Why I Don’t Appreciate the Military Today

Stars and Stripes

Do you appreciate the military today? Yeah, me neither.

It’s nothing against any one person, or the brave work that servicemembers around the world are doing right now, or the lives cut short or the daily sacrifices made. I appreciate those things deeply.

It’s the rest of it. The whole military lifestyle – the coming, the going, all the resources, all the help, all the outreach, all the millions spent on military family support, the nice party thrown by our brigade’s leadership over the weekend, the workshop next week on do-it-yourself plumbing and pretty much any concept or program affiliated with the military machine or aimed at any military family.

Today I look at it with scorn. I ridicule you, military programs. I want you to jump in a sink hole. I wish you the fate of the Balrog in Lord of the Rings. Go away. Leave me alone.

You see, my husband is deploying in a few weeks, and I’m feeling very, very cranky with this whole lifestyle. Any other time you won’t hear a peep outta me about military-dislike. Normally I loooooooooove my military lifestyle. Military family appreciation? Lay it on thick, thanks. A workshop on snaking your own toilet? Handy!

Yes, I know it’s my husband’s job to deploy. I know being gone is part of the gig. And 90 percent of the time I’m totally fine with that. I’m grateful for the paycheck. I love that we can serve.

And yet here I am, feeling like a cranky two-year-old. And totally OK with it.

I think it’s normal to be a hater once in a while. Allowing the military dislike to pour forth from my soul for a few days right before deployment is cathartic. I get it out there, let it breathe, admit that this sucks – and then I lock it away and trudge on.

Because if I keep it in a drawer – if I never admit that sometimes, when no one is looking, I secretly hate that the military takes my sons’ Daddy away for months on end – it’ll just kill me. I can slap on my happy face, but meanwhile secret hate is growing and festering in the dark.

But when I let it air a bit, the sunlight makes it shrink. After all the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one, right?

So let’s give it some air. So glad I got that off my chest. Now let’s move on.

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on CNN.com, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.

28 Comments on "Why I Don’t Appreciate the Military Today"

  1. I hear ya. Quite okay to be a hater every now and then. Better than being mad at the person, right? We all need something or someone to turn our frustration towards, and looks like you've found your scapegoat.

  2. Well, if those of us who serve in uniform can severely dislike it at times (and any Vet who tells you there never was a time is lying) it's only fair for spouses and family members to feel the same. Because it is definitely more than demanding, it is all-consuming, and at times the bureaucracy can come close to crushing you. So go take it out on a punching bag for a while, and then catch your breath, grit your teeth, and get back to it. Thanks for supporting your loved one – few of us could have got through what we did without the backing of our families, extended or close.

  3. What you said about your wife is what I hope my husband will say about me after he retires.

  4. I think being a little bitter at the military sometimes is like having a good long cry–it's cleansing. As long as you get it out of your system, square your shoulders, and put on your happy face when you are done. I've had plenty of grumbly days and I've learned from them. Thank you for being willing to admit that it's not all sunshine and roses–and that's okay! Good luck with the upcoming deployment.

  5. Freedom of Speech includes profanity whether I, we, you, they like it or not. I served ten years of my life in the USAF to protect and preserve our constitution and that includes my ability to "talk shit" if I so choose. To delete expletives is a violation of this intent.

  6. a question …did this woman marry the guy with her eyes wide open or was she drugged and chained as she went to the alter? …he chose military…end of story…if it's too hot in the kitchen babe…go outside and find a better life

  7. How exciting, a place to vent! How did I just now stumble upon this site?! Why I don't appreciate the military today? The lack of appreciation the military has for me, better yet.. My husband. The lack of appreciation for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, such as my husband, my son, and myself. It's cold, and the holidays are approaching. Today, if find myself wrapped in a blanket thinking and saying…."I didn't sign up for this." I signed up to love the man of my dreams for life, to follow him and support him, to honor and respect him. He swore in, I swore my love, my vows…death parted us…. Unlike the military, I kept my promise. So again, on this cold day so close to my wedding anniversary, thanksgiving, his birthday and Christmas I am left abandoned and isolated by the ones who promised me most that I was still apart of the military family. Unlike the military, I miss my husband today.. I appreciate. The mission must continue and I am not the mission, nor is my husband or any other fallen military member, veteran or survivor. As quickly as he was gone, his position was filled. With the filling of that position, the memory of my husband was quickly filled with duties and tasks. None of which are the concern of my or my family's well being. I never imagined I'd be here, paying the ultimate sacrifice… Alone and unappreciated.

  8. Romney 2012-Save America Team!

  9. Remember, war is not something the military created. Our elected polititions create wars for many
    reasons that have little or nothing to do with national defense. We should be defending our borders,
    not to some foreign soil that did not ask for our help.
    The service member deserves better health care and a better pension than elected officials.

  10. Forty three years ago my husband died for his country in Viet Nam. I was a military wife for 16 years. He was a Lt Col when he died serving his second tour in a war that was not accepted by the people, only the government. I was 32 years with four children. I loved army life. I was his choice to be an officer serving his country. Everyone was against that war and that reflected on my two teen age daughter. Even their teachers harrassed them. It was pure hell not to be able to be proud of their father. I remarried almost immediately trying to protect us from the ridicule. I hated ,and still do, our government for being where they don't belong just for power and money. Young men die for old men's greed.

  11. I am not normally one to comment on things or even read the comments because well they have a tendency to make me angry. I have enough going on I don’t need someone else’s negativity effecting me. I almost didn't read the post because of the title. I cannot stand when people in the service (member or dependent) complain about the military. It is tacky and disrespectful. However, that is not really what this is about. It is about allowing yourself the time to get out the feelings you have about difficult situations and then moving on. We spouses are not emotionally unaffected by the difficult situations that military life presents us. Finding your way to deal and then press on is key.

  12. I grew up as a miltiary child born in Germany (Brother and Sister were born in Anchorage Alaska). We did a lot of traveling with my dad but at some point my mother decided it was time to settle down in El Paso, TX (Fort Bliss). My father constantly was deployed back to Europe and we did not go. I only now appreciate how hard this was for my mother because she honestly made it work. My father eventually retired from the enlisted ranks as a Sergeant First Class after 23 years of service.
    I am currently a reservist in the Navy and have been called up for a few different things and it has been a sacrifice. (I am sure my wife hates almost all of it).I don't really have an opinion on the story. Each person deal with their situation differently. I just hope that everything is able to work out for you and your family. Its not easy but I am not sure it is supposed to be. I will keep you in my prayers.

  13. WIth Obama as POTUS it will only get worse – longer deployments with less time at home.

  14. Robert Cerveny, Jr. | October 31, 2012 at 3:36 pm |

    Sorry you feel that way. If you dont like it, move overseas!!!!!! You may be a soldiers wife, but you ARE NOT A VETERAN!! These programs were set up to help veterans and their family. My fellow veterans see more in combat then you will ever. Then on top of that, they have to worry about their families back home and hope they are doing well. But here you are, not liking the veteran programs because your husband is deploying. Grow up.

  15. Minnesotagopher | October 31, 2012 at 4:23 pm |

    It strikes me that this article, (written by a normally rational human being during a time when she is not at all rational) is a great example of the argument against placing women in a combat situation. Who would want to take orders from Amy during one of her 'down periods' when she is in a tent and you are in a fox hole in the combat zone? Amy, and women like her, would appear to be 'battle hardened' for 28 days a month and then on those 'other' days would be useless (in fact, dangerous) during a firefight.
    Regarding wives that hate military deployments; during my 28 years of service, I have counseled countless young kids who have come to me wanting to know if they should re-up or not….My first question always was "Does your wife/girlfriend like military life and its obligations? This evoked a yes or no answerer. If it was 'Yes', the counseling period continued. If it was 'No', the session was finished.

  16. Get over yourself. You knew all of this when you married him. Now all of a sudden your world is crashing down? You are not the only one that has to deal with their husbands deployment. The point is that you should have never married him if you couldn't deal with the program. As far asthis little programs are concerned,ie, do it yourself plumbing could come in handy for those that are at home. Besides, I think that those kind of programs are good for a litle bit of a distraction. Over all, if you do not like the the kife style of the military, you should have married some sniveling geek.

  17. I don't think some of ya'll are geting her point. She's saying it's okay to be frustrated or even angry about the military and that it's okay to vent it from time-to-time. I served for 20 years in the USAF and got irritated with it and, yes, even vented. Don't tell me that some of you castigating the wriiter NEVER did.

    BTW, Americans who say stuff like "If you don't like it, move overseas!!!!" (as one poster did above) crack me up. Being an American Indian myself (enrolled Comanche Nation), the irony of it always strikes me. To those who say stuff like that to other Americans, my only response from a Native POV is "you first".

  18. I for one appreciate hearing from someone that there are days when they are angry about the deployments and separations. I know I have my days. Yes, I signed up for this. Yes, I appreciate the fact that my husband is serving. But on days when I have had some awful fellow student ragging about how terrible the military is and how glad they are that 9/11 happened to teach our country a lesson I get down about the fact that my husband isn't here to give me a hug and encourage me. I have a brief moment of deep resentment for this life. Just like the author of this article. And like her, I let it out then move on. I could keep it inside, I suppose, but it is healthier to let it out and move on. I'm just glad to hear that I am not alone.

  19. Not Important | October 31, 2012 at 11:58 pm |

    I think she used the wrong words in the title, "I Don't Appreciate" It's kind of a spit in the face to what the military does for your family to help you stay a float while your husband/wife is deployed. It was a LOT worse in prior wars and I think it's rather disrespectful. It's okay to vent yes..but to say you do not appreciate is a no no.
    My husband is an Officer/Active in the military and yes we all do get frustrated but I just think you need to watch your words.

  20. My heart cries for the brave men and women who have died and die in military service. My heart cries for the injured. My heart cries for the countless many who never got a 'thank you' from the godless and heartless in the rank and file of the American civilian populace….I'm still angry at Jane Fonda…. But,my rant is a departure from the point of the article. I get the frustration of the writer and I sympathize. The programs are there to help the families but I'm sure will 'never be enough' and will never take the place of the missing person. To the writer I say welcome to this part of military life, you are not alone.

  21. What a lot of emoting over what was basicly a pretty innoculous article. All of us in uniform (male and female) that are married (or life partnered in the “new” military) stand before an altar AND raise our right hand and proceed to swear before our God two incompatible oaths. It has been only through the understanding and forgiveness of my wife that I have been able to sustain both relationships – because we all know how understanding Uncle Sam is of not fulfilling his oath is. The regular venting that my wife needs is a small price to pay in return for the support and continued love she provides to me, while I routinely place her, the kids and just about everything else just one step behind EVERYTHING that the service asks of me. I do not believe that any of those “vents” ever meant that she didn’t love America, that she didn’t love the service or that she didn’t – in the end stand for eveything that I believe in and support. So….everyone should just lighten up a bit and either join in the b****ing session like most career military or back off and find some other post to dig into – like maybe that wingnut Ted Turner’s story that suicide in the military is “good”.

  22. I am retired USAF (23 years). My last deployment was Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. I know one of the main things that allowed me to be more "comfortable' on that deployment (and all my previous deployments) was a spouse back home who was keeping things together.

    I also realize how hard that was on her! Not only was she establishing a household (we had just recently returned from an assignment overseas), but she was taking care of our young son; working full-time; AND since I was an Additional Duty First Sergeant, she was also being a lifeline of sanity for other unit spouses.

    I remember when I returned home, we were met by members of the media (they had been following my wife throughout the deployment) and the reporter almost immediately asked me how it felt to be a "hero". I looked pretty hard at the reporter for a couple of seconds, hugged my wife, and proclaimed loudly and succinctly, that SHE was the hero! I was doing my job – She was going the extra mile!

    Please – VENT! You deserve it! It is WAY too easy for some to say you know what was coming and chose your path. I know you chose tha path and I also know that doesn't stop you from being human!

    Bless you and your family and Thank you and your husband for your service!

    – A retiree

  23. Reality Check | November 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm |

    As an American, an Air Force veteran, and military wife myself, I appreciate your husband's service and your sacrifice. As someone who has deployed during my tenure in the Air Force, I understand that deployments are frustrating. However, your husband volunteered to serve his country and you married him knowing that he might deploy. If you or your husband can't deal with it, then maybe he should separate. Think of it this way, your husband has a job and your family has been reaping many benefits not offered in the private sector. Maybe you should think about the millions of people out there who cannot find work, or the millions of people who are getting laid off from their jobs, or the people that have jobs but their benefits are eroding. I can guarantee you that you are better off than many, many Americans out there. Be grateful for the opportunity to serve. Stop whining…and may I suggest using your energy in a more positive sense (maybe offer support to other spouses whose husband's are deploying?) instead of writing this nonsensical blogs.

  24. Sailoroftheseas | November 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm |

    My only comment from my personal experience is my mind was at ease and I could clearly focus on my job when I knew my wife was strong, prepared, proud, and supportive of my deployments and my service. If my wife were to post an article like this it would weigh heavily on my mind through deployment. Not to mention all the replies. I don't think I could read them. Venting is ok but there are many other ways to do it. Showing that strong support for the service member and then confiding in friends or family might be better served.

  25. Civilian life can be worse.

  26. All too true!

  27. Eye on the sky | November 9, 2012 at 1:24 am |

    I learned to respect the military life as spouse for 8 years until the second deployment of my wife. I always knew that she would potentially deploy some day and I prepared my self for that moment. On her first deployment I took care of our 3 kids (ages 3, 5 & 7) on my own, she just to skype us once every two weeks and I thought it was normal; when she came back we welcomed her as a heroe, displaying our pride for her service. However, a couple weeks later I noted that there was something wrong with her, she just to avoid us and spent hours and hours locked in our room, in her computer, claiming she was re-adapting to our family again. Awful truth is that what was really happening is that she turned into a military slut, having encounters with more that one military member, at least one in Afghanistan and more here in Texas. To the point where she completely turned her back on my kids and myself. She manipulated her CO to be sent back to Afghanistan, and they sent her. Little by little I put together all of the evidence of her betrayal and some more misconduct with other military members, turned it to the military authorities and struggle during that second deployment with not just all of this on my head but also financially due to she refused to set up an allotment for my family. All of this happened on military properties, military time and The final response from the Navy was: " We have nothing against her" after several months of frustration, not receiving a single call from my wife to my kids. I still believe that not all of you who serve have the same low values although statistics don't help that much on your favor. It is not just her low values what gives me all of this frustration but the fact that all of the above is penalized under military law and NO ONE wants to take responsibility and enforce their own regulations. Of course I did not sign up for this, neither my kids.

  28. ELDERLYREPTILE | November 18, 2012 at 11:42 pm |

    Military spouses today have no idea how bad things were for families during the Vietnam War. There
    was NO SUPPORT SYSTEM to speak of for military families within the armed forces (except those set up by wives of men in a given uni)t. If there was it was a well kept secret. In times of dire need a family would be directed to the Red Cross. Right up to Vietnam notifications of death, POW or wounded spouses was made by WESTERN UNION telegram! If you get a chance read a book written by a (former) batallion commander and a news reporter about the 1st Cav Div's first major battle in Vietnam in Nov 1965. WE WERE SOLDIERS ONCE AND YOUNG was co-written by LTG Harold Moore and Mr. Joseph Galloway. I only mention THIS because then LTC Moore's wife added a very enlightening part, near the begining, about military families and the support chain the wives created themselves. No doubt this was an exception but heartwarming none the less. I served three years in Vietnam, off and on, from Dec 1967 to Dec 1971.

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