Thursday, March 21, 2013

Foreign and Domestic Enemies of the Military Mom Part 2

You know we love military families here in Mommyland. I just made a new mom friend, you guys and she's so awesome but they're military and I just found out they're moving. Insert sad face. So when I got this post, I thought it was a sign that I had to run it. 

This post was anonymously written by my friend M & M (aka 50 Shades of Awesome). Not being a military mommy myself, I can't speak to the veracity of her points. But I love her honesty, humor and Eric Northman references. 

And remember guys, it's fine to disagree but be cool about it. Here are the Foreign and Domestic Enemies of the Military Mom (part 2).

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No. 1. The Dotted Line  
The first rule of military life is that your life isn't yours anymore. Kinda like being a mom in general, only you could care less about the not-quite-adorable people who now order you around. What used to be your life is now one part indentured servitude and three parts Viking slave ship. Not charming, hot Vikings à la Vampire Eric. And girl, they own you.  
No. 2. F-U-Haul
Everyone knows the best way to manage the defense budget is to move everyone in the service near-constantly. An extended game of Musical Installations does wonders for your family's emotional, financial, and social health. If you're lucky, 30% of your possessions will already be packed, since you never bothered to unpack them last time. Rest assured, if you manage to save  for something nice and -somehow- preserve it from your wantonly destructive offspring, it WILL disappear or get broken during your next move. The military will inform you the item was worth 20% of its actual value, and pay you 10% of that.
Now, as you enroll your third-grader in his third school, keep him excited about all the new friends he will make...knowing that, all too soon, you will hold him as he cries after another round of goodbyes.   
But, you say, moving around brings valuable exposure to different regions and ways of life. This is true. I'm not saying most military installations (especially Army posts) are built where many people would never go willingly, but...see No. 3.         
No. 3. Location, Location, Location
Hey, I love Walmart as much as the next girl. Ditto for Chinese restaurants, tattoo parlors, and pawn shops. You don't need a map app or land navigation skills to find a military base. Just look for the above, in abundance. To be fair, you'll also find incredible international food around them. All I'm saying is I live for the day when I can go a week without stepping foot in a Walmart. Although, I'll probably go through withdrawal and do unspeakable things on Amazon.com just to feel normal again.
No. 4. The Passport Office
Ah, ye olde passport office, where you must answer a series of questions posed by a hideous troll in order to pass over the Chasm of Doom to the land beyond. When asked to list your previous addresses for the last ten years, you give up after twelve and pray they won't arrest you for fraudulence. Especially since cops show a lot more interest in you when you're driving in Texas with Tennessee plates and a California license.   
No. 5. Doctor Who?
When it comes to military health care, one phrase comes to mind: you get what you pay for. Doctors who can't be sued? Sign me up! That's if you're lucky enough to see a licensed doctor and not a student of one kind or another. Fact: there are amazing medical practitioners in the armed services. They are incredibly overworked. And the good ones never seem to be around when your child has pneumonia. (Author's note: If American Horror Story ever needs creative ideas, they are welcome to ask about my experiences giving birth at military hospitals.)
No. 6. Overtime Pay    
Oops, wrong list. Military folks don't even know what that is.
No. 7. The Rank Puller
This is the wife who threatens to make you give up on forming meaningful bonds with your fellow military wives/moms. At any given moment, she can be found claiming her husband's rank and job for her own. This manifests in general snobbery and know-it-all fever. Her entire sense of self-worth is wrapped up in her husband's career. This is not necessarily her fault, because of...see No. 8
No. 8. Personal Ambition
In a military relationship, the service member's career will always come first. Your career and educational aspirations are, at best, tertiary. For some, this is an easy sacrifice. For others, it is a very, very difficult price to pay for falling in love. You can go to school full time at a respectable university, double major, earn a 4.0, and raise three children (including one with special needs) with zero support structure while your husband is deployed. You can. But it is very difficult to do so without turning into Regan from The Exorcist. Trust me. 
No. 9. The Officer's Wives' Club
May exist for the dual purposes of making enlisted wives feel unwelcome and shaming any officers' wives who don't hail from Stepford, Connecticut. May also be a helpful resource for spouses. It depends on where you are and whom you ask. 
No. 10. "Mandatory Fun"
Everyone associated with the military knows what this is. It's exactly what it sounds like, only hold the fun.  
No. 11. Did I Mention They Own You?
My husband was allowed to spend two days in the hospital with me when I had our third child before he went back to work. I can't complain because at least he was there, and many military moms have gone through that life-altering experience alone. My husband missed that child's first and second birthdays. This is when the common military saying embrace the suck comes in handy. 
No. 12.  The Doorbell
This is the ultimate enemy of the military wife and mother. There are no words to describe the sudden spike of abject terror you feel when your spouse is deployed and the doorbell rings. Even after they are home safely, it can take years for that silent fear to leave you. If you have been a military spouse long enough, chances are you have met someone whose door opened on a somber casualty officer in a crisp uniform. 
Yes, we chose this life. We even love it, domestic enemies notwithstanding. But all the medical care and retirement pay in the world do not make up for the days−and the people−you can never have back. It takes a special kind of crazy to stick with this life. Fortunately for my husband, sanity is not my strong point. 



31 comments:

  1. YES!!! I am an AF spouse and I feel all of that..next: enemies of the overseas military spouse.

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  2. I am not a military wife, but my heart dropped just thinking of the doorbell. I am so grateful to all the military families out there! Thank you for sharing this post!

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  3. LOVE...so very well said. Husband is officially retired 29 May after 22 years in (10 of which we have been married). For my fellow military wives that know all too well those "whispers" you get from the higher ranking COL wives when you marry a young CPT in the middle of his company command to make sure to let you know "you HAVE to be married to them for 10 years of their active duty time to get half their pension!!"....his retirement date is exactly SIX DAYS AFTER our 10 year anniversary - so BAM...I complied. (Sidenote: I would still be married to him regardless because I love him...I just thought the retirement timing was funny). I have "embraced the suck" and all that comes along with it - wouldn't change it though - it's really a good life in terms of making friends and developing relationships few understand. Military medical care SUCKS in ways that people will never understand....I have said good bye to my uterus and my husband has said good bye to his colon - and at one base I have had no less than 13 primary docs in 3 years. But my sisters....I am just about on the other side. Military wives are an unbreakable breed - it is an honor to walk among you. I will wave at you from the other side with a knowing wink. Keep up the good fight, ladies.

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  4. I can't decide which one was my favorite, but I think "mando fun" made me laugh the most. AMEN, woman... AMEN indeed!! I'm keeping myself from going into a story for every single bullet on that list lol ;)

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  5. There is a level of selflessness here that I cannot even comprehend. Thank you and your husband for choosing such a hard road, for the benefit of our country!

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  6. Amen, Sista! I have given up talking about all the things my husband has missed since he joined the Army. Anniversaries, holidays, birthdays, the birth of our daughter...like all military families, the list could go on. But like you, I'm a special kind of crazy. ;) I wouldn't trade my life for anything because it's with my husband even when he's thousands of miles away.

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  7. Wait you mean #9 isn't exactly like it's portrayed on Army Wives? LOL.

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  8. YESSSS!!!!! My pet peeve is number seven! The service member EARNED the rank not the spouse!

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  9. ugh, "The Doorbell." I actually gasped and clutched my chest reading. I have a dear friend who opened that door to the crisp uniforms and I can not even fathom how shattered that feeling is.

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  10. I am so sick of everyone bashing military healthcare. And yes we can be sued, the only person who cannot sue the government is the service member.

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    1. Are you the one who arranges healthcare? Why are you sick of people bashing it? They deserve the SAME darn health care the politicans get....AND BETTER! I don't see the politicians or THEIR children sacrificing their lives for our country.

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  11. OMG, a work buddy of my hubby's "stopped by" after work when my hubs was deployed once. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the uniform standing on my doorstep thru the window!!!
    I had no idea what I signed onto when I married a career Airman. We don't move much, but there is definitely a "service before everything else" feeling.

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  12. You (and all military families) have my forever adoration. It's a tough life, and I am always impressed at how gracefully it is handled.

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  13. I'm not a military wife. I married my marine (17 years ago) after he left the service. Huge resounding kudos to each and every one of y'all!

    What I did not anticipate was how the moving thing seems to sink in so deeply. We have lived 6 different places in the last 6 years; 3 before that in a 10 year span. No reason other than he feels its time to move on to better things (and they have been).

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  14. Annonymous, you are right. Not ALL military medical providers are terrible. I have the honor of personally knowing several that are willing to go out of their way for their patients and even listening to me when I call worried about my kids. They are wonderful and to us are more presious than gold. However, they are also few and far betweeen. Sadly, once we find these amazing providers they are PCSed to another base and most of us get stuck with the first year med students that cant even figure out that a fever plus and rash is usally a virus or properlly diagnose an ear infection. I can speek for the entire military family community when I say we wish there were more of these elucid awesome providers out there and are so thankful for the ones that are there.

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    1. Nicely handled. It must be so frustrating to be a service member in the medical area and know your fellow families resent you; however the prevalence of complaints must mean there is validity there. Thanks for kindly stating both sides of the issue.

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  15. I'm a military brat, now grown with two kids and an amazing husband who is with me through all of our trials and tribulations. Every day I am amazed at what my mother went through. She had 4 kids and went through several long Navy ship deployments and basically raised us as a single mom for much of my youth. We kids just had to be the "new kid" many many time. My dad wasn't deployed to a war zone though and for that we are eternally grateful. I'm also lucky my brother served in Iraq and made it home safely. Everyone in military families are heroes and sacrifice in different ways in defense of our country. God Bless you all!

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  16. "You get what you pay for" with military healthcare. I've been screaming this for years. I had great L&D nurses for both of my deliveries, thank goodness. That's all the good i can say on that.

    I loved the moving around, but thankfully, we moved before we had children so it was easy.

    My nursing career out the window due to PCSing, and a husband with PTSD is the outcome of his nine-year stint in the military. But because of the military, we're finally in a place that we love (Colorado) and I found a portable career that I love (transcription).

    I do miss being a military wife sometimes. My husband would probably agree when we've been together in the same household without a break for a few months. ;)

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    1. PSTD hadn't been mentioned in the article.....and is probably one of the biggest horrors of military life behind the death of a soldier, horrible injuries, rape.....I understand this was a light-hearted vent, not one of tragedy except for the knock on the door. The soldiers who served in active battle in Iraq, esp. at the beginning of the chaos who lived in such dangerous and primitive conditions.....and at the worst of Afghanistan.....could not help but be affected horribly w PSTD which is still not recognized nearly enough. I was married during the Vietnam draft days and talk about fear and uncertainty....and the contempt shown toward the soldiers when they returned has taught us a lesson, I'm sure. I don't know any Vietnam vet who hasn't had severe health problems (agent orange, etc.) Or lingering emotional trauma....I pray our soldiers today get better treatment but I know still not nearly good enough.

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  17. This is all really depressing. I feel like, considering what your families sacrifice for our country, you guys at least deserve decent freakin' medical care.

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  18. Military families should have the same darn health care that Obama and all the politicians have....let them live on yours for a while and see what it's like. Then they would shut their traps!

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  19. I am very sick of everyone bashing military healthcare. I feel all of that..next: enemies of the overseas military spouse.

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  20. It is true the healthcare isn't always great, and certainly not consistent, on bases. BUT, I am very thankful that my child can receive speech therapy, see a civilian specialist, and even receive expensive tests, and we pay nothing. It really hits home how lucky we are for that, when I hear a coworker with the company's "good" healthcare paying $2,000 this month just for medical tests, and they have to pay out of pocket for her child's much needed speech therapy. I have found you really have to be your own advocate though and stay on top of your doc, especially with feedback from referrals and tests done by civilians, or things definitely slip through the cracks.

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  21. I'm not in the military and cannot speak to their healthcare. My sister was in the Army and has been out for several years. I still have to remind her that while I have no doubt there are things about military healthcare that suck, it's no picnic on the private side either. My family pays extremely high premiums and deductibles and can't get my cancer-survivor husband an independent plan because of his "pre-existing condition," even though he's been cancer-free for nearly eight years! Healthcare and insurance is a racket all-around, I'm pretty sure. TAll that being said, I truly appreciate all the servicemen and women that protect our right to write, debate, and comment on blogs such as these.

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  23. My husband is a pediatrician in the Army. I feel you- there's some crappy care in there. However, contrary to popular opinion, it's actually the civilian doctors who are contracted that get the most complaints. They're the older ones that haven't studied anything in years. And surprisingly the residents and students are the ones more up-to-date on things since they're learning the NEWEST research.

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  24. Hahaha!! A guy on my husband's last ship would always say that mandatory fun is not fun, but it is mandatory!!

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  25. I am very sick of everyone bashing military healthcare. I feel all of that..next: enemies of the overseas military spouse. - See more at: http://www.rantsfrommommyland.com/2013/03/foreign-and-domestic-enemies-of.html#sthash.uu2cxYgM.dpuf

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