Thursday, June 10, 2010

Entitled - or Quit yer Bitchin'

I posted this on Left Face - as a response to what I'm reading from civilians and members of the military alike

Oh, quit whining. What do you military families want anyway? You knew what you were getting into when you married him. Suck it up. MY wife can do this with no help, so why can’t you. You shouldn’t have married the guy if you didn’t think you could take it. Why are you expecting so much. You are being so exclusionary. Don’t be so aggressive about asking for/demanding something. There are those who “have greatest disdain” for the “special attention” being paid to anyone in the current military, especially the National Guard…

Just a few responses to posts on military family issues I’ve seen lately. Some were in response to the post concerning the family waiting for the flight home for their son’s funeral – the comments were on Tom Ricks’ blog which linked to LeftFace. Some were from Military Officer magazine we get from MOAA – a letter to the editor regarding counseling and understanding for children whose parent is deployed. What do many of these statements have in common? They are from members of the military – either retired or active duty. Not, interestingly, from their spouses!

During the MyCAA debacle, I read this from some civilians, “why were we expecting a free ride?” The country is in a depression, we should be grateful that our spouses have jobs. After all, we get free healthcare, we get free housing (now THAT one made me laugh out loud) and why is our spouse’s pay tax free when they are deployed (well, maybe being in a war zone, getting mortared, living in filthy conditions is worth a couple bucks to the country that sent them there?). The “Free Ride” was a program set up by DoD, a promise to help military spouses with training in “portable careers”. (that’s another posting, and we’ve discussed this here)

We knew what we were getting into? When I married my husband quite a few years ago, I didn’t expect back to back TDYs followed by a 22 month deployment, one year home and then another deployment! And how does anyone really know, until they have gone through a deployment – until they have gone through that level or worrying, that feeling of being on edge 24/7, that fear of a knock on the door…

What did I want to say to the servicemembers who said those things? Exclusionary? Oh please, sir, the last BBQ I went to, the Rangers stood over there bumping tabs, the ring knockers were all cloistered together over in another corner, the senior spouses clustered in the other. Ever heard the Fobbit trash talk, the “Seals are the ONLY warriors” etc.?? The military puts us into little slots – Officer, Enlisted, and there are still restrictions on fraternization, is that exclusionary too?

Yes, we DO think we are different, we are different! We are members of the One Percent who have any connection with the wars currently being fought. We try to stay close with our civilian friends and acquaintances, but they aren’t comfortable with us anymore. They don’t understand how we feel, and they don’t want to hang out with us because we scare them, they don’t want these wars shoved in their face by looking at us, making them uncomfortable. We get sick of having our concerns disregarded by our civilian sisters, having deployments of 6, 8, 12 months compared to weekend camping trips (when Bambi gets mortars, talk to me…) We are tired of hearing “if you need anything, call me” and when we do swallow our pride and ask for help, we hear nothing but excuses, or silence. How do you answer the questions they ask – “how do you DO it?” “has he killed anyone” “is he coming home for [pick a holiday]” “but he just got back, why does he have to go again”. It’s safer, it’s easier to talk to our friends who are also military, for whom we don’t have to translate the acronyms, who understand that we do not have much control over where/how we live or much of anything else.

The country waves flags at us, commanding officers tell us they are there for us, they tell us that we are the reason our spouses can serve, our spouses are told “we are there for your family, go deploy, we’ll take care of them.” But when we ask for the help we are told is there for us… we are told ; it’ll be a couple months until you can talk to someone about your depression; child care – no sorry, all full up; job training – sorry, had to yank that without notice, sorry for putting you in debt again. The FRG? - oh no, you can’t have a phone tree (opsec) you can’t have a vFRG (opsec), we meet during the day… you work, oh well, can’t have names, all the activities are during the week – for some of us, the FRG is a disaster, although I have heard of some that have been fantastic.

When MyCAA was being touted to enlisting service personnel or to those considering whether to re enlist, or not to resign their commission – see, here’s something for your spouse too – and then arbitrarily yanked away, we quite rightly objected. If you are going to promise something, keep your promise! That’s not being spoiled, that’s not demanding, or saying we are entitled… that’s expecting that a promise made will be honoured. Telling us not to give in to depression, to ask for help when we need it, and then telling us that after the few free appointments on the phone we can finagle from MilitaryOneSource or Give an Hour (a great group) that there aren’t any counselors available, or if you are OCONUS, the counselor has so many PTS patients, he can’t see any family members, that’s another promise broken. Don’t tell us to go get help, when TriCare won’t cover it and the few counseling groups that will take TriCare are not accepting patients.

Those bitching about the little things, the PX not carrying something, the ones who wear their husband’s rank embroidered on their bra straps – those have given us all a bad name. The spouses who hold the families together and keep it all going, should be allowed to expect the promises made to be kept. If they choose to feel safe, and happy, and secure with their military spouse friends – they shouldn’t be told they are “exclusionary”. It’s called a comfort zone. Let us have that, which you are downrange, ok?



Hilary Jacobs said...

Right on. You rock! You spoke for so many of us. Keep speaking please.

Samantha the ArmyWife said...

just goes to show how little people really do appreciate our military and the people behind them, us.
expecting fellow citizens to give their seat up for a grieving family isn't about expecting free shit, it's about expecting some common decency from people!
I gotta say these shitheads are right about one thing. Our soldiers have chosen to be where they are, and we have chosen to be where we are. Umm... but doesn't everyone? No one else bitches? No one else ever gets overwhelmed or has a rough day?

yeayea... they can keep telling themselves we're waiting for hand outs, while we sit around bitchin, wining and complaining...but you and I know the truth.
I'm confident in my truth so all the other crap people spout is more or less irrelevant to my life.

great post.

PS: People suck. =)

Amber said...

Hubby and I had a talk about this very thing today. I logged into blogger to write about it and found your post waiting there.

Amen and Alleluiah! Well said, LAW.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a new follower. I found your blog through Leftface.

I'm glad I found your blog...I've been looking for other Mil Spouse blogs that are going to call things as they see them. Great post!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this post. Thank you. You said it all beautifully.