The FAQs of a Military Wife

Military wives receive a lot of questions. From civilian friends and family, from co-workers, even from other military wives whose experiences have been vastly different than your own. As posting season draws nearer, I find the number of questions I receive has increased and since oftentimes they are a variation of just a few simple questions, I thought it would be beneficial for you, dear reader, to have answers to your burning questions all in one place.

So here goes. The most frequently asked questions of a military wife:

Question #1: Where are you from?
Answer: Oh! Um…like…right now? Or originally? Right now, Halifax, but just for now. Originally, Ontario. But like, that was a while ago. So really, I don’t have a…and I’m not actually…where am I from? Oh. Uh – Canada. Just….I’m from Canada.

Question #2: What’s it like being a military wife?
Answer: Well that depends entirely on who you ask and when you ask them. But generally speaking it can be really hard. Many of us are alone a lot or move a lot. And it is really stressful because we never know what’s coming or when. We aren’t often near actual family but we have friends who are just like family except when we leave them and then we make new ones. And then we miss our real family plus the friends who are like family, in which case we  just continue to grow our family, which is actually sort of pretty awesome because I think we probably have more friends than anyone else. And we never put down roots because we move a lot so we don’t stay anywhere for long but we stay in lots of places for a short time which sucks but is also totally awesome because we get to see a lot of this amazing country and we have friends everywhere. And it’s hard because I gave up my career but then I started a new one that rocks. So to really answer the question, sometimes it really sucks except when it doesn’t and then it’s absolutely awesome.

Question #3 (which is actually just a statement): I could never be a military wife. How do you do it?
Answer: You know, I bet you could totally do it and you WOULD totally do it if you fell in love with a solider. And how do I do it? Most of the time, not very well.

Question #4: You move a lot. How can you do that to your children?
Answer: To clarify: are you asking me how I could dare to teach my children to be resilient and teach them coping skills and the benefits of change and how it is that I can possibly show them tiny corners of the entire country and give them more life experiences in their first 10 years than many adults ever get? I just want to make sure I understand the question…

Question #5: Do you know where you’ll be going next?
Answer: Well the military has told us where it will be, so to answer the question, no we don’t. Because, you know, things rarely turn out as planned.

Question #6: You’re moving again! Didn’t you just move?
Answer: Yup. Nothing gets past you…

Question #7: You’re moving again! But the military pays if you don’t sell your house in time, right?
Answer: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Sorry, *ahem*, no. No, they don’t.

Question #8: You’re moving again! How do you feel about that?
Answer: Hahahaha! Oh sorry, that’s not funny. I’m just still laughing from Question #7. How do I feel about that? You know, sometimes I forget to check in with myself and ask that question. Usually I’m pretty caught up in being excited with my family because I’m moving closer, and consoling my neighbours who can’t believe we’re going already, and celebrating with my friends who will be a short drive away, and promising our kids that they really will make friends again in the next city, and telling my supervisor that no, I can’t just get divorced and stay here just because we work well together, and in researching the new location for homes, schools and amenities, and in preparing our home for sale, and in deciding if I should continue making close relationships with people here even though it’s just more people to mourn over when I leave them behind, and in subconsciously convincing new friends that I’m worth investing in even though I’m leaving soon…but how do I feel about moving again? I’ll get back to you.

Question #9: It must be hard to maintain your own career. Have you considered joining the military yourself?
Answer: Hahahaha!! I’m not laughing at Question #7 anymore, I’m laughing again because – HELL TO THE NO.

Question #10: If your husband gets moved around so often, why don’t you and the kids just stay in one spot and let him move around?
Answer: That’s a super valid question. And you know, we haven’t done that yet but at some point it might happen. For some families, that’s the best arrangement. And I don’t judge them for that at all: I trust that those people know what’s in their own best interest and make calculated, educated decisions to that effect. So all I can speak to is our family and our best interest. I knew when I married Hubby that life wouldn’t look the way I thought it might as a wife and mother. And before you say it, no, I didn’t know what I was getting into and even if I did that wouldn’t make this any easier. People who say that may as well wave a giant flag that reads, “WARNING: IGNORANCE AHEAD. I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOUR LIFE BUT WILL MAKE COMMENTS TO PRETEND I DO.” (Sorry for that truth bomb, but there it is). I didn’t choose this life but I did choose this man and he chose this life. And because we have the kind of marriage that works like a friendship and partnership in all ways, I do choose to follow him wherever his career takes us. Western Canada, Atlantic Canada, anywhere in between or straight to the moon. If he’s posted there, then we’re going, too. I can’t imagine a life where I would choose to let him go for long periods of time. The military will send him away without my consent (albeit with my blessing), I don’t need to add distance on top of that. Does moving every two years suck? Yes. Would I rather pick a spot and just stay put? Oh yes. But would I choose to stop altogether and let him ride the wave alone while we wait, for years, upon the shore? No. For us, in our family and in our marriage and partnership, that is not in our best interest. So I choose instability and inconsistency. I choose change and adventure and the ups and the downs. I choose stress and tears and I choose massive, massive amounts of personal growth and development that allow me to all the time become a better military wife. Because at the end of the day, I choose him.

And that, my friends, concludes the Question and Answer segment of this show.
But the next time you’re talking to a military wife and you ask her some questions about her life, whether you know nothing about her lifestyle or whether you think you’re living one exactly the same, I urge you to ask her from a place of compassion and of truly wanting to hear all the words she tells you, and all the ones she just can’t say.

<3 Mel

8 Comments

  • Well put! I really enjoyed reading this post because I meet many ignorant people who say pretty hurtful things without meaning it.

    • So true. They just don’t know, so I try to be one little part in explaining to them 🙂

  • Nice article. I’m a military member actually, and I get a lot of the same questions from friends 🙂 BTW….thank you for your service too, because we couldn’t do it without our families support.

    • Hey Lynda! Is your 2020 off to a good start? Hope you’re doing well!

  • I hear ya sista! We are IR for 2 years because I have a contract and am done moving boards. We plan to retire in this neck of the woods…

    • I see IR in our future, too. I’m not looking forward to it. I hope you’re doing well!! So sorry for the late reply to you <3

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