Don’t you do it, don’t even think about it. If there is one thing I hear quite a bit and cannot stand is pity. Even if it is not outright, “I’m sorry, how do you do it?” I hear it in the tone of their voice or the “We’ll be thinking of you.” When people find out that I’m an Army wife and my husband is currently on his seventh deployment, they usually look at me with shock and pity. When I talk about my life I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. It is my life, I chose it and I have embraced it.
My husband and I got married before 9/11 and before anyone ever thought we’d be in a war that was never ending. He was in the Army and part of a group that was gone quite a bit. He took me aside and told me, “I’m going to be gone, a lot of the time, can you live with that?” I said yes, knowing we would be apart. when 9/11 happened we knew things would change. They did, he continued with the units that make a difference, the ones that are gone so much. He loves his job, he’s good at it and after eleven years, it is his career.
I have learned so much from my life, I would never trade it for all the pity in the world. I have learned to become independent. I have learned to manage a home, be a mother to two wonderful boys, and work from home. It does get monotonous, without another adult around at night, I usually end up reading or watching too many episodes of Law & Order on Netflix. Life is a little less stressful, sometimes. I don’t always have to cook a full meal, because the kids are usually happy with green beans and macaroni and cheese. We find our own schedule and we go with it.
When he’s home, we have all the same issues normal couples have. He has to work late, he has to go away for a week on business. I get tired of picking up his dirty clothes or how long he plays his video games. Here’s a big one, our sex life isn’t wonderful. Lots of people think, wow, he is gone so much, you probably try to get as much in when he’s there. Sometimes, yeah, but when I have a headache, I have a headache. I nag him to take out the trash and he always wants to know when I’m going to do laundry.
Please don’t pity me or any other military family. We are exactly like you, we just deal with our husbands or wives being a work a little longer than you. I admit he looks great in his uniform and my heart swells with pride when he tells me about his latest award. Honestly, it does suck when he isn’t around to see the boys in their belt test in karate or watch them ride their bike for the first time. My bed feels empty, many nights, but I usually end up with a couple kids, a dog and a cat to keep me warm. I have wonderful friends who try to include me and do everything from invite me over for breakfast or pick my kids up at school. I’m starting to find and keep babysitters on tap so I can have a few hours without kids. I’m working on planning a vacation when he gets back, but with no specific dates, it is hard, but oh so fun imagining how great it will be when he is back. Life is good, even when he is gone.
Instead of pity, here are a few things you can do:
- Say a prayer or send a positive thought out for all our deployed military members
- If you know a military wife or husband who has a spouse deployed, offer to make a meal or even babysit for them (if you are that brave!)
- Send letters or cards to deployed military, to remind them home is waiting
- Lend a hand, we Army wives are super independent, we don’t always ask for help. Try to be aware and just step in and let them know what you are going to do for them and when you’ll be there.
So, you can love on me, invite me into your home, help me plan my vacation, buy me some batteries for my….electric toothbrush, watch my kids, but don’t pity me, because I sure don’t pity myself!