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A military spouse journey: A comedy …..well, sort of…

So, we’ve all been there as spouses. You get married, you take the jokes of being a “Dependa”, and you get enrolled in DEERS and TRICARE. You’re officially one of us now; a military spouse.

Welcome to being the newest member of our union, Dependas Local #42 (There is no welcome packet or instruction book, by the way).

You are excited to be a spouse and a partner to your service member. You are excited for the “Hollywood” depiction of military life….nice houses, free benefits, tax free shopping on base, and above all …..the glorious travel.

 

Well, here comes the reality bomb… It’s nothing like you thought or imagined.

 

You will often hear the phrase “You knew what you signed up for”……NO, YOU QUITE SIMPLY DID NOT!

Let’s start with DEERS, you have to almost feel like you’re the one enlisting to get the paperwork turned in and inevitably get lost maybe two or three times before finally you can get your fancy ID card. 

Then comes TRICARE. This part is easy.

Easy if you want to (and know how) to read the differences in coverage options between Select, Reserve and Prime.

Easy if you don’t pull out your hair when you notice the alarmingly small amount of TRICARE providers in your area.

 

On to housing….oh my, you’re excited right?

 

A free house on a base with 24/7 maintenance and no bills… Well sorry again Bob, your base might not have enough houses for the amount of families there.

You quickly rush to fill out your housing application, do the background check for sex offenders (yeah, you’d be surprised), and then you get that coveted approval for housing letter that says “8 month wait list” for a house to MAYBE become available.

So to the local rental economy you go looking.

Surprise…. every landlord knows the local BAH rate, so you’re not saving any money and you’re behind the eight ball in your move because housing on base had a super long wait and you got bumped from your spot for someone who did their application at the last minute who has priority anyway because of the “No Later than Date” on the orders.

What good is a wait list if you don’t have to follow the process?

 

So, here we go ahead a few months in time.

 

You and your spouse and maybe kids get that all important duty station! CONGRATULATIONS; welcome to my favorite game of “how long can we afford to be homeless”?

You max out the 10 or so days in temporary lodging get an apartment. Now my second favorite game, “how long until our stuff gets here“?

You remember all that stuff the military contracted movers boxed and labeled and loaded on their truck 3 months ago…. Well, you’ll find out you won’t see it for at least 5 more weeks.

New favorite game…. let’s add to our collection of blow up mattresses and bed sheets, you might even add to your collection of pots and pans.

No matter how many Permanent Change of Stations you make, you learn it is never easy and you never get the same amount of stuff back that you left with. Things get broken or magically never made it on the manifest and are gone. (I blame the house Elves that don’t want to forget you when you leave them behind).

 

All of this and its only the first time you’ve done it.

 

You panic, you cry, you snap… You try to join the spouses clubs thinking everyone get along like they do on those shows Army Wives or Desperate Housewives

Well, truth bomb again… Get ready for less of those shows and more of Jersey Shore.

Let’s go through your options:  are you an enlisted spouse or officer spouse? Are you a female spouse, or the often never seen “not acceptable” male spouse?

Hang in there all you guys in the crowd, we are growing in numbers and becoming more vocal I promise you!

 

So you join the facebook groups and find a coffee group. You go to the Post Exchange, or NEX, or BX (or whatever your branch calls it because like everything else we can’t be standardized in anything we do), and after five minutes of hearing all the base gossips and rumors you are really doubting if you want to be associated with these spouses.

But….you lucked out and met “Terry” and she is an amazing woman who bakes for the bake sales and organizes homecomings and FRG events, and you have made a great friend for life.

Until three months later, when you hear Terry is PCSing away and “forever” now has a shelf life. And this is all just the start of the comedy!

Let me know if you want to hear more about our new spouses adventures on Fort Best Unit ever! Maybe you will see your experiences here!

 

 

spouse Jerad “JT” Knight is an Army veteran turned Navy Spouse. He is an advocate for mental health and self-care in our military community, a champion of male military spouse voices and experiences, a podcast host, an off (and on) blogger, and a huge fan of SCYFI and super heroes!

He brings a funny yet, serious voice to things that impact the military spouse community. To reach Jared, email us at blog@missionmilspouse.org.

Editor’s Note: We are so happy to have Jerad’s voice on our blog today- Thanks for making us smile Jerad! Check out our Expert Category for more posts from guest authors. 

 

 

 

Author

  • M:M Guest Author

    It's our mission to to globally empower military spouses with resources and support them to conquer adversity, foster confidence, and thrive in this military life. If you would like be a guest author or know someone who is mission ready to. blog for M:M, reach out to our Content Director for more details. Email all inquires to kathleen@missionmilspouse.org.

3 Comments

  1. Home Nova

    Love this piece. Funny and a truth bomb!

    Reply
    • Jerad Knight

      Thank you!

      Reply
    • Amie

      Great blog!

      Reply

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Supporting Our Military Children

Supporting Our Military Children

One thing that has been most important to me, as a military spouse, is figuring out how to best do this life while supporting our children with the changes and difficulties. When my children were very small, there were many times that my husband was away, and I had to parent my children alone.

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