There is a bumper sticker/saying/catch phrase you see all over the place that says, “Military Wife: Toughest Job in the Military.”
Um. No. And I have a real issue with this.
My husband has the toughest job in our home. Hands down. I don’t care if I had 6 kids and he was deployed for an entire year – his job is still harder. Day in, day out. Yes, I work hard. I work from home full time, do all the cleaning, cooking, bills, laundry, appointments, homeschool, and take care of our daughter. But he works 12+ hour days. He goes in on the weekends unexpectedly. He works 24 hour shifts. He spends weeks in the field preparing for a deployment without a shower. He’s been shot at, asked to go days without sleep, suffered PTSD, had foot rot from wearing boots in Iraq so long, and his job?
His job really is about being able to give your life at a moment’s notice for a cause you may – or may not – be willing to die for. But it doesn’t matter, because that’s his job. It’s what he signed up for. He isn’t asking for sympathy or honor, he’s simply doing something he loves and is proud to do.
The military has the toughest job in the military. I am a spouse, my role in his job is to support him and make it easier on all of us so that he’s able to excel. I chose this, no one made me become a military wife, and I don’t ever regret it. I am so proud of seeing him become promoted as he was last week, knowing the hours upon hours he worked on courses and miles he ran to get his score up high enough. I might have supported him, but he was the one who did it. I might hold down the fort so he can achieve this, but he’s the one who pours his life into it.
Being an Army wife isn’t easy. Being a Marine one was tough too. One day I will stand and watch him leave again. I will be home alone to do everything by myself, to raise our children and become mom and dad for an extended period. But at night, I will climb into my bed. I’ll get to kiss my children during the day. I can cook myself a hot meal and take a shower. I know very well that those things are complete luxuries, if they happen at all, for many soldiers. There may be weeks that go by with no communication in which I worry myself sick, but he’s trying to call or write me while mortars land around him.
I know I only have one side of this all. I understand that other wives go through different things, more stressful and with a lot more to deal with. I’m not minimizing that, we know that when they leave – our life gets 100x harder.
But my job isn’t the hardest because my job isn’t asking me for my life.