I have run into this so much lately in both real life and online. Why do military wives (actually this is anyone connected to a soldier but I’m going to just say wives to keep it simple!) feel the need to one up each other for who has the worst situation? Let me give you a few examples of what I’m referring to.
Comments I’ve overheard around other military wives or witnessed on message boards:
1. “You sure are lucky your husband only deploys for 3-4 months at a time. My life is much harder than yours because my soldier deploys for xx months.” Please keep in mind that soldiers with shorter deployment schedules also usually have more frequent deployment schedules.
2. “My husband is in the field for two weeks. We’ve never been apart before and I don’t know how to cope. Any tips?” This could just as easily read basic training, any school, etc. The reactions from others: “Be happy he’s not in a war zone.” or “Get over it, you signed on for this life.” or “My husband’s been deployed for XX months. You have it so easy, quit complaining.”
3. “I miss my husband so much! I can’t wait until this deployment is over. These last few months are dragging by.” The reactions? “You should just be happy it is almost over. I’m just beginning this deployment. Want to trade places with me?” or “My friend’s husband just left for nine months, you only have a few months to go? What a piece of cake.”
Do you notice anything here? Now of course not all of the comments received are so spiteful but it amazes me that these women are replied to with any of these types of comments. As military wives, we are suppose to be SUPPORTIVE of each other. We should do what we can to help a fellow military spouse through whatever it is she is enduring especially if we can offer been there, done that advice. Why do we feel the need to play the “who’s got it worse” game?
Separations from our loved ones are separations period. It doesn’t matter if it’s for two weeks or two years, if its for basic training, deployment or an overseas duty assignment, it is still a separation. No matter which of these situations it is, we all know what it is like to have to sleep in an empty bed, to wake up in the middle of the night thinking it was all a bad dream until you roll over and once again, he’s not there, to jump every time the phone rings hoping its him and to panic every time the doorbell rings hoping you won’t find someone in a dress uniform on the other side.
Even more recently, I was approached with the sentiment that Army parents have it much harder during deployments than Army wives because I can just replace my husband if he is killed. Wow! Let’s just say I’m sure you could see the steam coming from my ears with that one. I’m not here to debate who has it harder. But no life is replaceable and had they really thought about it, they would see how ridiculous that statement is since every husband is someone’s son!
We all share common ground and we can make our military communities stronger by being supportive of one another. Reach out to the wife who’s having a hard time dealing with her husband at basic training. It wasn’t that long ago when you were there, remember? Take the time to offer some tips to the wife who is about to endure her first deployment. Just imagine the impact you may have on someone for them to know that a complete stranger cares about their well being and wants to be sure they are okay.
Stepping down from my soapbox….