5 Common Complaints Military Spouses Have About Children…& How to Cope

It seems like I can’t get on social media anymore to be nosey in military spouse type groups without large amounts of complaints. Facebook groups have literally turned into unofficial ICE customer service outlets for the digital age. Chief among the complaints I have seen are mischievous children on military installations. Now that we’re in the month of the military child, I wanted to honor the little critters. It’s not easy being a military kid. Here is why:

Complaint: “Oh my gosh, there are some really disrespectful teenagers out here talking about inappropriate things.”  Uhh..Okay?  I think most of us cannot tell a lie and say we weren’t potty-mouthed teens at some point.  As an adult, it’s also not unheard of to do a spot correction on children if they are using inappropriate language around smaller children.

Complaint: “There is a group of children outside who keep on tracking dirt onto the sidewalk and making so much noise that I can’t even keep my window open because they are disturbing my darling poodle, Beaver.”  I see this one a lot.  I mean, kids go outside and play…it’s what they do.  I know it might be a little less tolerable for those without children, but I think for parents it just comes with the territory.  I’ve had friends complain to me about being waken up at 8am by children playing outside.  All I could think was, “You’re able to sleep that late??”

Complaint:  “If you’re the parents of either of the teenagers showed in this picture that I very creepily obtained by low crawling through the grass that housing doesn’t keep mowed very well..you might want to let them know that holding hands and kissing is disgusting.”  Okay, come on.  I think we can all look back with some nostalgia at being young and in love.  I also wouldn’t advise people to post pictures of other people’s children without consent.  I mean, back in the day people parented without social media..

Complaint:  “These kids are out of control!  They’re out playing ding dong ditch again and I can’t take it anymore.  Who raised these kids?  My infant will never be this way because I will raise him to be an angel who comes home, does homework, and sits down to crochet with me.  If your kid plays ding dong ditch, I just assume you don’t love them.”  This is always my favorite complaint because it sparks a huge debate every time someone complains about it.  Kids will be kids, folks.  Part of childhood includes ding dong ditch.  I do agree that it’s disrespectful.  Again, I won’t pretend that I didn’t play it when I was young.  It’s part of mischief that kids get into.  I will say that the source of this complaint usually doesn’t have children that age of their own so they can’t relate.

Complaint:  “These crusty behind kids keep on running through a corner of my unfenced, bare government-issued housing yard and I’m not having it.  Tell your kids to learn respect for people’s property.”  The yards in question are never fenced in and share an invisible boundary with common areas like fields and spaces between houses.  Some kids run and play, some stay indoors and play with electronics all day.

It’s hard being a military kid.  I think that sometimes we forget what childhood was like.  We forget that we pulled off the same stuff and got into mischief and even trouble.  Children need guidance and are not fully developed or mature.  A smile and friendly reminder usually go a long way when it comes to speaking with children.  Sometimes the best approach is to take a deep breath and realize that it isn’t the end of the world.  Food will still appear on your table if loud children are outside playing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Times Military Spouses Were Petty AF: Vol. 2

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This is a continuation of the series I started.  I had such a blast writing the first installment that I decided to quickly follow up with Vol. 2.  I know we’ve all come across some crazy responses to questions frequently asked in Facebook groups.  Sometimes we cringe, sometimes we laugh. Although this is all in good fun, I know most of us can relate on some level.  Without further ado, I give you 5 more times military spouses were petty af:

Hi, I was wondering if anyone can tell me how the roads are? “Here we go.  Get a load of this newb.  Hey Grover, this ain’t the Weather Channel.  Every single winter, this happens and I’m about to lose my whole mind.  It drains the life out of me to see a post about weather.  Who raised you?!  If I see one more incompetent wife asking how the roads are, I’m going to throw my iPhone 4s across the room so hard, Straight Talk will feel it.  Better yet, why don’t you scroll the page? Someone posted about this 5 hours ago!”

Does anyone know the number to Pizzas Rain or Shine?  I’d like to order delivery tonight.  “Wait…you mean to tell me that you’re going to risk a delivery driver’s life during this weather?  What kind of monster are you?  This is what’s wrong with America today.  People like you who feel entitled to order pizza.  I’m sickened by this question and I hope that you don’t kiss your babies with that mouth.”

I’m new here and I really don’t like it.  Any advice on how to cope with homesickness?  “Sounds like you need an attitude adjustment, snowflake.  For starters, how about you try leaving your fleabag housing and explore this beautiful area that you’ve been blessed with?  This area is what you make it and those who don’t like it can kick rocks.  Don’t bring yourself back on this page talking about you don’t like it here.  Open the curtains to your dungeon every once in a while and stop being an introvert.  No one likes a serial killer.”

Does anyone have any recommendations for places to get a puppy?  We really want a Siberian Husky.  “How about you take your sorry behind down to the animal shelter and adopt?  You must be one of those people who think they’re too good for a mutt.  There are so many dogs that need to be rescued and you’re out here looking for a puppy that you actually want.  Yeah, I’m side-eyeing you, Michael Vick.”

Hey ladies!  Can someone point me in the right direction?  I am looking for the ID card office.  Thanks in advance!  “You know, Facebook has added this awesome feature to groups called a SEARCH BAR!  It’s totally free to use.  I’m sure there have been a million posts asking where the ID card office is and if I have to read one more, I’m going to deactivate my Facebook for the day.  Matter of fact, here’s a screenshot for you.  I’ve circled where you need to click and exactly what to type in to find your answer.  You’re welcome.”  

I know you have all seen examples of these things.  They’re very real and hopefully by raising awareness, we can put an end to the tom foolery.  (Probably not though)

 

 

5 Times Military Spouses Were Petty AF

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Listen Linda, I realize that as military spouses, some have far more experience than others.  Some have been through multiple deployments and some have never had to endure a separation from their spouse.  There are young spouses that seek guidance and new to military life spouses who are looking for help navigating this world.  Sometimes spouses with tons of experience just need a place to vent and shoot the you-know-what.  So many turn to military spouse groups and forums on social media.  I’ve compiled a list of some of the harmless questions that are sure to garner a response from even the most undercover Petty LaBelle.

1.  “Hi everyone, my family has fallen on some very hard times and I need to re-home the family pet.  I’m wondering if there are any military families that are looking for a dog?”  Ohhh my goodness.  Hell hath no fury like asking a group of military spouses this question.  Some might come at you with some hard hitting statistics, “I’m appalled.  Studies have shown that 99.9% of heifers who sell their beloved dogs are lazy-behind people who hate animals and punch babies in the face for a living.  Chances are you also support Hitler.”  

2.   “Can someone please explain to me what it means to be ‘in the box’?  Thanks!”  Here we go…“Wow!  I can’t believe you’re jeopardizing your husband’s life by violating OPSEC! I’ve personally heard of return dates being changed because of peasants like you with your loose lips and no edges.  And no, it wasn’t because dates change all the time & I truly have no idea about how military flights operate, it was because some Snuffaluffagus lookalike asked what the box is.”

3.  “I’m having such a hard time with the absence of my husband.  Any advice?”  This one gets out of hand quick.  “Advice?  Yeah, put your big girl panties on.  I can’t stand a young wife who misses her husband.  I look forward to when mine leaves!  I enjoy all the free time in the world because I can watch Grey’s Anatomy and Vampire Diaries and I don’t have to shave my back.  If you miss your husband, that makes you racist.”

4.  “I need to rant a little to my fellow wives.  I was changing in the gym and noticed that there was an older boy in the locker room and I felt a little uncomfortable about it.  Is there a family changing room?”  Girl, yes.  I feel you and I completely sympathize.  Don’t tell a group of military spouses though.  “What did you just say?! How dare you disrespect my cupcake in such a manner?  You pretty much just said that my kid is ugly as hell and I should keep his cross-eyed self out of the women’s locker room.  I’ll do no such thing, if you don’t like it then you can stay fat.” 

5.  “Can anyone recommend an affordable photographer?”  Seems like a normal question right?  Shoot, I wanna know too!  Be careful though.  “Oh, affordable huh?  So basically you’re asking me to leave my kids and fur babies in the car with the windows rolled up on a 100 degree day to take pictures of your big headed kids and raggedy husband for free?  The nerve of some of these wives on here who don’t understand that photography is an art and I am an agent in delivering to the world a work of utter genius.  Try Sears, you garden gnome.”  

I know we won’t all agree, but come on, mayne!  We can do better.

 

 

 

 

 

Navigating Life: Going From Service Member to Military Spouse

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Quite possibly one of the most challenging things I’ve had to do was make the transition from Soldier to Spouse.  I’m talking straight from deployment to full on stay-at-home wife.  Before I begin this piece of information, let me add this disclaimer:

While I know that there are male military spouses, I’m using my voice for this writing because it is where I’m experienced and I’m chronicling my personal adventure for those who care to read.  I see you men also!  

What Now?

This is probably the first thing I asked myself.  Start school back up right away or take a small break?  Look for a job?  Eat Cheetos & catch up on my programs?  The answer never came to me, so I did a little bit of everything.  I enrolled in some courses and got Cheeto smudges on my textbooks.  It’ll come to you, trust me.

Feeling Left Behind.

Perhaps one of the most common emotions I went through initially was feeling like I was so far disconnected from the Army life I had grown so accustomed to.  Watching my husband put his uniform on everyday made me sad every now and then.  Mostly though, it made me feel nostalgic.  I eventually got over it by realizing I could do more to support my family by being outside of the military.

No One Gets Me.

This is probably one of the most common feelings that I still experience from time to time.   There are so many nice military spouses and I’ve found many I enjoy being around.  Since I understand quite a bit about what the Army is all about, I often get questions from fellow spouses that I’m more than happy to answer.  On the flip side though, sometimes I want to vent about something military-related or have a discussion and I get the deer in headlights look.  This is why I love my fellow veteran spouses; we can BS about it all.

Regret.

This is one that I haven’t full on experienced in quite a while.  For the first few months of separating from the Army, I began to feel almost like I was in mourning.  I didn’t have the connection with people around me like I had with those I served with.  I would think about all of the reasons why I decided to move on and everything made sense again.  Since I’ve exited the Army, I have found amazing friends along the way that I would not have met otherwise.

While I absolutely loved my time in the Army and wouldn’t change it for the world, there are so many perks to being “on the other side.”  In fact, just the other day, I walked through a whole patch of grass with impunity.  I pass higher ranking folks and look them dead in the eyeballs without so much as a “you good, fam?”  I walk and talk on my cell phone.  I answer CSMs with, “Yeah.”  Okay, okay…I don’t think I’ve gotten that crazy yet.  In any case, I am completely at peace with where I’ve been and the decisions I made for my family.

Military Spouses & Social Media: OPSEC

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Social media is probably the single most amazing advancement in communication with the most impact on how we speak to not only each other but also the world.  It has allowed us to share our lives and network.  A person in the United States can easily become friends with a person in another country all through social media.  News is shared through social media.  Some people only receive headlines by looking at their social media news feed.  Social media has also been an incredible challenge for organizations like the military.  While the military receives extensive briefings on material that is appropriate to be published on social media, family members sometimes miss the memo.  It’s important for service members to have the conversation with their family members so that they are aware of the possible ramifications of sharing too much information online.  Here is a small guide for military spouses to read and consider for safe Facebooking and Twitter’ing:

  1. Refrain from posting dates of ANY kind.  Service members train within the United States all the time.  While these types of absences aren’t necessarily deployments, it’s still a good idea to practice OPSEC (Operational Security).  Do not post any dates your spouse may have spoken about on social media for any reason.  This includes, but is not limited to, Facebook groups.
  2. Post in a professional manner.  While family members aren’t subject to any punishments from the military, they are a direct reflection of the service member.  Try to remember that things you say online have the potential to get your service member spouse hemmed up.
  3. Do not discuss movement.  Dates, extensions, and times of flights are absolutely off limits.  Don’t give any type of information away to anyone online.  You never know who is watching.  Not everyone has good intentions.  Revealing pertinent information can also result in delays of service member movements.
  4. Do not discuss missions.  It’s also a good idea to never mention any specific details about missions your spouse has discussed with you.  An example of this would be disclosing details on training your spouse has gone through or capabilities of the unit.  Think of your spouse’s training events as a training opportunity for yourself also to practice OPSEC.
  5. Disable geotags.  Geotagging is the practice of “checking in” to places or allowing your location to be revealed via social media.  This is very important for service members, but it’s a good safety precaution for everyone.
  6. Check pictures that you post.  Don’t post any pictures that show names of service members and unit affiliation.  I know this can be hard to do, but to err on the side of safety, it’s better to get into the habit of keeping all of that off social media.
  7. Do not reveal exact locations of service members.  It’s never a good idea to publicly discuss where your service member is.  Even if it’s within the United States.
  8. DO NOT REPEAT RUMORS!  Do not add to the rumor mill by getting online and spreading the latest on what you “heard.”  Things change all the time in the military and its very counterproductive to keep spreading rumors.

These are just a few key things that everyone should know and commit to memory.  When in doubt, look for the answer or simply refrain from posting.  Once you’ve become used to keeping military information off social media, it gets easier.  Not only can the spillage of information from your service member to social media have detrimental effects on the mission, it can get your spouse in very hot water with his/her command.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways To Transition From Career Parent To Stay-At-Home Parent

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So you’ve worked most of your life and have all of a sudden found yourself making a decision for your family to stay home.  Along with the many pros of making the choice to be an at-home parent, there are a few cons to combat.  Some may find that the transition can be a lot more difficult than anticipated.  When I had to stop working due to my family’s PCS, I did a small happy dance for the break I would have.  Once that break stretched into almost a year, I began to suffer from cabin fever.  I had to find ways to break up my days and stay productive, even though I wasn’t working outside of the home.  Don’t get me wrong, caring for a child (or children) can be a daunting task.  Still, sometimes it can feel mundane and tedious.  Here are a few ways to find a little balance:

    1. Planning.  I received a very nice planner as a Christmas gift from my mother.  I have always loved planners, notebooks, pens, and anything having to do with writing.  Not only has it increased my productivity, it has given me an extra hobby that I enjoy.  I write down everything from appointments to chores that need to be done.  Breaking up my days into sections and assigning myself even small tasks such as dishes or laundry has helped keep me on track.  There’s something way exciting to me about crossing off accomplishments, no matter how small.
    2. Leaving the house for no reason.  This may sound a little silly, but trust me, it’s needed on occasion.  On the days I’m feeling especially bummy, I’ll force myself to get up and leave the house with my toddler for absolutely no reason whatsoever.  It’s amazing how a walk around the neighborhood, a drive down the road, or even a trip to the store can revitalize you.  Seriously, try it.
    3. Interact with other adults.  It’s important to remember to take some time to have a conversation with a friend or family member.  It may not seem like a big deal, but tapping into your support system doesn’t have to be for emergencies.  There are days where I feel completely isolated and surrounded by a sea of cartoons and crayons.  Sometimes, even sending a quick meme to a friend on messenger helps keep my social skills honed.  There isn’t always time to sit down and have a long conversation and my lovely people understand this.  However, I do try to make time to have a few conversations a day with various friends and family.
    4. Get involved.  This is probably the most preached piece of advice ever and it’s not for nothing.  There is sort of a stigma among the military community towards spouses and the interaction they have with one another.  Rise above the preconceived notions that military spouses are all participating in an audition for a bad reality show.  There are some pretty amazing people to discover within the military community, as well as awesome programs and projects to become involved with.  Test the waters and you will most likely find yourself pleasantly surprised.  I’ve set a few goals in this area such as joining some workout groups and play groups.  It’s a great way to network and make friends.
    5. Give yourself permission to not do a thing.  We all need a “day off.”  For those of us who stay home, this isn’t really possible.  I have my days where I am in pajamas all day and don’t leave the house.  For me, it’s a much needed break from feeling like I should be doing something.  It’s perfectly okay to take a day and just lounge (as much as possible) and catch up on your shows.  Speaking of which, I need to catch up on The Walking Dead.

It can become overwhelming and even frustrating to make the transition from working parent to stay-at-home parent.  Especially if you’re actively job seeking with no luck.  I know this feeling all too well.  It’s important to remember that you’re still serving a much needed purpose for your family.  While making your family a priority, don’t forget to reserve yourself a spot also.

Calling the MPs: No Tea, No Shade 


I think we’ve all had at least one neighbor who plays loud music every now and then..or more often than not. Maybe the issue is a barking dog in their backyard. Maybe they have an ugly scarecrow posted up on their lawn. Whatever the case may be, I’m sure at one point in your thought process a light bulb went off. Call the MPs on them! 

While this might seem like the most effective way to solve your grievance, I would highly advise against jumping straight to notifying law enforcement. Perhaps the neighbor is unaware that their music, TV, or dog is causing you stress.  It would be a better idea to first speak with your neighbor and politely ask if they can turn the volume down. They may be unaware that they’re making too much noise. In any case, it’ll give you an excuse to say hello to your neighbor and possibly become BFFs.

While there are legitimate reasons to call MPs, neighborly disputes should be kept in the ‘hood. Don’t avoid conversation or even concerns with neighbors because it’s too much hassle. Communicating with one another is key to success in this crazy world of on post living. 

ICE Comments: What Aren’t They For?

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So you’re sitting there enjoying your morning bowl of cereal, maybe even a cup of coffee, when your lovely spouse texts you.  It appears that the company commander has ordered that they work through lunch to finish some layouts.  Just like that, your bowl of cereal now looks like a bowl of garbage.  Your coffee tastes like it came from someone’s DFAC.  What is to be done?  Suddenly, a light bulb appears over your head.  “File an ICE COMPLAINT!”  Don’t do it, chile.

The Interactive Customer Evaluation (ICE) is a system that is implemented within the Department of Defense in order to improve customer service.  Yes, you heard it right, customer service.  In fact, you can go onto their website (ice.disa.mil) and find your installation.  From there, you can stroll down to the service you would like to leave a comment for.  Here’s another little known fact: You can leave positive feedback as well!  In fact, as I scroll and explore the site more, I don’t even see an option to leave some angry hate mail towards a specific company commander.  I did get sidetracked though when I spotted a place to sprinkle my positivity.  Now let’s get to my little list of what ICE Comments are not for:

  1. Giving your spouse’s leadership a piece of your mind.  I know that things can get a little crazy, and so does your spouse, trust me!  However, bear in mind that everyone goes through it together.  You should be supportive in any way that you can.
  2. Making threats.  Please don’t utilize ICE comments to threaten the services provided to us.  What we can do is make suggestions if we feel that a particular service is lacking.
  3. Telling Burger King that they don’t deserve $15 an hour.  I know that sometimes things get a little crazy in the food court.  Believe me, I’ve been there.  Something that we all need to realize is that there are teenagers who are working in the food court.  They are learning and need our guidance.  Please refrain from disparaging remarks that are counterproductive.

I’m sure I could conjure up some more examples, but I would like to keep this on a (mostly) positive note.  We have access to these systems to provide feedback that will benefit our community where the services we are provided are concerned.  In fact, I challenge anyone reading this to please go to the website and make a positive comment if you were recently given good customer service on post.

Fitness Journey & the MLM Hustle.

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We’ve likely all been there. Sipping on our tea, scrolling our Facebook/Twitter/Instagram feeds when BAM; friend request. Ohhhh, and we have mutual friends. So thinking someone is reaching out to you in order to make friends, you accept. No sooner can you get another full bite of your Great Value protein bar, than you’ve received your first message from your new friend.

It goes a little something like this:

“Hi, Consuela! I see we have a few mutual friends and I just thought I would reach out because we are in the same community. I sell ItMightPossiblyWork and Lake Bodies and would love to help you along your journey.”

Wait, what? How exactly would a stranger know we’re on a fitness journey sending the initial request? Are we looking a little plump in our profile picture?  So then we get a little offended because you basically identified us as someone who needs to lose weight.  What adds to the shadiness is that a message wasn’t sent prior to the request. While it’s perfectly okay to have a hustle, there are proper ways to go about your business. Alienating the people in your community isn’t a good way to do business.

Instead of harassing innocent friends of friends:

  • Actually make friends with people. I have given my friends plenty of business. I have no problem supporting a friend, if I feel as though it’s a right fit for me. However, I also don’t agree with long passive aggressive posts about how we should spend our hard earned money on your product since you see us posting pictures of our bags and whatnot. Others’ finances are no one’s business. If I see that, I will not become a customer.
  • Make a page specifically for your products and link it to your personal profile. Even posts made on your personal profile lets your friends know about what you’re selling. If we are interested, we will reach out.
  • DO NOT under any circumstances assume that a particular individual would be interested in your products based on appearance or assumption alone.
  • Do not post inappropriate content in online forums or groups. I understand the freedom of speech thing, but there’s also this freedom not to purchase your stuff thing that will happen if you look unprofessional online.

There are folks who do well selling MLM products, and I know a few because I am a customer. I can say with certainty that they didn’t gain me as a customer by violating the aforementioned tips.

To Feet Or Not To Feet?

 

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There used to be a man who frequented spouse groups and all manner of mommy groups on Facebook.  He would enter, guns blazing, to announce that he was seeking freelance employees.  The conditions of his contract were simple:  You send him photographs of your feet and he would compensate you with $50.  Don’t look at me like that, I’m serious!  In fact, if I remember correctly, he also paid a small fee for videos of your feet and Skype sessions with your piggies.  This ended up turning into an infamous Army Wife Facebook group brawl between those who accepted his offer, and those who couldn’t fathom being “desperate” enough for $50.  I mean, get your coin how you get it, hunty! Right?

However, for those who would rather leave their bare feet off their resume, there is still a huge hurdle.  In order to become gainfully employed, a lot of spouses require child care in some form.  This can get incredibly pricey, depending upon the region.  Many times it means that the spouse would essentially be working only to cover those costs, if their salary even covered them to begin with.  This often leads to discouraged spouses who feel as though they aren’t contributing to their households.

I recently read about a program I had never heard of before called Child Care Aware Of America.  According to the website, they provide assistance with costs associated with child care by working with off-post providers in your area.  Enter your zip code on the website and it will pull up your local point of contact for the program.  You can check them out at usa.childcareaware.org.  This seems like a much more reasonable solution towards employment than selling pictures of yo feet.