A letter to the Minister of National Defence – Love, Mel

Dear Mr. MacKay (Minister of National Defence),

I am writing to you today with a little suggestion that I think might make a vast difference in the Canadian Military. By taking my suggestion you will more than likely find that your soldiers are much happier and therefore easier to work with and more productive. It goes without saying that in today’s age of budget cut-backs this would be monumentally helpful.

I suggest that at each military base across Canada you hire an official Wives’ Interests and Family Excellence Officer (WIFE-O). The job of this WIFE-O would be a difficult and multi-faceted one, obviously first serving the best interests of the wives and families of your military members. Being a military spouse is no easy task, however I firmly believe that an official WIFE-O would make it much easier.

Here is a brief job description of the WIFE-O:

1. To give the wives a sense that there is someone looking out for THEIR interests.

2. To offer assistance to wives when settling into a new posting (Don’t get me wrong, the MFRC (Military Family Resource Centre) is a wonderful and much needed resource. However the WIFE-O would offer information that the MFRC cannot, such as the best liquor stores in town and the rental of trashy movies and books to wives of deployed CF members).

3. To offer incentives to wives of deployed members. These incentives may include but are not limited to:
– automatic weekly flower deliveries while husbands are away or working an intense period of overtime
– automatic pizza delivery on Friday nights
– automatic wine deliveries daily
– maid service. All the time.
– extra funds provided for Retail Therapy
– snow removal in winter*
– grass mowing in summer*
– car repairs when necessary*
– general home maintenance when necessary*

(Note: incentives with an asterisk (*) are best provided by an insanely sexy, well-toned man)

Mr. MacKay, you may be wondering why such a position is truly necessary. After all, wives have been following their husbands around from posting to posting for years without such a person, so why now? Well to be honest, it’s most likely that no one has thought of it before. But here is why you should not delay in the creation of this new position:

When a wife learns that her husband is being sent away again, she gets cranky. Really, really cranky. If recent news is correct you have just become a married man yourself (congratulations!) so I am sure you have already figured this out. Why do we get so cranky? Well it often feels that we are expected to follow our husbands around the country like pretty little puppies. We move to towns far from everyone and everything we know and care about. We lose our jobs. We single parent and single home-manage without a second thought given to us. We often hear and quickly hate the phrase, “You knew what you were getting into!” when we try to explain our feelings and frustrations. We quickly become adjusted to being our husbands’ second wives but never like it any better. Schedules are changed at the last minute throwing our plans which were dodgy at best right out the window. In short, no one really seems to give a poop about us. We get a little nod at social events every now and then, and heck, I even received a set of wine glasses from one posting (and let me tell you, that almost made it all worth while). So yes, at the words, “Honey, I’m going away again”, the wives get cranky. And when the wife gets cranky, life probably isn’t so great for her husband. This negativity is then carried through into his job and results in a downward spiral of bad morale in the workforce which then spreads like an infectious disease to the rest of the members and then leads to low productivity in the entire unit. Your troops become negative, cynical and depressed. Obviously these are not the qualities we aim to see.

As previously mentioned, appointing a WIFE-O to serve at each base in Canada will greatly help diminish these problems. To feel as though there is someone that cares about us, that has at least considered us when our husbands are away, would make all the difference.

Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to discuss this matter further. Oh, and in addition, I volunteer to be the first hired, so there is no need to worry about that.

Thank you and I look forward to your call.

P.S. If, after very careful consideration, you come to the conclusion that the hiring of a WIFE-O is not immediately possible, there is one other option: Give us a break and let us keep our husbands home for once. Please.


  • ah Mel I hear ya sista – I can be WIFE-O for Base Petawawa- maybe we wives need to work harder at creating our own network – especially in regiments that have no spousal involvement (like engineers)

  • At this point I just find it easier to expect Matt to be away, then it is always a pleasant surprise when he's actually home. We rarely make plans in advance and if we do I always attach the condition of "if he's home". I agree with Shani that the wives need to work harder. When we were in Petawawa it was hard enough to meet other wives to have a little company when Matt was away but here in Toronto it's impossible. No one looks after the wives' interests here, probably because most of the soldiers are reservists so their wives have their own social networks and don't give a second thought to the real army wife! On an aside, it is soooo irritating to hear the reservists' wives complain at mixed dinners about their husbands working one evening a week and the occasional weekeend! Seriously, know your audience! At our next posting (which better come this year), hopefully Petawawa, I hope to meet more wives. I especially hope to meet more engineer's wives. I mean, I can't be the only one to have married an engineer but I can count on one hand the number of engineer's wives I've met!
    Oh, and Matt would like to volunteer to be the sexy, well-toned man when he's home 😛

    – Kaitlin

  • I think I'd like some of those incentives! Can non-military wives with husbands who travel get in on this deal? I think you'd make a terrific WIFE-O!

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