I am one of those crazy people who actually likes military life. Yes, deployments suck. The pay sucks. Leaving your friends sucks. Being nowhere near your family sucks. However, there are a ton of benefits. I get to travel. I get to expose my children to different cultures. I meet friends at each new base. My husband loves his job. I am proud of my husband's job.
There are a few things that my civilian friends just don't understand about military life despite their repeated viewings of Army Wives.
#1. My life doesn't stop just because my husband is deployed. I have heard of several occasions "I just don't know how you do it." I do it because I have to. My kids still need a mom. I can't just crawl up and hibernate when he has to go away for a while. There are still mouths to feed, dance classes to get to, school to attend and cheeks to be kissed. Besides, I get the whole bed to myself for a couple months. Kick ass.
#2. Free housing isn't that great. Yeah sure I don't have rent or a mortgage. I also get stuck in whatever house is open on base unless I (we) decide to live off the economy. At this base I have lived in 4 different houses. The first place we lived in was a 4 plex off base. 2 bedrooms. We didn't make enough at his rank to cover rent and the bills, so it was more economical to live on base. Our first base house was a 2 bedroom renovated house. It was o.k, other than the mouse that we found living behind the stove. 3rd house, falling down, basement flooding, 30 years old, piece of crap on base. We moved there because I was having baby #2 and we wanted a 3 bedroom. Our final house on this base is brand new (thank God!) and is relatively nice. The only problem is since it is brand new, I randomly have "inspections" to make sure that we haven't done damage to the house. Oh and every little crayon mark on the wall, I have to make sure those are gone by the time we leave. The little tiny microscopic gouge in the drywall that we didn't make, it has to be fixed by the time we leave. Oh and "Ma'am, we understand your husband is deployed, but your house is a little cluttered. Not as bad as some of the other houses we have seen, but could you please get rid of some of the clutter?" Mind you at the time, my house was clean. I just have a lot of kids toys and not enough closets. Oh and Mr. Housing Man, could you send someone to snake the drain in my upstairs bathroom? That was 6 months ago, still no repair man to snake the drain.
#3. Free health care isn't all that great. In the civilian world, if you are late to an appointment by a min, they still see you. In the military, if you are not 15 min early, you're late. Try that when you are toting a couple kids along. Military doctors are also hit or miss. You also do not have the option of switching if you just don't like them. You take the appointment that is available or you might not been seen until next year sometime. Maybe.
You see, with all the complaints, I still love this life. I wouldn't trade it. I have met some of my best friends through this experience. I love them all and am going to miss them dearly when I move on to our next assignment in England. We will keep in touch though. Plus we still have at least 14 more years left in this military life, maybe we will run into them again on another post.