The rank game gets old doesn’t it? And you’re probably thinking, oh here goes another entitled spouse whining about ways in which the Army takes advantage of her. Quite the contrary actually, I like the traditions of the military. And I like smashing those stereotypes and expanding those roles. They say the grass is always greener on the other side. I’ll take your word for it, I like my grass just fine. Here’s why:
- Instead of living up to your expectations and falling short, I get to surpass your minimal expectations. This may sound crass, but it’s still true. As an enlisted wife I’m generally thought of as uneducated and unprofessional. The one typically shopping in the commissary on payday, living paycheck to paycheck, and carting around multiple kids. So when I move to a new place, I can arrive under a cloak of expectations that are so minimal I have nowhere to go but up. This is truly a blessing, because I really cannot disappoint, I can only improve upon them.
- I don’t HAVE to do anything. Yes, I know it’s a new Army and there are no more demands made on wives, but there are still those things that are just done by them. Officer’s wives are typically family readiness group leaders, key callers, constant volunteers, and of course, hostess at all sorts of events. All those events the commanders are invited to, usually include an expectation of the spouse to attend. We enlisted wives rarely get to that point.
- I’m not judged by my husband’s command decisions. This may be the best part. No one ever blames me for a trip to the field, a change in the training schedule, or a late night at the office. Never mind that my husband could just as easily be the one who requested a range day for training, the commander takes the brunt of it, as does his wife. At the coffee group or FRG meeting, the Commander’s wife gets the cold shoulder when a decision makes the rest of the group unhappy.
- My house will never be “on display” for the world to see. Whether a fundraiser, a holiday open house, or a coffee group, my house is never the default location for anything. My quarters are not assigned by position, they aren’t spectacular, and they don’t come with china. Therefore I do not have to open them up to anything or anyone. This may seem like something I’m missing out on, but it is so delightful to be able to choose which functions I host and attend and not have them thrust upon me.
I love being an enlisted wife, I’m proud of the work my husband does, my leadership role is not demanded or even expected. It’s done because I want to, because I know how hard it is to make a difference when you are underestimated, and because someone needs to do it. Who better than you and I?
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