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).


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 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. 

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