When I first met my husband he was training for the Best Ranger Competition.  My knowledge of the Army was based on movies and television.  I did not know anything about what a Ranger was or the competition.  I actually started thinking Park Rangers might be connected to the military and pictured a bunch of them running around checking picnic baskets and looking for bears.  Eventually, searching the internet (way before googles time) I figured out what he was doing, but 14 years later I still laugh about how much I did not know.

Every post and deployment I learn something new.  I try to do the right things and at the same time not get mixed up in the politics of Army life.  I remember when I would look at the “seasoned” wives and think they were so old and now here I am salted and peppered.  I still could write a book on what I don’t know and I try not to be that woman who is the “been there and done that” type.  Those people always drove me insane, so when I catch my “seasoning” being spilled over those who are not keen on it I try to stop myself.

This past year a new friend and neighbor was going thru her first deployment since she married her husband.  They had only been married for a few years and most of that time was spent in schools and recruiting  jobs.  The thing is that his rank has them living around his peers on post, but most of the peers have been married for 10, 15 or 20 years.  This was a blessing and a curse for my new friend.  She could lean on us for support and ask questions, but at the same time we were not very sympathetic to her when she was discussing hardships of the deployment.

I found myself having to go over one night to apologize to her for how I had reacted when she was discussing issues with FRG things and deployments.  I think I most likely rolled my eyes and said that is the way it is, suck it up.  You know how your Grandparents walked up a hill in 5 feet of snow to get to school?  Well, I think sometimes the seasoned ladies come off that way.

I handled an FRG during the invasion into Iraq and I gave birth alone in the FRG room while contacting key callers and telling them the deployment would now be extended, all while breast feeding twins, running a marathon, losing all the baby weight, visiting wounded soldiers at Landstuhl, putting a new transmission in my husbands truck and new roofing on our house…….

You know what I mean?  We have all met those ladies and I swore I would never be one, so when I catch myself I try to correct it and make light of the situation.   I guess from my new friends experience I learned once again to not judge a book by the cover.

Most would assume because of her husbands rank and their age that she has been through this before, but the truth is that it was a new experience for her and a big lesson for me to not assume all my neighbors have been salted and peppered.

Have you ever found yourself being a little less then unsympathetic to a new military spouse without even realizing it?






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Krystel is the mom of two and an Army Wife. In addition to Army Wife 101 she is the Co-Founder of SoFluential.com a digital media agency that connects brands with the military market. She has appeared on MSNBC ,FOX LA and formerly was a weekly contributor to HLN's "Raising America". She has written for various outlets including Sheknows and Lifetime and is a big fan of cupcakes and french fries.

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