I was at the park the other day with my son, taking him out for some exercise in an effort to burn off some of his endless energy. The child just needs an open space to run and jump and eat sticks and whatever else he feels compelled to do. You know how people always joke about how much energy their kids have? Yeah, now that I have an unruly toddler on my hands, I realize those people aren’t joking.
On days like those I’m so grateful we live in a warm climate where it’s so easy to go outside without much thought. Who knows how stir crazy we would feel stuck indoors too many days of the week.
So there we are on our regular park day, and I run into this woman. A stranger. She seemed friendly and we struck up a conversation about everyday life.
We talked about the weather.
We talked about where we were from originally.
Boring stuff to most people.
And then she asked what I did all day…
She asked about my hobbies, my work, and what I did to “make it through” military life. Answering at the time, I didn’t really think about it that much. I didn’t realize what I was doing and what I’d been doing all this time as a military spouse.
For whatever reason, I spend so much time trying to prove myself to others because I am just a military wife. I’m on the defensive. There is rarely a sentence that doesn’t contain that one word—because.
I am this way….because
I do this…because
Because in an effort to further explain my military spouse identity, I am always trying to defend every aspect of my life. Then I thought, maybe it’s time military spouses stopped apologizing for all those “because” moments in life. Maybe we should just accept that we are good enough just the way we are. Maybe we should stop defending ourselves and apologizing for whatever it is we think we need to be.
Here’s 57 things military spouses should stop apologizing for:
- Staying at home.
- Working and maintaining a career.
- Being successful in any aspect of life.
- Being unsuccessful in any aspect of life.
- Not having kids.
- Having kids.
- Having more kids than people think you should.
- Feeling lonely.
- Being glued to your iPhone just in case he calls.
- Dropping everything when he actually does call.
- Avoiding others during deployment because it’s easier that way.
- Wishing the deployment would just happen already.
- Hating that bus!
- Participating in the military community groups.
- Not participating in the military community groups.
- Feeling angry at the military.
- Feeling emotional about military life.
- Loving military life.
- Loving that you live far from family.
- Wishing that you lived closer to family.
- Wanting to stay at your current duty station just a few more years.
- Hating your current duty station.
- Having a lazy day every now and again.
- Wishing there was more to do in your area that “fit you.”
- Feeling like military life is harder than others make it out to be.
- Feeling like military life is easier than others make it out to be.
- Homecoming not looking like a fairytale.
- Homecoming actually going really well and feeling easy.
- Going above and beyond for your kids because military life is hard for them.
- Your resilient military kids handling military life pretty well.
- Wanting a military discount.
- Not wanting the military discount.
- Not knowing all those military acronyms and abbreviations.
- Not being gung hoe on military life.
- Despising mandatory fun days.
- Loving all the mandatory fun days.
- Knowing that military spouses make unique sacrifices.
- Appreciating how many great military spouse friends you have.
- Hating the lack of quality military spouse friends.
- Being a male military spouse.
- Being a female military spouse.
- Supporting the LGBT community.
- Swearing off all those nasty military spouse stereotypes.
- Not wanting to wash another set of cammies again.
- Not wanting another gear explosion to take over your house. Someone stop the madness.
- Desiring the education you always wanted.
- Already having an education.
- Choosing not to get an education at all.
- Feeling scared about what retirement will bring.
- Dreaming of the day retirement happens.
- Sharing your struggles.
- Hiding your struggles because you just can’t go there right now.
- Knowing one day you are going to miss all this military life stuff.
- Embracing military life.
- Feeling content with who you are as a military spouse.
- Feeling proud to be a military spouse.
- Just being real and honest about military life.
What I realized on that day at the park is that we can still be one military spouse community and not be the same as individuals. I don’t need to defend or explain my military spouse identity to a woman at the park to feel content with my life choices. You and I and every other military spouse and non-military spouse can all be different. We can all be okay with our differences.
No need to apologize.
No need to defend.
Want more on military life?
- 3 Signs You’re Friends With an Awesome Military Spouse
- The Real Reason Being a Military Wife is So Hard
- 31 Best Military Wife Quotes for Encouragement
- The One Phrase That Will Reconnect Your Military Marriage
What do you think military spouses should stop apologizing for? Let’s chat in the comments!