Dependapotamus – According to Urban Dictionary: Traditionally a service-member’s dependent who is a “stay at home mom” that doesn’t do a damn thing all day besides sitting on the couch looking remarkably similar to Jabba the Hut leaching off of military benefits and eating anything that gets too close.
Simply put, the Internet is amazing. It grants us access to more information than we could ever possibly use and literally opens up a world of possibilities for our viewing, educating and entertaining pleasure. Did you know you could be certified as a Dog Psychologist Online? Certainly useful if Fido ever becomes depressed!
One of my favorite past-times while online is perusing comment sections. When I do, I’m sure to wear my big girl panties because they can get quite…interesting! Be honest, you like it too. It’s like reality TV; you know you should avert your eyes, but you just can’t!
Sometimes I come across a well thought out, helpful, and informed reply leading me to research more about a subject. Occasionally there are some really funny responses. Sadly, those are few and far between. Most comments are rife with harsh attacks by faceless readers. Leaving articles, blogs, and personal social media posts open for comments is equivalent to giving a green light to uneducated, misguided, and oftentimes cruel responses.
I saw this happen most recently on the postings for 2015 Military Spouse of the Year Awards. The negativity found its way in almost immediately. Someone posts a comment about how military spouses don’t deserve awards just because they are married, and the hits just kept coming.
I knew to avoid my eyes, but I couldn’t. I had to see what everyone was saying. Fortunately, the need to reply was kept at bay as the saying, “Do not feed the trolls!” played over and over in my head!
Do I believe these individuals shouldn’t have the opinions they do? Absolutely not. Nor do I want anyone to support a military spouse just because they wear that designation. There are bad military spouses. We all know this. Enter the term Dependapotamus! We know they exist. Sadly, we also have child abusers, spouses who steal all of their deployed service member’s money, and adulterers. Let’s be honest though, no group of people is without its troublemakers and takers.
What’s important to see here though, and this is where we should be focusing our energies, is we have many amazing, driven, resilient, and caring military spouses. Spouses willing to go out of their way day after day to ease the burden of those around them. Spouses, who not only support their own family, but see a need in their military community and jump at the chance to fill the void. Spouses fighting for our military rights on Capitol Hill; advocating for our Tricare benefits; ensuring that PTSD diagnosis and treatment are at the forefront of our conversations; working to help spouses looking into higher education do so by pointing out military friendly schools and scholarships available; aiding to make employment more attainable and accessible with our crazy schedules and PCSs; sharing their entrepreneurial knowledge to help others get their businesses on a path to profitability; and so many more wonderful platforms.
So, the next time you find yourself browsing on the Internet, instead of focusing on those who give our title a bad name, take the time to learn about some of the amazing work military spouses are doing. Even better think about getting involved with some of the many organizations started by military spouses. You might be pleasantly surprised by the innovative and thoughtful work being accomplished by people who were once, “…JUST a military spouse.”
If you know someone like this, nominate him or her now! Nominations close tonight at 11:59pm EST >> msoy.militaryspouse.com/vote