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Again with the farting rainbows…

November 4, 2010

One of our number wrote something on her private blog about a friend who is, quite frankly, getting the shaft.  After a 15 month deployment, he gets 3 whole days at home, before being sent to a school at the other end of the country, leaving the spouse and kids to pack up, move etc.  then, no leave after school, straight to command.  Our friend, quite rightly, expounded on the fact that this really really sucks.  Not just for him, but for his family.  Now, for those of us who have a few hashmarks of our own, who have moved, and moved, who have gotten through at least one deployment, we know how much this blows.

Now a commenter on her blog did the “oh, suck it up routine”.  That this is just part of being in the military, that the spouse should be proud of her spouse and quit whining…  We waited for our friend to deliver her now patented brand of skewer, and she did with the next posting there.

Being the curious soul that I am, I decided to take a look at the commenter.  Let’s see, she’s been a milspouse for… oh gosh, two whole years!  deployments – coming up on her first. (now according to her, she was “brought up in a military family”)  Ok, here’s MY sheet, dear. I’m a State Department Brat, lived in places they don’t even SEND military families to… I’ve been an Army Wife for a helluva long time, my son and daughter in law are both veterans and one of the FOUR deployments I’ve gotten through was with the kid.     SO    I’m going to put on my Old Army Wife shirt right now and gently inform this young lady that when she’s actually DONE a deployment, when she’s actually DONE a PCS unaccompanied, when she’s actually had to put up with year after year after year of this dung, she gets to tell someone who had been there, who has the Tshirts, coffee mugs, hashmarks and worry lines to suck it up.       Until then, the farting rainbows and fairy dust should be kept to herself.

Pride in her spouse?  oh hell yes, we all have that.  Pride in his service, sure.  But to tell a milspouse that she shouldn’t complain that her family life is being affected by continual poundings – that’s beyond pride, that’s beyond sensible.  She gets to bitch, dammit, she’s LIVING IT!  We don’t get to tell her that she “knew what she was getting into”.   She may have known that he’d deploy a lot, yes, he’s Navy.  But did she know that a detailer would refuse to allow him to come home maybe 30 days early, so he could help his spouse pack up and move a house and kids?  Even if she did, isn’t she entitled to actually show the strain and say, damn, this is gonna suck?  This “stiff upper lip, don’t show the rest of the world we are hurting” crap isn’t working! anyone seen the statistics lately?  the suicides, the attempts, the families in crisis?

I’m not saying we should weep and wail constantly.  I’m saying we are entitled to say this sucks.  We get to say, could we catch a break?  I’m saying holding it all in is unhealthy.  And I’m saying that when you have been there, done that, you get to say what you want, and no one gets to judge you, least of all someone who hasn’t been there, done that.

LAW

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. November 4, 2010 9:53 am

    Amen! All I have to say is God bless our military and their spouses. My father is retired Army, I have friends in the Army and Navy, I have lost a friend in Iraq, and I have two girlfriends that are at home with the little ones while husbands are deployed on trip #2 to Iraq.

    Being in the military is a huge challenge and so is being a spouse from what I understand. I try to visit my girlfriend and my Godchildren regularly when her husband is away. She is so strong to manage a life, house, cars, children, and a job all alone.

    Not knowing when or where you’re moving to must be so hard. And to get such short notice and virtually no assistance sounds terrible.

    I am glad someone told that person that she should allow people to complain when things are crappy. I don’t know how you all (spouses and parents) make it through.

    I wonder if after 10 years that woman will feel the same way. That is if she makes it that long.

  2. Smurfette permalink
    November 4, 2010 10:02 am

    Amen, sista! Speak it! It just cracked me up that a neophyte milspouse had the nerve to say that to AA, who has been there seen it lived it for forever. We don’t wear our spouse’s ranks, but last night was one of the first times I have ever desired to pull out all our husband’s collective ranks and years of services and smack her with it.
    But you know, people like that wouldn’t get it anyway.
    I think every bit as much as the service members need to check the culture of pretending to be too tough for anything and not seeking counseling when needed, milspouses need to give up the same thing. I can’t help but wonder if that pregnant milspouse in NC who committed suicide a couple years ago did so because no one was there to hear her and support her through her husband leaving for Iraq. (Sorry, can’t find news article right now). That is what scares me about the “sunshine and unicorns” set. They are so myopic that they don’t realize that telling someone in real pain to just get over it is the worst advice ever.
    Hopefully there is hope for them and they will mature with age and experience??

  3. November 4, 2010 10:31 am

    embrace the suck. Way different than sucking it up, IMO. That’s truly what it’s about I think. It sucks. You know it sucks. You talk about how sucktastic the suck is, and yet you just have to deal with it, but it doesn’t stop it from sucking one iota more. Just because my husband loves his job does not mean that it doesn’t suck. Lots and lots of days it sucks. And suck it up – that just doesn’t cover it for me. My husband and I have been married for a LOT of years and and we’ve seen nothing compared to what most of you have so if anyone wants to shout that it sucks – then go for it.

  4. November 4, 2010 10:41 am

    When facing most of a pregnancy rife with complications alone only to have the baby induced because my husband, fresh off a deployment, had orders to PCS with an inflexible report no later than date (resulting in even more dangerous complications), I was given advice by many that implied I should just suck it up, that I could just whip my breast out in the car on the cross-country drive in order to breast feed my son, that I should take aspirin to prevent blood clots after my c-section. Easy-peasy, right? Enter, severe postpartum depression….

    In fact, when we tried to have the date moved a mere two weeks to give me a month of recovery, a commander told my husband ‘s commander that I could do it because his wife had to. Never mind the fact that I was at-risk! I was seriously sick of the people who suggested that this wasn’t a big deal. There’s a fine line between being flexible and can-do and being something else (victim/pushover), but we’re often pushed into that corner no matter how hard we try to resist it. Finally, I told people that if they went all cheerleader on my ass that I would seriously lose my shit. I’m still angry about it some twenty months later….

    I hate that we have created this culture that punishes any resistance from spouses, when we have to fight to put our family first because we, as spouses, have to be sole advocates for ourselves and our family members because the service member cannot make that a priority.

  5. November 4, 2010 11:05 am

    Exactly!

    I hate the viewpoint that we signed up for this so we just have to shut up about it all. My husband signed up to serve his country. Sometimes that gets really hard and you need to vent about it. Sometimes things happen to families that just are not OK and that is why things change. And what other job do people say, “Well that is what you signed up for?”

  6. November 4, 2010 12:04 pm

    Amen! I think that people forget that life still happens. We have to deal with the military and the problems that come along with it, on top of all the every day crap life throws at us. Sometimes its enough to just get through the day, that alone is a success on the worst of days. And the good days are that much better knowing everything you had to go through to get there.

  7. November 4, 2010 1:41 pm

    *breaks into applause* Y’all know my thoughts on this by now. But dang, she’s only been a millie for two years? And she had the balls to be a glittersh*tter to “been there done that” wives? Wow.

  8. November 4, 2010 2:11 pm

    The double standard – the one that allows for a public discussion of the hardship of nearly a decade of war upon the troops/veterans while chastising and/or demonizing the military spouses who do the same – is inherently patronizing, sexist, and ignorant, and unbelievably mean-spirited. Denying the reality and experience of today’s mil.spouse, and attacking those who have the audacity to name it for what it is, (and that’s happening not just in the blogosphere, but in the public sphere) quite effectively silences the advocates.

    At least as importantly, it creates the conditions that contribute to the silent suffering and increasing mental health problems and suicide attempts of military family members. A few weeks ago I was in the room when a Guard chaplain got the call that a Guard spouse had attempted suicide while her husband was serving yet another tour in Iraq. This happened the same day that my article about The War at Home came out:

    I am tired of hearing about the uncanny resilience of the military spouse, as if I, somehow, have failed by not emerging unscathed from seven years of war, and more than three years without my husband. Rubber bands are resilient, too, but with time and use, they lose their ability to hold what they once did. When they are stretched beyond their limits, they snap. And so it has been for the military spouses who have committed or attempted suicide in the past few years…

    http://www.stacybannerman.com/articles-commentary.shtml#atwarathome

    One of the horrible hallmarks of the Vietnam War was how this nation turned its back on the troops and veterans. In coming decades, one of the painful legacies of these wars will be how a country abandoned the home front, and turned its back on the spouses and children who didn’t sign up but are serving and sacrificing regardless.

  9. November 4, 2010 3:02 pm

    Applause Stacy! Applause!

    Myself and a few other wife friends are currently “watching” and doing our best to help one of our own who we feel is in real danger. Does she support her husband? sure. Did she know what it was when she signed up? Absolutely, but life has come at her in weird ways that no one could have expected – two babies in as many years, one with health issues; a civi employer that promised one thing and delivered something else leaving her very strapped financially, a move to a new home which was a great move for her immediate family, but left her isolated from her parents and siblings and other ‘built in’ support. And yet, she’s not supposed to say this sucks? She’s not supposed to feel anything? We do all we can to help her come to terms with it, to use this negative energy to fuel her, because it’s the only thing she’s got right now. She’s tapped out. And we’re scared for her safety.

    Sorry to go off topic. 🙂

  10. November 4, 2010 3:16 pm

    It’s on topic – and at some point during the past nine-plus years, I bet we’ve all been scared for a spouse left behind (or veteran’s wife), if not for ourselves. Good for you and your group for being the battle buddies for “tapped out.” don’t even get me started on civilian employers …

  11. Smurfette permalink
    November 4, 2010 3:18 pm

    @Stacy: This is what I was looking for. As someone who has dealt with significant depression as a milspouse and the development of an anxiety disorder that impacts my job, I can say that having someone acknowledge what I am feeling is really important and valuable.
    Thank you for your contribution.

  12. November 4, 2010 4:16 pm

    If you’re going by the “we knew what we were signing up for,” argument, then not one married adult in this country can complain about their life and the crap life throws their way because by that same argument, “they knew what they were signing up for.”

    There are no guarantees, and any of us married prior to Sept 11, 2001, knew of the idea of what we were getting into, but not the reality it’s become. We had no idea that the system that’s supposed to take care of us (or so we were led to believe) would instead bully us, ignore us, and downright forget us.

    Everyone has a sucky time of it now and again. We’re all entitled to our vents and frustrations without it becoming a pissing match. Give miss sunshine and rainbows another 3 years – max. I give her to the end of the upcoming deployment to change her tune and join the other “seasoned” spouses.

    • snarkynavywife permalink*
      November 5, 2010 6:54 pm

      Amanda, you’re absolutely right about how things are changed. We didn’t sign up for this. He has chosen to stay in despite the shift in the military, but it’s hard not to make that choice when you’ve already sunk so many years toward retirement. The cost to leave outweighs the cost of staying in.

      That said, my pat response from now on will be that if we’re not allowed to bitch because we knew the risks when we “signed up” then nobody is allowed to bitch for anything that goes wrong because they “signed up” to be in that situation in the first place.

  13. November 4, 2010 6:08 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this! I have only been a navy wife for a little over a year and have already dealt with my husband going straight from boot camp, to a-school, then on to a six month deployment. All together we were separated for 10 months and he just returned home only to find out they will begin work ups and deploy right away again. I can’t help but feel cheated, and when I posted about how upset I was that between work ups and the 8 month deployment coming up that my husband will miss every holiday, birthday and our wedding anniversary for a whole year, I actually had a “friend” tell me to just “deal with it,” because i knew he signed up for this, and that I have no reason to be upset. Umm, Excuse me, but just because I knew my husband was going to join the navy didn’t mean I thought we would spend our entire first and second years of marriage apart. Never did I think we would be getting screwed over like this, and frankly it does suck! And hell yes i am mad about it! I love my husband, and wouldn’t it be a little strange if I wasn’t upset about him leaving again so soon? Some people just don’t get it, and this so called “friend” doesn’t know anyone in the military and has never dated or been married to anyone in the military, which I find to be hilarious because he has NO room to tell me to just “deal with it.” People who know nothing of the subject need to shut their mouths because they are in no place to look down on someone for venting about being screwed over, especially if it was on her private blog. Why else do we have blogs if we can’t even be true to ourselves and write about what we are really feeling, experiencing, or upset about at the time? It is your own personal place to discuss whatever you please, and if the reader doesn’t like it, then she doesn’t have to read it or write rude comments! Simple as that! 🙂

    • snarkynavywife permalink*
      November 5, 2010 6:55 pm

      Please tell me this friend was a civilian who doesn’t understand? It won’t make what she said any better, but at least it would make her stupidity a little less rancid.

  14. LAW permalink
    November 5, 2010 6:01 am

    I want to reiterate. If you are just thrilled with your life and find every little thing just super duper peachy keen, that’s wonderful and I’m happy for you. BUT that does not give you the right to tell someone else that they shouldn’t be upset and angry and SAY so, out loud. Even if you do it with smiley faces and exclamation points and “giggles”.

  15. November 5, 2010 11:53 pm

    As an FYI, I have found it extremely entertaining, not to mention a great stress reliever, to simply respond to virtually any/all civilians complaining about (insert problem here) with: “Well, ya know, I’m a military spouse, and I’ll tell you what everybody tells me: you signed up for it. ” I generally say this REGARDLESS of the circumstance. That’s usually enough of a STFU to make them stand down.

  16. November 6, 2010 11:42 am

    And additional fact of bitching and venting… sometimes, someone who knows something will overhear you and say.. “But did you know about this policy? Yea… you do NOT have to put up with (whatever) because there’s a reg for that!”

    Ok… reality is that there is not always a helpful reg to assist, but sometimes there are exceptions, and unless someone tells you about it you may miss out. But that’s what peers, support groups, blogs(!), and other resources are all about. As one quick example, I was sent on leave, but immediately (as in I landed and arrived at the relative’s door) I received a phone call and was recalled. My Command was full of idiots (an unfair accumulation) and they told me to ‘suck it up’. I knew that wasn’t right, but couldn’t prove it. I didn’t have anyone to complain to (no support group except me, meaning I ran what passed for one in the unit!) I eventually wrote my congressman and they quickly wrote back and pointed at the reg that allowed reimbursement of my airfare. (plus a ‘you should have known that’ tch tch!’ letter to the commander). If I’d had more folks out there to gripe to, maybe I would have been able to solve this simple, but costly (for a young enlisted!) problem easier.

  17. November 11, 2010 8:04 pm

    Agreed! I have been in the Army in one capacity or another for 18 years and while my hubs has never deployed, I understand the sucky-ness of solitary moves, TDYs every single month for 2 solid years and everything in between. As spouses, we DO what we have to do and we adore the men we follow around. It doesn’t mean we always love the circumstances and it CERTAINLY doesn’t mean we have to do it silently and alone. This blogs proves that! Here’s to you, MILSISTERS! ❤

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