A few months ago, my niece who lives some distance away, sent me a message with the following question.
Was it hard being an air force wife? My boyfriend is starting to get ready for talking to recruiters and I just wanted to know if he were to get in and one day we got married how hard would it be to be an air force wife?
I spent fifteen years as a “dependent wife”. This was a term I always despised so I came up with a better title: Military Household Management Specialist. During this time, I have to say that I met some of the most, immature, self-absorbed, and incompetent women on the face of the earth. Every deployment, every inconvenience was met with petulant whining and clever manipulation. Deprived of their husbands, they expected the First Sergeants to find suitable substitutes for grass mowing, snow shoveling, car repairs, even light bulb changing and taking out the garbage. And when the nights got too long and too cold, they found comfort in the arms of other men. I had no respect for such women, and fortunately they were rare. More often, I met women who were the epitome of grace, dignity, patriotism, and pride. These strong and self-sufficient women became my role models. They endured much. Multiple births, major surgeries, cancer treatments, the deaths of loved ones. All these born alone with husband and family members thousands of miles away. Military wives help each other through these hardships and form lifelong bonds that transcend time and distance. If the dreaded official car stops in front of your house, they are the ones who hold you up. At the same time knowing, “there but for the grace of God”. These are the women who inspired me. They also humbled me. For I was blessed. Even though there were plenty of headaches, and hardships, missed anniversaries, Christmases and birthdays, my husband was there for the births of his children, and retired from service healthy and whole. Friday was Military Spouse Appreciation Day. In honor of those who are still living the life, and those who are contemplating it, here, at the suggestion of my niece, is the answer I gave to her question.
There’s no easy one-size fits all answer to that question. I can tell you that being in the military is a hard life for families, but it can be a good and rewarding life if you have the right attitude. You have to understand that in the military the mission ALWAYS comes first. We were taught that in a Christian marriage, you put the needs of your spouse first, but it cannot be that way in a military marriage, you have to accept that you will be second, not because he wants it that way, but because it has to be that way. He might not get to be there for the birth of his children. He will miss birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmases and it will be as hard on you as it will be for him. You will move often and you will be thousands of miles away from your family and friends back home. You will be lonely and your non-military friends will not be able to relate to the life you now lead. You will need to be self-sufficient. You will have to mow grass, change light bulbs, take out the trash, and kill spiders for yourself. While your husband is deployed you will need to take responsibility for running the household. You will need to know how to pay bills, file taxes, and balance the checkbook. You will need to be trustworthy, because he will have to leave you his power of attorney, giving you the ability to handle any personal legal business for him. This will also give you the power to ruin him financially, so you have to be a woman of character. You will have to ask yourself, if you would be able to accept that he might have to kill someone in the line of duty. Would knowing that he did, change how you feel about him? You have to prepare yourself mentally for the possibility that he might be killed, but not to constantly dwell on that or you will drive yourself crazy. You will also have to teach your children how to deal with this as well. But to tell you the truth, it is worth it. You will be an important part of the support system that enables military men and women to do their jobs and get home safely. With the grace of God, you will grow and mature in ways you can’t even imagine now. You will be able to handle crisis and hardships that you never thought you could. You will get to go places and see things that you might never have the opportunity to if you weren’t a military spouse. You get to buy groceries at the commissary and shop at the BX and save a lot of money by doing so. You get military discounts at lots of stores. You will gain the support and friendship of other military spouses. Most importantly, you get to be proud to be married to a man who is fighting to bring liberty and freedom to the world. You get to carry with you the satisfaction of knowing that the sacrifices you make, help to secure the peace of the only nation on earth that recognizes that our rights are granted by God and not government. The most important thing you can do, is to be honest with your boyfriend about how you feel about being a military spouse. Share with him your fears and feelings now, before he signs up. If you get married, it won’t be just him serving; it will be the both of you and your children as well. This is a decision you should make together.
I was watching “Dirty Jobs” with Mike Rowe, the other day with my son. I wonder if he has ever done a show on the dirtiest job of all, motherhood. There’s a whole alphabet of disgusting things that moms deal with on a daily basis, barf, blood, boogers, diapers and diarrhea. Not to mention mold and mildew. If he could squeeze eighteen years of child rearing and housework into a one hour show, he would have an episode so gross no one could sit though it. Especially at dinnertime.
Next to “Moooom!, Tommy’s playing out in the middle of a four lane highway!” Nothing strikes fear in the heart of a mother quite like hearing “eeeeewwww!” emanating from one of her children. You just know that what awaits you will require a strong constitution and some heavy-duty stain remover.
Over the years I have been blessed with some memorable messes. Many of them involved the still recognizable remains of some sort of animal that the dog heaved up. Cleaning hair from the bathtub drain almost does me in. I’ll spare you the gory details. Just use your imagination. On second thought, don’t. I think my personal “favorite” (maybe favorite is the wrong word) was the fluorescent green diaper load my son presented me with after consuming blueberry flavored applesauce. It was the first of many diapers that prompted the question, what did you eat?
Those of you who have children can probably relate. Those of you contemplating parenthood be warned. Motherhood not only requires an iron will, but an iron stomach as well.
Oops! Sean Patrick Hazlett at Reflection of a Rational Republican has asked for predictions for 2112. I thought He wanted predictions for 2012. That’s what years of watching Barney the Dinosaur with your kids does to your brain. Drawing on the hopes, dreams and sense of humor of a housewife, this is what I think the average household will look like 100 years from now.
- Homes will be built of materials that are resistant to heat and radiation. This means that people will no longer fear losing their homes to fires or maybe even a nuclear war. Houses will also be able to shield their occupants from the effects of climate change
- Homes will have self-cleaning filtration systems. Household air will be free from dust, pollens and pollutants greatly reducing the prevalence of diseases such as asthma and hay fever. It will be discovered however that such clean living results in weakening our immune systems causing outbreaks of new diseases.
- Clothing will be made from disposable, compostable materials. Eliminating the need to do laundry while nourishing the soil.
- Boo boos will be treated with a spray-on synthetic skin that will immediately heal the wound and eliminate scarring. It will still be permissible to “kiss it and make it better”
- Mundane housework such as dusting, mopping and vacuuming will all be done by a household robot. Like a Roomba on steroids.
- Bad hair days will be eliminated. A woman will be able to style her hair by uploading an image of her face and the desired style to an automated hair dresser that will then fix her hair. By interconnecting to the auto stylists of your neighbors you can still catch up on the latest gossip.
- Baby monitors will be able to interpret an infant’s cries. We will now know if baby needs a fresh diaper, a bottle or just a hug.
- 3-D technology will advance to where we will be able to interact with the characters on our TV screen. This will prove to be a bad thing leading to all sorts of social dysfunctions.
- We will be able to communicate with each other via cell phone like devices implanted behind our ears. These devices will also be able to issue reminders and to do lists to us making errand running more efficient. As an added bonus husbands will no longer be able to forget birthdays and anniversaries. On the downside it will be difficult to tell if a person is schizophrenic or merely having a legitimate conversation.
- The ultimate remote will be invented. This device will enable a wife to override all other remote devices in the house. Eliminating inappropriate programming, channel surfing and excess sports watching.
- The “little red schoolhouse” will cease to exist as all children will be taught at home through virtual schools.
- I’m still holding out hope for that replicator.
Sean Patrick Hazlett at Reflections of a Rational Republican has thrown down the gauntlet and has asked other bloggers to list their technology predictions for 2012.
I am technologically defunct. Just starting this blog was a huge leap for me. I usually have to get my tech advice from my teenage kids. They love Apple. Now if I could just get them to eat one once in a while.
Here are my 2012 predictions. I chose to focus on issues that may be of importance to families. Some deal with technology, some not.
- As schools deal with budget cuts, virtual schools will become common. Children at all grade levels will take at least some of their public school classes at home online.
- The job markets will remain weak. As more and more families adjust to a reduced income, many people will choose not to re-enter the work force. This will create a return to the single income family with one parent staying home to care for the children. The stay at home parent will not necessarily be the mom. The spouse with the most income potential will be the one to return to work.
- We will no longer need to depend on Soyuz rockets to supply the ISS. Companies such as SpaceX will begin regular privatized missions late this year or early 2013.
- Video games will become more realistic. The gamer will be able to experience the feel of different environments. For example, feeling wet when in water, hot in a desert, or cold in the snow. He will be able to feel the sensation of various terrains beneath his feet and games will have sensors that emit real pain sensations when the player is injured in a battle. Thus giving our kids even more reasons to avoid playing outdoors.
- Biosphere resorts will become popular vacation destinations. Imagine relaxing in a lush tropical garden where it’s not too hot, not too cold, and no mosquitoes.
- The Mars Rover Curiosity will discover actual microbial life on the planet.
- Iran will test fire it’s first nuclear bomb this summer.
- Tensions with Iran cause gas prices to rise to over $5.00 a gallon this spring. This will result in real food shortages here in the US. In response more families will start to grow personal vegetable gardens. Several states will pass regulations to stop HOA’s from forbidding such gardens.
- Because an impending war with Iran will force us to stop our dependence on Middle Eastern oil in a hurry and because the technology already exists, I expect to see used vegetable oil become e popular as an alternative fuel.
- After the Republican Convention, Ron Paul, Michele Bachman and Rick Santorum will remain in the race as third-party candidates. The Republican Party will be fractured and Barack Obama will win the election as a result. This will cause the formation of a truly viable third-party and the election of a third-party president in 2016.
- Star Trek type replicators will become common in American homes. I know, probably not, but a mom can dream.
- And finally, all those of you who are expecting the world to end in December, and re using this, as your retirement strategy will be sadly disappointed come January 1, 2013.
I wish you all a blessed new year.
I’ve had many dogs through the years. Some were acquired on purpose, most wandered up the driveway. Beckoned by the huge sucker, visible only to dogs, painted on the garage door. This gave me an opportunity to study many dog behaviors. Most dogs have bad habits that can be overcome with training and patience, but there is one habit that I have never seen a dog broken of. Getting into the trash.
What is it about a reeking garbage can that makes it irresistible to dogs? Is it the tantalizing texture of a Brillo pad? The succulent aroma of a sanitary napkin? The mouth-watering flavor of molding leftovers? After years of observation I have come to the conclusion that garbage is dog crack.
There’s no other way to explain why a dog, nervously looking over his shoulder, will sneak, cowering with his tail between his legs, back to a garbage can knowing that a beating will be the result. Rather than get angry we should pity them. They can’t help it. They’re addicted. As there are no twelve-step programs for doggie trash addiction, the best advice I can offer is to keep the trash away from the dog. And be thankful he doesn’t smoke.