Saturday, May 13, 2017

Yesterday was military spouse appreciation day...

As God is my witness, I somehow never knew that military spouses had a special day set aside for recognition.  Even though I was an "Army wife" for twelve years, Military Spouse Appreciation Day was not something I ever celebrated.  In fact, three years after my husband's retirement, I'm just hearing about it for the first time.  And I heard about it for the first time, not from military spouses looking for a pat on the back, but from people who bash the special day and regularly make fun of so-called "dependas".

I have written about my dislike of the term "dependa" many times on this blog.  I feel no need to rehash too much about that.  Suffice to say that while I think there are a few spouses who take the military life a bit too personally and seriously, for the most part, I think a lot of military spouses handle their lot in life with grace and class.  It truly isn't easy to be the spouse of someone who is in the military, especially if you've ever had your own education or career ambitions.

What a shame that some people see all military spouses in this way.  How does the artist know she didn't just do some fundraising or volunteer with the FRG?  And really, are all "dependas" fat?

Military spouses often can't win.  Either they are "dependas" milking the system and spending their spouse's paycheck (and it's usually the wife supposedly doing this), or they are uppity bitches who don't know their place and are looked down upon for seeking something for themselves.  I was lucky enough to have a fairly easy time being married to an Army man.  I will be the first to admit it.  I only endured one six month deployment and Bill mostly had good bosses who let him take time off when he wanted it.  Bill also made enough money that I didn't have to worry about working, even though I initially wanted to work.  Not every spouse is as lucky as I have been.

Military culture is one in which the government tells you where you will live.  In some cases, the government even forces you to live in their quarters, where you might have to tolerate people you'd rather not.  Just a couple of days ago, I wrote about a woman whose husky shed in the dog park on one of our local installations.  Another spouse actually called her husband's command over the dog hair and the husband, who was simply the "sponsor", got in trouble.  That shit would not happen in the civilian world.  It would get laughed out the door.  Most spouses are considered civilians (unless they are serving, too)... but they often end up living according to military rules.  That's not necessarily easy, because it basically means having to put up with stupid shit, yet not earning a paycheck or, really, even having a choice-- unless the spouse gets a divorce or the servicemember quits the military.

While I'm not necessarily a fan of self-congratulatory behavior, I do think it's nice that the military now recognizes spouses and whatever contributions they make, even if it's just being a good partner and parent, if that applies.  What sucks is that so many people in the military belittle the contributions and sacrifices made by military spouses.  Some servicemembers do it to incredibly offensive and disrespectful levels, too.  I have written about that in this blog, as well.

Since Bill is retired, I guess I no longer have a dog in this fight.  I am now a contractor's wife, happily married to a retiree.  But I'm now hanging around more military folks now than I ever did, even when I lived on Fort Belvoir.  For the most part, I really enjoy folks who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses.  It's one area where you are sure to meet people from every walk of life and from all different corners of the world.  I think people from different cultures are fascinating.  I have also been around the military my whole life and am mostly used to the crusty ways they handle things sometimes.

I just think it's too bad that so many people in the military community think they have to degrade spouses for having a special day of recognition.  Quite a few spouses really do add a lot to the military cause and they mostly do it without a paycheck.  Besides that, regularly making fun of military spouses is just a low class and moronic thing to do.

I also notice that a lot of the people who have no trouble bashing military spouses get their noses out of joint when people bash military servicemembers.  In fact, I know a guy right now who likes to pick on "dependas", but will get pissy when my Italian friend jokes about US military servicemembers being knuckle draggers and thugs.  Basically, both of these guys are promoting unfair stereotypes.  Anyway... I know I'm wasting my time complaining about this issue.  It's not going to go away.  But count me among those who don't think dependa bashing is funny.  People need to grow up and get a life.


  1. The lady I'm dating now was married to a Coast Guard Master Chief Petty Officer who retired in '12. He didn't call her a "dependa" (at least as far as I know), but he was adamantly opposed to her plans of going to law school. His attitude was "So you think you're so much smarter/better than me, huh?" Ugh.

  2. I've read through a couple of your posts now and I am officially a fan of your blog. I'm a military spouse, been one for the past 12 years, and I've never expected any recognition for the sacrifices my children and I have to make. Two deployments to the Middle East and a year long stay in South Korea for my husband (active duty AF) away from his wife and kids was something, though tough, that I knew was all part of the package and we just rolled with the punches.

    It's pretty cool knowing now that there is such a day set aside for Military Spouse Recognition. Though I've never expected a pat on the back, it is good to know that our roles in military life aren't going unnoticed.

    Alright moving on...

    Thanks for sharing. :-)

    1. Hey screwysongbird!

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I know Military Spouse Recognition Day isn't necessarily popular, but I'm glad it exists. It's not easy being a military spouse, no matter what the people in uniform say. ;-)


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