Monday, January 26, 2015

Why I hate the 'Military Wife' Stigma

Many of you may not be aware that I grew up in the military lifestyle, a "navy brat" as many called it, a term my mother couldn't stand. "You're not brats!" she would say, and while we weren't golden all the time, I agree.

My issue with the "military wife" stigma is something that I'm coming to notice more and more as I become more of an outsider in this 'community' if you will. Many wives claim that their 'job' is a Navy wife, a Marine wife, an Army, Coast Guard, Airforce wife. That's not my job. My job is in the IT field, a job I have worked at for the past four and a half years. I go to work every day, well Monday-Friday, I'm also a mother and a wife every day. But being a mother and a wife is not something I would consider a 'job', and here is why:
  • A job by definition is:
A noun
1.  a piece of work, especially a specific task done as part of the routine of one's occupation or for an agreed price:
She gave him the job of mowing the lawn.
2.  a post of employment; full-time or part-time position:
She was seeking a job as an editor.
  • To me, being a mother or a wife is more than a job. It is a lifestyle change, it is a choice one made to care for one or more people for quite literally the rest of your life. To put your needs last in some occasions, and to know when to put your needs first. Is being a mother a responsibility? Yes, absolutely. But it's more than that.
  • A job, is a place of employment, a place of an employment that you chose to work at and that you can chose to leave at any given time. Being a mother, or a wife, is not a position that you can just wake up one day and decide to leave. You can't walk into your child's room and say "Mom quits today, make your own bottles, change your own diapers and occupy yourself" (well I suppose you could, but I wouldn't suggest it.)
  • My husband is the one in the military, not myself, it's his job. Not mine. I really don't feel like I do anything different than what any other wife, who loves her husband, would do. Sure it sucks when he goes away for a bit, but I like to think that is what makes our relationship work so well. It's based on more than just the day-to-day, more than physical attraction. Any normal wife would support her husbands endavors, and make sacrafices for the family. So, no, I don't think being a military wife in the broadest sense is some sort of super job.
  • To kind of contradict what I stated above, there are aspects that make it difficult. Like when the washer breaks after he's only left 12 hours ago. Or when the kids are screaming and you just want a break, but your husband isn't due to be home for another 2 months and your families are 10+ hours away. Those are trials and tribulations, and they make us who we are. They can be hard, they can be joyous, they can be heartbreaking and they can be overwhelming but I'm a firm believer in that's how we grow.
I just can't hope on board with making it my life, making it my job. Is the military a big part of our life? Yes. Do they have more control on your family life than you're average career? Yes. But it's not our life, it's not my life. My life is a compilation of things, my children, my husband, my dog, my home, my family, my job, my friends, doing things I love and enjoy doing. You get the picture. I don't wake up and live and breathe the military. I don't deploy to a war zone, I don't see steel grey walls everyday for extended amounts of time. I don't work 16 hours a day when I'm deployed.

I'm lucky to have a husband who wants to pursue this career, who wants to not only protect his family but his country. I'm lucky to have a husband who provides for his family. The most important thing though is that is his choice, his doing. I feel like the "military wife" stigma takes a lot away from that, and that makes me really sad.

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