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Being a REAL Army Wife

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The reality of being a military mom is nothing like a TV show.

Tammy Munson: A couple of years ago when Lifetime came out with "Army Wives," I thought, "Hey this is pretty cool ... they will show the rest of America what our life is really like!" This was not the case. It was like Desperate Housewives meets JAG.

Military soldier holding his daughter

The show, while highly entertaining, did not portray what being a military wife was like, not to mention getting a lot of military protocols wrong. For example, the General's wife and the Private's wife will not be hanging out together in a bar, and berets are worn correctly. If my husband saluted like the soldiers do in that TV show, his commander would hem him up.

I am a proud Army wife. I love our life. I'll be the first to admit, it is sometimes very hard. We endure a lot of sacrifice for supporting our spouses so they can serve their country. Yes, we do get nice benefits and military discounts, but I guarantee it's not as nice as one might think.

Yes, it is true that we get a military housing allowance and don't have to spend anymore for our health care. I know many non-military people say to me, "Oh, it must be so romantic being married to a soldier." I guess it does have a sort of romanticism to it, but that is not the norm. There are days when my husband has to work 16 hours a day, get up in the middle of the night to attend to one of his soldiers, etc. A soldier in the Army is a soldier 24/7/365!

The worse part of our life is deployments. We don't get the luxury of knowing where our spouse is, how they are doing, and if they are OK or not. I hear all the time from wives whose husbands travel that they know how I feel. On some level, I'm sure that they do know what it is like to be the only parent in the home for a while. Although their husband is safe and sound in a hotel somewhere and will not be shot at, blown up, etc.

Even though we don't wear a uniform, military spouses are expected to serve as well. We serve our fellow military spouses in times of need, participate in the Family Readiness groups, and engage the local military community. We are both mom and dad to our children; we pick up the slack in our homes while our spouse is away, and we make sure that ALL of our soldiers have what they need.

Today, May 8th, is a very special day for military spouses. It is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Back in 1984, President Ronald Reagan created this special holiday just for us military spouses in recognition of the sacrifice that we make. I think military spouses should be thanked every day, because without our "service" the United States Armed Forces wouldn't be able to do what they do.

ML Military Moms

So go out and thank a military spouse today, and don't forget that military spouses are not just wives! There are a lot of military husbands out there too, and they deserve thanks just as much!

To acknowledge all that military spouses do each and every day, the momlogic community is running a special contest just for us military moms! Go to the Military Mom group and enter to WIN a $500 makeover by SalonWish.com, a FREE day of babysitting, and a lifetime membership to Sittercity.com!


next: Mother's Day Tiramisu -- YUM!
21 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anh-Chi  May 8, 2009, 5:56 PM

THANK YOU so much for expressing exactly how I feel, along with other military wives!!!

Absidi May 8, 2009, 6:03 PM

I LOVE this!! It is so true! My husband is a Marine, so I know exactly what it is like! And that show does us military spouses no justice. I watched one episode and have never watched it again.

Thank you for posting this, and Thank you for being a military spouse!

AWfan May 8, 2009, 7:32 PM

I love the show. I am not a military wife. First of all, who would watch if the show portrayed your life exactly as it is? (Few people would watch a weekly t.v. show, if my life as a public school teacher were portrayed accurately.) Second of all, should every protocol be portrayed exactly as it happens? I think not (for security reasons). You want a reality show, then go to A&E or BRAVO and pitch your ideas. The show did get people thinking about how you live (I wasn’t thinking about it before this). It continues to draw attention to issues affecting the military (and military families) and allows us (people who have no idea about your life) to learn more on our own. My dad is a veteran (served before I was born), so I have always been grateful to the women and men who serve, but I never thought to thank the families, too. However, hearing this point over and over just makes me want to say… you did choose to marry into the military. I don’t expect any special thanks for teaching in a high-need area (urban education), I do it because I love the children and the subject I teach. You do what you do, because you love your family. That having been said… Thank you for your sacrifice(s).

Shelly May 8, 2009, 7:51 PM

LOL! You read my mind, especially about the show. I get comments about the housing allowence all the time and how people think we got it going pretty good, however it barely pays our rent and everything else comes out of our base pay (lol, we are junior enlisted so it is not much). I have also noticed that I am treated like a second class citizen on base because I am a spouse. I like this article because I am now informed about “Military spouse day” and will celebrate it next year. Thank you!

PrettyGirl32 May 8, 2009, 8:27 PM

Um,I understand what your saying..to a point..Sure being an “army wife” can be difficult on a husband/wife/child(ren) relationship. However, with the declining economy, more and more people getting laid off every month, and millions of people unable to afford healthcare (or COBRA for that matter);I think you should be greatful your husband has a secure job, military housing, and pretty decent benefits! Something that unfortunately an EXTREMELY large amount of people don’t have one or more of these things! So don’t give me the “boo-hoo I’m a military wife and its SOOOO difficult!” Save that for your “fellow” military friends! Right about now in this day and age, they are the only ones who can truly relate to you!

Jamie May 8, 2009, 10:17 PM

I am an army wife and I agree 100%!

Ragan May 11, 2009, 7:58 PM

Being a Military Spouse can be so hard. Matter of fact, it is real hard. Some people really don’t know or understand what we go through.

the mrs. May 29, 2009, 9:58 PM

Prettygirl32 clearly doesn’t have the slightest idea. Yes the economy is terrible but it effects us too. My husband and I had to make the hard decision to remain far away from our families to reenlist to secure our future. And yes we chose to marry a soldier. I’m sorry I can’t choose who I love. Military housing has very long wait lists and even with allowances you can barely make ends meet off post. ALL of us in and out of the military are suffering. Don’t ask for pity if you can’t return the respect.

kitty June 14, 2009, 6:45 PM

want to know what your REAL army soldier is doing?
cheating.

enjoy.

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