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I’ve got your “entitled” right here…

June 11, 2010

When someone tells a milspouse to suck it up and deal with the trials of military life, there are three typical culprits:

  1. The holier-than-thou milspouse who buys the bullshit about the unpaid work we’re expected to do
  2. The civilian who’s too busy talking out of his/her ass to realize the numerous false assumptions s/he’s making, assumptions like the “free medical” and “free housing” and “stable job” and the community that “takes care of its own” – all of which are BULLSHIT, thanks
  3. The service member, usually a man of the Old Skool variety, who forgets that we womenfolk got the right to vote and own property a few years ago, and who attributes our wanking to hysteria and mysterious women parts that rule our entire bodies. These Old Skool types often forget that there are male milspouses now who have it even worse. But these people usually can’t be saved, so we’ll metaphorically pat them on the heads right now and move along

There’s an overlapping subset of folks within the first two groups who also say this shit to folks like me, folks who were milspousing before 9/11 changed the world and how the military operates within it. Those folks don’t realize the Navy was deploying constantly before 9/11 anyway. They also don’t consider how radically the optempo changed after 9/11 (not surprising) and that our sailors – in addition to the more numerous ship deployments – are now expected to strap on boots, hie off to a landlocked country, and play like they’re soldiers. Which, ahem, they’re not. They trained their whole careers on driving and operating ships and the systems that make our Navy kick such effective ass. They trained to be the presence that helps to promote peace, the deep sea arm of the war on drugs, and the seaside spankers of naughty tyrants.

The new Navy? The Navy we have today? That’s not what we signed up for, thank you. My husband should be driving ships, not running convoys. My husband should be in a dangerous situation on a large, floating metal coffin. Not in a dangerous situation with an up-armored SUV in an area where IEDs are possible. And when he’s just gone on two deployments and been home, away from the ship, for exactly two months, he should NOT be heading to Afghanistan to be a mighty “saildier” for seven months.

He’s sacrificing for our country. But so am I. So are my kids. And guess what? We aren’t getting a paycheck for the work we do to support the military. It’s expected of us. The “job” the holier-than-thou milspouse insists should be whine-free is a damn hard job. And if we don’t do it, we’re not “supporting the home front” and are bad, evil milspouses who will go to milspouse hell. If we don’t do it, we’re making our service members’ lives more difficult, which is the only reason most of us do the bare minimum of what we have to do.

But what about the “mandatory fun” that service members are encouraged (and by encouraged, I mean the way a parent encourages a kid to clean up his damn room already) to bring their spouses to? The meetings we’re expected to attend? The unlawful orders that invariably come down from some overzealous commanding officer that requires the spouse to be involved in official functions and unofficial support groups? To keep the peace, to show our support, we grumble and piss and moan to one another, but we do what we need to do to support the war fighters.

And again, we don’t get paid to do this. Our spouses? When you divide their pay by the number of hours they work, stand watch, and are required to be present and accounted for on a ship, how surprised are you to learn that enlisted and junior officers range from well below to floating just around minimum wage?

Wow! What a deal!

Free medical? Have you heard that phrase “you get what you pay for?” Because that totally applies. We do pay monthly to get “better” insurance, but that “better” is just another HMO. And that “better” insurance still forces me to pay $180 for one prescription that keeps me from spiraling into the asthma I’ve developed since our PCS to this city. That “free housing?” No. We get an allowance for housing, and that allowance changes depending on where you live. Without the allowance, do you have any idea what the salary of a service member is? Go look it up. Yes, it’s that pathetic, especially considering the level of sacrifice and danger that comes with this job.

What do spouses give up? Let’s tally!

  • Friends. Because we move every two years.
  • Proximity to the community we know we can rely on when shit gets rough. Such as family.
  • Careers. Because nobody wants to hire someone when they know her husband deploys a lot, the kids will get sick and need her to take a sick day to care for them, and in the end she’ll last in that position for maybe two years, tops. And by the way, when you’ve spent thousands of dollars on an education, loss of career is totally hot.
  • Stability. The military job might always be there, but the lifestyle that comes with it is FAR from stable. There’s a reason we joke that our motto is Semper Gumby.
  • Marriage. This life is hard. Divorce rates have always been high in the Navy (they didn’t take an extended vacay during the Cold War…just sayin’) because the service member isn’t around that much. And when you endure deployment, there’s a psychological roller coaster to deal with before, during, and after. Prepping for the worst, enduring the separation, and reintegrating at the end. It’s hard on people. It’s harder on marriages.
  • Time. This is especially true for spouses with kids who get to be single moms or dads with married responsibilities. But in the 8 years I was childfree, I also sacrificed a lot of time doing the usual marriage legwork without any of the benefits of being married. It was all on me because I was the homefront. I still am.

This may sound like a boatload of bitching. And maybe there’s some bitchery to it. But really, it’s just plain fact. It’s our way of life, and there are many facets to this lifestyle that just flat-out suck the balls of hairiness. There’s not much I can do about the know-it-all milspouse except to hold her hand when she loses her shit in two years and needs a ride to the looney farm. However, there’s a lot I can say to the civilian full of assumptions and wank.

First, fuck you. You tell me to suck it up when YOU have sucked it up. When your family is one of the 1% of serving Americans, come back and be that know-it-all to me. If you can do so while keeping your soul intact, that is.

Second, fuck you. When the military tells us they’re going to give us benefits and then renege, I have the right and the duty to bitch up a storm. And I shall. And if you want to wank at me, prepare for the snarking fury, for it will descend upon you.

Third, fuck you. If your job climate becomes impossible to bear, you never see your kids, the pay is shite, the benefits are shrinking, the company wants to move you for the sixth time in ten years, and they expect you to travel 50-75% of the time with no hope for the family to turn it into a working family vacay, you have the option of going elsewhere. We, on the other hand, are contracted. Enlisted have to serve out their time. Officers have to appeal to Congress to resign their commissions. That Congress bit, by the way, can take up to a year. And Congress can say no.

Fourth, fuck you. If my expectation to receive the benefits and rights promised to me makes me entitled, then great. I am SO fucking entitled. Because I, through my unpaid work as a milspouse, have earned a few benefits. My kids, through the sacrifices they have never had a say in making or not, have earned benefits I will fight to the snarling death to ensure they get. And if that makes them entitled, so be it. We are entitled. And we’re entitled to more than just the lip-service “hardest job in the Navy” bollocks the CO likes to hand us.

But since, apparently, it’s become Not The Thing to bitch about the hardships of this life, and now we’re supposed to shut up and pretend like it’s great, I’m issuing the following notice:

Anyone who criticizes me for bitching has lost their right to bitch about the shitty parts of parenting, jobs, traffic, politics and government, childbearing, home ownership, pet ownership, car ownership, or any similar facet of life initiated by a decision to get involved.

You knew what you signed up for. Quit acting entitled. Suck it up and deal.

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. June 11, 2010 11:11 am

    HIGH five. WAY high five!

  2. Kira permalink
    June 11, 2010 11:20 am

    Took the words right out of my mouth.

  3. June 11, 2010 11:34 am

    YES. a huge, resounding YES. this was amazing. you are amazing.

  4. June 11, 2010 1:07 pm

    You tell ’em!

  5. June 11, 2010 1:07 pm

    I LOVE this, thanks for letting it all air out!! People need to hear this and they need to understand the truth about our so called entitlements!!

  6. June 11, 2010 2:49 pm

    Rad! I’m a fan of telling people to suck it up when they tell me too after not hearing from my man in 2 weeks… yeah.

  7. June 11, 2010 5:12 pm

    Amen!

  8. June 11, 2010 5:16 pm

    Sorry, you had me laughing at the holier than thou milspouses! Man, I wish one of them would post a reply. Ummm…this blog is seriously questioning myself (LOL)

  9. June 11, 2010 5:21 pm

    You are a mighty warrior of Goddess and I honor and respect you.

  10. snarkynavywife permalink*
    June 11, 2010 6:14 pm

    Thank you. 😀

  11. June 11, 2010 7:19 pm

    I think I love you.

  12. June 11, 2010 7:39 pm

    I am an ex milspouse (meaning spouse is out of the military not that we got divorced) and all I can say is AMEN.

  13. silver star permalink
    June 12, 2010 1:25 am

    I agree on parts of your rant. If my husband wasn’t a Reservist, then I may agree on the rest.

    I hear the one about health insurance all the time! Yeah, my husband’s is great, but I’m not covered. I have to play the indian card and hope they’ll help me.

    I have lived in the same city for 7 years. I have spent 6 years trying to get a job in the field I have a degree in, with no success. I looked into MyCAA a while back, if I read it correctly, its only for Active Duty, so I’m still stuck in the same boat. Now you know how NG/Reservist feel. They strugle to find jobs since employers know they have to give them time off for drill, training, etc. My husband tried to get hired on at the TSA last year, he has a high security clearance yet they wouldn’t hire him!

    We live w/my mom in a tiny apartment, its better than those shitholes they call indian housing, but still, the military doesn’t help us out. All we can do is hope both of us find better jobs, or my husband decides to go active.

  14. Jehanne Dubrow permalink
    June 12, 2010 4:32 pm

    This is the perfect post. I’ve been waiting for someone to say all of these things in one place. Most people outside of the circle have no clue about the New Navy and the problem of IAs, about mandatory fun, about TriCare, and all the rest. Brava!

  15. evileene permalink
    June 13, 2010 10:05 am

    I srsly love you. Have linked this and the other entitled posts to a couple milspouse chat groups I’m in. All the ladies at Left Face are awesome and say what I want to, but oh so much better than I could.

  16. June 13, 2010 9:44 pm

    Splendid piece of writing. Your tagline “Prepare for the snarking fury.” belongs on a t-shirt or bumper sticker. As the wife of an Army Guard soldier, I am all too familiar with the colossal fucktivity that operationalizing our Guard and Reserve has created for citizen soldiers and their families.

  17. June 14, 2010 1:10 pm

    I was never a milspouse. I was military, and spouse of military. I love what you say here and add only that I fully believe there is a DUTY to bitch. Rock that boat. Let off steam. Don’t ignore the reality! Military is not and never will be a glamorous life … for the soldier/sailor/airman/marine or for the family attached. I am so glad I served. I am proud to have been the wife of a soldier. But it is a bitch. Keeping that in mind, kept me sane.

  18. Crystal Hambrick permalink
    June 15, 2010 4:50 pm

    OMG, I just found this site through another blog and I think I love you too:) You took everything I’ve been thinking and not able to articulate and wrote it here. Awesome article!!

  19. June 17, 2010 3:32 pm

    I big puffy heart you. This is all stuff I’ve been saying for the last 10 years.

  20. June 30, 2010 12:39 pm

    SING IT, sister!

  21. Jane permalink
    July 22, 2010 2:07 am

    L-o-v-e this post!! I”m so glad somebody got up the guts to call a spade a spade. Now, if only the right people would LISTEN…;)

    p.s.–> Manda-fun BLOWS and I ain’t going no matter how bad I look. It’s my only way to rebel these days.

Trackbacks

  1. The Great “Entitlement” Debate
  2. The Great “Entitlement” Debate « LeftFace — The Other MilSpouse Blog
  3. Think About Your Choices | Girly Gazette

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