Sunday, September 28, 2008

Things NOT to say to a military wife during a deployment

1. "Aren't you afraid that he'll be killed?"This one ranks in at number one on the "duh" list. Of course we're afraid. We're terrified. The thought always lingers at the backs of our minds —but thanks, Brilliant, you just brought it back to the front. Maybe next you can go ask someone with cancer if they're scared of dying.

2. "I don't know how you manage. I don't think I could do it."This is intended to be a compliment, though it's a little annoying. Here's why: it's not like all of us military wives have been dreaming since childhood of the day we'd get to be anxious single moms who carry cell phones with us to the bathroom and in the shower waiting to hear his voice.. We're not made of some mysterious matter that makes us more capable, we just got asked to take on a challenging job. So we rose to the challenge and found the strength to do it.

3. "At least he's not in Iraq." He's still gone, right? People outside of the military circle fail to realize that whether there is a war or not, they still get deployed. They still leave for months or even years at a time. The left wing media just doesn't think it's important to report because it doesn't fit their agenda. Oh, and there is still a war in Afghanistan too.

4. "Do you think he'll get to come home for Christmas/anniversa ry/birthday/ birth of a child/wedding/ family reunion, etc?"Don't you watch the news? No! They don't get to come home for any of these things. Please don't ask again.

5. "What are you going to do to keep yourself busy while he's gone?"Short answer: Try to keep my sanity. Maybe there's a military wife out there who gets bored when her husband leaves, but I have yet to meet her. For the rest of us, those with and without children, we find ourselves having to be two people. That keeps us plenty busy. We do get lonely, but we don't get bored, and drinking massive amounts of wine always helps.

6. "How much longer does he have until he can get out?"This one is annoying whether our husbands are deployed or not. Many of our husbands DON'T WANT TO GET OUT and they aren't counting down the days until they "can." They keep signing up again and again because they actually love what they do or they volunteer to be deployed again and again because they believe in the mission, whatever that may be at the time.

7. "This deployment shouldn't be so bad now that you're used to it."Sure, we learn coping skills and its true the more deployments you've gone through, the easier dealing with it becomes. And we figure out ways to make life go smoother while the guys are gone. But it never gets "easy" and the bullets and bombs don't skip over our guys just because they've been there before. The worry never goes away.

8. "My husband had to go to Europe for business once for three weeks. I totally know what you're going through."Do not equate your husband's three week trip to London/Omaha/ Tokyo/etc. with a 12-15 month or more deployment to a war zone. Aside from the obvious time difference, nobody shot at your husband or tried to blow him up with an I.E.D., your husband could call home pretty much any time he wanted to, he flew comfortably on a commercial plane, slept between crisp white sheets and ate well, paying for everything with an expense account. There is no comparison. We do not feel bonded to you in the slightest because of this comment and, if anything, we probably resent you a bit for it. Comparing a 12 month combat deployment to a few weeks business trip is like comparing Geo Metro festiva with a Mercedes Convertible.

9. "Wow you must miss him?"This one also gets antoher big "duh". Of course we miss our men. There are some wives who do not and they're now divorced.

10. "Where is he exactly? Where is that?"I don't expect non-military folks to be able to find Anbar Province on a map, but they should know by now that it's in Iraq. Likewise, know that Kabul and Kandahar are in Afghanistan. Our country has been at war in Afghanistan for seven years and at war in Iraq for five years. These basic facts are not secrets, they're on the news every night and in the papers every day —and on maps everywhere. And it's especially hard to keep our mouths shut when the same person asks us that question multiple times.

11. "Well, he signed up for it, so it's his own fault for having to leave."Yes, Ignorant, he did sign up. Each and every day he protects your right to make stupid comments like that. The only ones who blame anyone for us being there are the ones not in the military and NOT THERE. Oh, by the way, he asked me to tell you that "You're welcome."

12. "Don't you miss sex! I couldn't do it!"Hmmm, no i don't miss sex. i'm a robot. Seriously…military spouses learn quickly that our relationships must be founded on something greater than sex. We learn to appreciate the important things, like simply hearing their voices, seeing their faces, being able to have dinner together every night. And the hard truth is, most relationships probably couldn't withstand 12 months of sex deprivation.

13. "Well in my opinion….."Stop right there. Yo, I didn't ask for you your personal political opinions. Hey, I love a political debate, but not in the grocery store, not in Jamba Juice, not at Nordstrom, not in a restaurant when I'm out with my girls trying to forget that he's not with me, and CERTAINLY NOT AT WORK. We tell co-workers about deployments so when we have to spend lunch hours running our asses off doing errands and taking care of the house, dog, kids, and two vehicles they have an understanding. We do not tell co-workers and colleagues because we are giving an invitation to ramble about politics or because we so eagerly want to hear how much they hate the President, esp. while we're trying to heat up our lean cuisines in the crappy office microwaves.last but not least….

14. "Oh, that's horrible…I'm so sorry!"Don't be sorry. He's doing his job and he's tough. So am I. I'm proud of my man and proud of being a military wife. Be appreciative and please take a moment out of your comfortable American lives to realize that our soldiers fight the wars abroad so those wars stay abroad.If you want to say anything, say thank you. After all, we are sexually deprived for your freedom.

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