Stereotypes. I know we all hate them but they are still there, especially within the military community. One of the biggest ones is that all military spouses are the same. Heck, most people still just say military wives! It’s 2015 and we are breaking the mold of what it means to be a military spouse these days. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to be a non-traditional military spouse. For people who are new to the military family, for those who have a same-sex partner, for couples who are doing the dual military thing, and for male spouses it can sometimes feel like an uphill battle to understand what is going on and how they fit.
Photo Credit: Flickr user USAG Humphreys
New To The Military
Some people grew up in the military, so when they married into it they had an idea of what a military spouse was and that not all fit the same mold. But for those who were new to the military family, it is easy to feel left out. Molly, a Navy same-sex spouse, had always pictured the military spouse life as a very lonely one. She saw military spouses as people who gave up everything they wanted in life just to raise kids and follow their partner around every few years.
When I asked Jessica, half of a dual-military couple, how she pictured military spouses she wasn’t shy in telling me how the picture in her head didn’t exactly match her reality.
“I pictured them as the stay-at-home mom who kept everything running. The one who ensured that when it was time for bags to be packed, everything was ready to go. All of the special ‘niceties’ were purchased so that home would not feel too far away. And during the time of deployment, the nightly chats were always positive and encouraging. In reality, that picturesque daydream did not happen. I tried, but in doing so, made myself feel less than adequate as a wife and mother. The truth is, I had deadlines I had to meet. I had an extremely demanding job that I enjoyed, but had to find a balance for the kids and myself. Halfway through our toughest tour, we added a newborn to our family. So with 2 older children, a toddler, and a baby things still had to get done. Dinner, baths, pack for the next day, midnight feedings, laundry, dishes, mowing the grass…the list goes on and on…those calls that were promised became short and sometimes hostile. On the weekends is really when we would catch up and be more relaxed with each other.”