinner or clean the dishes while I give the kids a bath or pick up the toys so it’s not 9:30 pm before I even have a chance to sit down. Now THAT would be helpful.

3. What should I send him?
Honestly, I don’t know.  What would you want if you lived in a plywood building and shared a shower with 25 of your closest friends? If I have to answer this question again I’m just going to answer PORN – actually I’m not. They aren’t allowed to have that – or alcohol. Now you can feel worse for them.

2. Are you scared something will happen to him?
No – I actually hadn’t thought about until just now when you said that – so thanks for that! How in the world could I not be worried about raising my 3 kids alone and losing the best friend I’ve ever had? I worry constantly about someone showing up at my door and if you know better you’ll text me that you’re coming over before you’d EVER ring the doorbell unannounced.

1. I don’t know how you do it. I don’t think I could.
What exactly do you mean by that? Would you divorce the father of your children because he’s going away? I’m actually not quite sure how we do it either but I know one thing – you’re right - not everyone could.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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