Hello, hopefully all my still awesomely wonderful readers. I’ve reached that point in motherhood where I think my kids are devouring my life. Phillip is busy busy busy, and hello is apparently obsessed with cell phones, remote controls and laptops. Brian is an emotional six year old; and thankfully I have an amazing friend (who happens to make beautiful purses here) and told this is normal. *hallelujah* I also have an amazing three, almost four year old, who is either going through her terrible two’s now (which she didn’t really when she was actually two and way more controllable) or she apparently is a 13 year old trapped in a 3 year old’s body. All of that to say, my great blogging plans have gone awry. But I really want to thank everyone who is still there, and those that read my MOM post and commented. It was a really emotional post for me and all the comments were amazing.
So onto Military Monday. I’d love to get more questions from you guys to answer on these days. I get asked so many all the time, sometimes I forget them, but if you guys have any let me know and I’d love to tackle it. But for today I’d like to talk about Deployments, or any type of separation you may have. Me and the huzz have quite a few. You’d think we’d be pros at it but we are still learning. This is a pretty hot topic in the military world, so why not tackle it myself. What do you tell your significant other when they are away? Do you try to keep intense information to yourself? For me I try to keep it together as much as possible when we do get to talk. I try not to pester him with the stressful stuff that happen around here if I can help it. We sort of work on a need to know basis. One particular incident came up where a far removed family member had passed away. I was notified of it and made the decision not to track down my husband, which was at the time almost impossible. It wasn’t a close family member, someone my husband had met as a young person maybe once. I had to handle it myself, and protected him from what could have been a potentially been an extremely high stress situation for him for various reasons. If I get a flat tire, get locked out, the car has a multitude of things go wrong, the kids go nutso, and about a million other things that do go wrong as soon as those boots leave my house, I choose to keep as much of that as quiet as possible. Although sometimes I wonder if me trying to be all happiness and sunshine and rainbows will only truly be successful if I’ve got a strong support system. I think when we were only two hours from my family and a lot of my closest friends all of that was easier for me. Now that we are across the country I’m finding that it is harder for me to keep a lid on my emotions. I have less of a support system here, I haven’t found steady babysitters for mom time, and now that we are technically on guard status, many programs that were previously available to me aren’t. With the stress of moving, getting settled, and children at three very different and very demanding stages in life, throw in a mom and many close friends that happen to be three hours ahead of me and very busy themselves, it makes for a very tough time had by all in Cammo Love house.
If you asked me on any day of the week I would tell you that in my most humble, ten year military significant other opinion, trying to keep things as stress free when your guy or gal is gone is probably the way to go. Of course, this doesn’t mean one should bottle up every emotion you might have for however long they might be gone. Recently I’ve discovered that that is a rather horrible idea and it only leads to complete emotional overflow and word vomit on your poor unsuspecting husband *ahem..me* Finding balance in all aspects of life is important, and this common military conundrum s/o’s face is no different. Find your balance, talk about what you expect during a separation and what your deployed spouse, boyfriend or fiance expects. Find your support system whoever, and wherever they might be. Take lots of deep breaths and find your way to breathe. Mine is crocheting and knitting, finding a good book to read and sometimes eating a pint of ice cream and having a good cry.
How do you handle separations? What do choose to tell your deployed significant other and what do you decide can wait until later?
And to get in a little mommy and me monday photo op here ya go!!!!
Monday is one of those crazy days…..the weekend is over, time to get back to life – hubbies usually are back at work and its back to your version on the grind. Well in the blogging world, there are two things that happen on Monday’s for me….usually. Most of the time it’s Military Monday’s over at the most awesome blog Marine Parent’s, with her awesome blog and shop.
That’s such a crazy question because it seems like it might be a simple one. The military has been such a huge part of my life, that’s its hard to imagine not having it there. For the short time I thought it might not be I totally was freaking out. It actually kinda made me sad, more than scared, but you get my drift. Hubbs has been in for now for about ten years, two years longer then we’ve been married, and four years after we got together. I was fully a part of his decision and was 1000% on board. I grew up with a strong sense of Patriotism, and love and respect for the military – both real and romantic. I have a military in my family, and I even did my report on the most influential person in my life (in sixth grade) on my grandfather, who spent 20+ years in the Army and Army Guard. He served in Korea and even went to the Berlin Wall. My dad’s dad was a top turret gunner in World War II. Various Aunts and Uncles have also been in the military. Then of course there’s the romantic love of the military. Old war movies, total crushes on guys in uniform. I remember when I was like 13 or 14 I went on a tour of the Maritime Academy in Monterey, CA. That is pretty amazing and I was in total girlie heaven. Seems so silly now that I think about it. I am also the girl, that almost pulled over my car to snap a pic with an sailor in his Cracker Jack uniform in Petaluma one time. So funny. Watching Anchor’s Away and all those fun movies was how I spent my time with girlfriends. Later on in life, and with my boyfriend (now hubby), I really developed that love of old time war stuff into a real love and knowledge of history.
The heritage, the honor, the pride that’s really what I love about being a part of the military. Seeing my husband in his uniform, its a feeling like nothing else, and I still feel this way after all this time, the times apart, the crappy stations, the ups and downs, moving. I would do anything, go anywhere and sacrifice pretty much anything for him. He does it for me all the time. His career is important to me. Don’t mistake me, sometimes it absolutely sucks. Sometimes I don’t like it, sometimes it’s hard. Moving is hard – I am really missing my friends and family right now, adjusting to this most recent move. Despite all that, I still love it. I chose this life. Sure I’m not actually in the military, and this may be super lame and so not woman power but I would sacrifice my career, if that was the path I was on. It’s hard for those that are on that path. Juggling all that. There are so many wonderful women out there fighting to make that sacrifice easier. I admire them and I hope it does get easier for those that are struggling with that. I’ve said this before to people, and I’ll say it again. I may not wear the stripes….I haven’t earned them…but they are as important to me as if I were wearing them. Now you might think that’s super lame, but its how I operate in my head and make it through the tough times. Sure I complain, I get sad and frustrated. Just because I knew what I was getting into doesn’t mean feeling any of those things isn’t okay.
And to close out this day, some Mommy and Me Monday’s action, with the always hilarious Really, Are you Serious. Mommy and Me Monday is all about getting in front of that camera with your kids. We don’t usually get in front of the camera with our kids, but with the hubbs having been gone I had a chance to get into the frame to take a pic of all of us to send to him.
In a sort of funny way, one might look at the title of this post and there might be elbow jabbing amongst wives as we say to ourselves, “of course it is, they make it really hard.” It’s true if you think about it. We, as the family, are just pawns in the game, a game we aren’t in control of. For all intents and purposes it is inhospitable. It’s not an easy thing. For the most part we go and do as we’re told. We have to be spunky, and creative and patient beyond belief. As your average run of the mill spouse, I’ve been through a lot. It’s a path I’ve chosen for myself and nothing really has gone exactly as planned.
One of my dear friends is the wife of a Wounded Warrior. It’s an invisible wound, but a wound none the less. She’s been through even more than I have. Wives are typically not part of the process, at least in her case. It took entirely too long before she was included. She’s not the one that signed the papers or raised her hand..I get it. Half the time it seems that those that did raise their hands don’t even want to be a part of the process, and if they do they cant’ be properly heard because of the set up. I can not begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard fear expressed over careers if they were to become involved in the process. The process is broken. A fabulous MilSpouse, Kristle at Forget the Dog, Not the Baby, does some amazing work with wounded vets and issues of TBI and PTS. I personally think she’s pretty darn amazing. She knows a lot more about this stuff then I do, but even someone like me with my limited experience in this department knows that what is going on here is wrong. There are so many amazing bloggers out there that bring things like this to the forefront. Wife, Widow of a Wounded Marine, who also recently started a Widows for Wounded program, writes candidly about her experiences. After Blast Warrior Wife talks plainly about her experience as the wife of a physically wounded soldier.
There’s been some articles that I’ve come across lately that always brought the phrase “inhospitable environment” to mind. Last week, on LATimes.com there was an article and sexual assaults in the military. Not an new phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination, which makes it even more sad. Different then what Warriors with injuries from war have experienced, but with similar symptoms and traumas. Something else similar – this monster that tells them to buck up, fly right and be a Soldier – Airmen, Marine or what have you. This fear of compromising their livelihood, their careers, their reputations. This organization with such legacy, that protects our freedoms, keeps us safe – this is the same place where people feel unsafe, unprotected. I’ve been through lots of psychology classes, working for my degree – and it just amazes me that it didn’t dawn on someone sooner that happy and healthy soldiers, make better soldiers. I realize change takes time. We’ve seen it before, the integration of other races, women and other changes that have taken place – they all take time. I get this too. I just wish this change would have started sooner. I wonder though what it was like back in the day, something I’d really like to do research on. We haven’t made enough changes, but at the same time so much has changed. Technology and medical advances had changed so much. Assistance programs like Wounded Warriors and so many others had made things progress so far. I wonder what it must have been like for my grandfathers. One of them was a top turret gunner in the Army Air Corp during WWII. I know he experienced things far beyond my understandings. Deployments were longer and harder. No communications, no phone calls, no fancy chow halls or places to do laundry. I can’t imagine things being any easier then they are now. People got hurt, PTS, TBI…without all the things we DO have today. I can’t imagine. I know we are lucky. But is it enough?
As cheesy as it sounds, one step in front of the other. Banding together to make change. We need brave men and women to keep stepping forward. We need husbands and wives to keep stepping forward. We need PEOPLE to keep stepping forward. I think many Military Spouses will admit that they thought about what they would do, how they would react, if something happened to their soldier. But why wait until then to talk about it? I may not have direct experience, but I think the problem is that too many people wait because they feel like they have no room to talk because they haven’t experienced it. People in the situation have a hard time finding that voice. Not everyone is as driven and loud as some of those ladies I’ve had the pleasure of reading in the blogsophere. My friend that I spoke of earlier, felt lost, isolated and usure of where to go. No friends, no family, and no support.
So I guess this post is part awareness, part sharing, part challenge. How can you, whoever you are, your average joe, military spouse, child, sister, brother, cousin, whatever…how can you help? How can we change things?
Well it’s time for the Military Monday blog hop. I always feel compelled to come up with something fabulous, LOL, but seriously, who can get a jump on a Monday when you’re trying to have fun on the weekend. The hubbs is heading out for several weeks this week, so that’s kind of a bummer. And he’s working all the way up to it so Saturday and Sunday were it. Brian will turn six while he is gone and then his parents come for a visit. So it will be quite crazy. In the mean time I will be trying to get the house together for their arrival, which includes trying to finish my first major DIY project. Another “seriously” goes off in my brain!
What you’re staring at is table legs that have been repaired and are wrapped in plastic, a table – not attached to the legs – leaning up against the wall, and already freshly painted and reupholstered chairs waiting for the table and legs to join them and be all freshly painted.
As I was thinking of something fabulous to write I thought to myself, why not just write about this? It may not be super fab, or extremely profound in any way, but it’s life. It’s nothing spectacular or life altering. I read so many very fab and extremely profound blogs, at least to me. Usually I get all up in my head and get all “super girly” (not to be mistaken for Super Girl) and wonder why in the heck am I writing about this stupid stuff when there is so much more profound things going on? Yeah, I just used the word profound like three times in two sentences. But…..then I think, “I look for blogs of people going through what I’m going through.” The normal day to day of the military life.
When we moved here we bought a ton of furniture – bunk bed, three bookshelves, couch, coffee table – I put them all together by myself. Now, I know plenty of mom’s do this, and I’m not trying to toot my own horn or anything; but at least I can get a pat on the back. It’s just life. It’s my life. I chose it and I’m living it. I encourage all moms that live this life to own it man!! Most importantly though, don’t get caught up in comparisons. So many women in general get caught up in comparisons. There’s the parenting comparison,e working mom/SAHM comparison, the single mom comparison. For me personally I’ve experiencedthe branch comparison, the deployment comparison, the Guard/Reserve vs Active Duty comparison and the civilian vs military comparison. ALL are dangerous in my opinion. When we start comparing who has it harder, the 6 month or the 12 month deployment, that when we are missing the point. I mean, I’ve had easy and hard times. Does the mom with three kids have a harder time then the brand new wife that spent three weeks with her husband before he was shipped off? People have said to me, “I don’t know how you do it? Being a military spouse is the hardest thing ever.” Now, while I appreciate the sentiment and when someone spouts of about “what are military spouses complaining about, it’s not hard,” I’m the first to want to snap back at them. What about police officer or firefighter’s spouses. While my husband might face dangerous situations for month-long periods, police man face potentially deadly situations every day! A traffic stop can turn into something more in the blink of an eye.
So don’t get caught up in comparisons because it never leads anywhere good, have compassion for whatever situation your friends might be going through – weather it be two weeks of training which become a nightmare because you have an into everything two year old, a weekend training where the mom has to put together a bunk bed because her five year old just can’t wait another second, a six month deployment, or just a regular work day that he can’t miss even though you are as sick as a dog and there’s a mountain of laundry piled up. This is our life, we have to own it. We live it so why not live it the best way you know how? Doesn’t mean you have to wallow in it, nor should you hide your feelings because you know someone out there is dealing with something worse than you; there’s always something worse.