I’m not really sure where the term dependent originated from, and quite frankly, it doesn’t really matter for the purpose of this well-intended blog post. It’s the term the military uses to identify sponsored family members of a military service member for purposes of pay as well as special benefits, privileges and rights.
After starting this military wife blog, I’m not exactly an expert, but one thing I know for certain is military spouses are anything but dependent.
In fact, I couldn’t think of a more independent type of woman. We are all out here silently serving. And while I don’t think any of us are looking for a medal or a badge to congratulate us on our efforts, I do think we are well overdue for less judgment, stereotyping, and negativity about our dependence.
1. We hold it together better than June Cleaver on her best day.
We maintain emotional stability in the midst of the emotional roller coaster that is military life. If you have your heart set on something, there is a good chance it won’t happen. Perhaps after months or even a year deployment, your husband is scheduled to come home, and suddenly you are informed this will, in fact, not be happening. Lovely.
But you know, military spouses handle situations like champs, problem-solving as if it’s simply everyday life. Easy breezy it isn’t, but military spouses learn to tolerate incredibly difficult situations with the utmost poise and grace. On top of keeping themselves in check, they somehow help their children cope through these difficult ups and downs.
2. We go through seasons upon seasons as a single parent.
Ah, the many hats of a military wife and mom. We experience what it’s like to play mom, dad, aunt, grandma, and beyond to our kids all at one time. It’s never easy explaining to your kids why family members are so far away, but somehow we always devise a delicate explanation and sweet comfort. Trying to be a good mom while wearing the hats of other family members is a true art form.
3. We run circles around Martha Stewart.
Military spouses are well known for putting together a special event for a military spouse, new to the community, on short notice. It may come in the form of a baby shower, or to the shock of many civilians, a wedding. Military spouses are also known for creating extraordinary homecomings for their deployed spouses. Intricate banners, special outfits, favorite meals, fun vacations are just a few things military spouses put together incredibly well. Honestly, I just don’t think Martha could do it.
4. We start over every few years.
There is no room for dependence when you are turning your life upside down every few years. Pack up your entire house, turn off all utilities, change your mailing address, explain to your kids why you are leaving your home, travel ungodly distances to get to your new home, live in an empty home while you wait for your banged up stuff to arrive, then make it your home again and somehow convince your kids and yourself that this is your awesome new home.
5. We give MacGyver a run for his money.
Everything seems to break down or fall apart the moment your husband is gone on deployment or a work trip. I’m not sure if this is some sort of strange coincidence, but I do feel like I’m forced to fix things I didn’t even know existed until they broke. Military spouses are incredibly resourceful when it comes fixing the most obscure household problems. I’m pretty sure MacGyver couldn’t even figure out some of the stuff we military spouses do.
Coping with emotionally challenging situations, managing the entire household while your husband is away, planning events on short notice just to make another military spouse feel special, and seriously fixing the most bizarre stuff: I could not think of a group of situations requiring more independence.
Military spouses are resourceful, creative, intelligent, and most importantly independent. I’m not sure where the term dependent came from, but since I happily joined into this military life, I have yet to feel anything like a dependent.
Want more on Military Life?
- The Deployment Diet No One Talks About
- What Military Marriage Really Looks Like
- I’m Terrible at Being a Military Spouse
- 43 Awesome Tips for the New Military Wife
What do you think of military spouses being called dependent? I’d love to hear your ideas!