Why Am I Such A Terrible Military Wife?


I had worked for years with the military as a contractor before I met and dated my husband. After several deployments as “just the girlfriend,” I was so excited to get the upgrade to wife status.

I wanted the ugly beige ID card. The Facebook groups and events. The noted support available to all military spouses. I was ready, and totally excited to be admitted to that elusive, exclusive group.

Little did I know that I would be so horribly terrible at it. I volunteered at the spouses club for my husband’s unit. I joined the officers’ spouses club on base.  I was there. I was ready.

And I was such an outcast.

Being relatively “old” for a new spouse, I was depressed that my social security number was no longer valid and my career didn’t mean much. I didn’t have a ton in common with my new support system – my broken uterus (no kids), veganisim (so many pinterest recipes I hadn’t tried but looked delicious) and years of not owning a TV left many conversations in awkward silence.

Then I found out my cookie baking skills were way subpar.  My finely developed sarcasm and somewhat off color sense of humor (so valued by the active duty military!) got me only a polite smile and a quick exit from the conversation.

These other military spouses were all married to guys that I work with. I had just assumed that if I got along so famously with their husbands, I would automatically hit it off with the wives they had talked about so warmly. Again, I was wrong.

Please don’t understand me. I met some amazing women who I hit it off with.  I met many more who were interesting and hilarious. I can do my commanders wife duty and make the child birth lasagna with the best of them, bring coffee to the holiday and late shifts, and my cookies are delicious, if lacking is ascetic quality. I try my best to volunteer when I can, but still feel like a total failure in the spouse department.

But I’m learning its OKAY.

I’ve given myself a pass to be bad at it. I have years to learn how to do this. I will likely never be the next president of any spouses club, but then again I wasn’t voted prom queen either. However, I still am great friends with those girls from high school, and the few friends I’ve made here I know will be friends for life.

I know may not be a great military spouse, but I’m a damn good friend. And we all need plenty of those.

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25 Comments on "Why Am I Such A Terrible Military Wife?"

  1. I am an older spouse myself, with a finely tuned sense of sarcasm that I'm very proud of :) I am not the best baker either, and my baby makin' days are long behind me. We'd get along famously! I'm learning it's okay to not fit 'the mold' either. After nearly 7 years of active duty (we came to it later in our lives – husband enlisted as a PFC 7 years ago at the age of 32; I was 37 at the time) I'm finding myself more and more comfortable in my older skin. You're right, it IS okay. :)

  2. Eh this turned quickly into "im not one of them and I'm so different" pretty quick. I mean we've all been there at one point but I feel like your using your "i'm one of the guys" mentality a little too much. I honestly prob would have been turned off to. Also why bring up baking? Youre talking in mainly stereotypes. I can't bake I'm such a terrible housewife lol right guys? And honestly on paper you and I should be friends I'm child free, an older spouse for lower enlisted, and am addicted to pinterest but this whole post turned me completely off.

  3. My husband is in the Army, joined later in life also. I myself am 10 years older than he, no more babies for me either. My only great baking I do is my banana bread and brownies. I do very little for the FRG or with them, because they are all much younger than I. They have young kids and they talk PTA and play dates. By reading this, I think it would be great do have a group of wives just my age, or that have grown kids. More my speed. But then thats unfair to the other wives I guess. I, unfortunately have tried to be apart of the FRG only to get slapped aside by all the wives. I have tried to make friends only to find out ( because I dont drive) I am not needed in their circle. I too have come to realize its ok. I support my husband in all he needs and does.

  4. That's how I feel. I never really fit in because for one, I worked at most of the posts we've been at and didn't have time to do the full time volunteer thing. But when I didn't work, I tried to do as much as I can, but that was never enough. Partly because since I wasn't around much, I didn't get into the little cliques. So I grin and bear my volunteer times and move on. And I get too shy to speak up and make friends, so the friends that I do make, are actually quite special to me, because I know they actually took the time to get to know me.

  5. When you focus more on what you don't have in common with others rather than what you do have in common, you are contributing to the sense of not fitting in. I am 45 and no, I am not BFFs with the 20 somethings in my husband's unit. I have participated in unit events and Family Readiness events and enjoy seeing the women that I have gotten to know through the mutual participation in the Family Readiness program. I don't think anyone fits a specific mold. Like I said, I am 45 and we started a family later in life so while many in my age group have kids who are now adults, I have a 15 yr. old and a 11 yr. old. So even in my age group there are noticeable differences, but I do enjoy hearing how they have dealt with things that I am now dealing with. Also, we have other things in common that do not revolve around kids. No one has been everywhere and done everything, including me, and there are many opportunities to learn more from the spouses we interact with, even the younger ones.

  6. It can be hard to fit in sometimes. I know with me, it takes others a long time to really "get me". With the military lifestyle, you don't have that much time. They are your support in a place where you really know no one. Stay positive. I understand what you mean.

  7. Is fitting in the measure of a good military spouse? I tend to believe the road less traveled is more fun. Besides if we were all alike that would be boring. Whether or not you fit in, if you are supporting your service member and taking care of yourself and your family, then you are doing great.
    The military spouse culture has broadened a lot from where it used to be. It's more ok to have a career. It's more ok to be different. When you encounter people who don't think it's ok to be different, whether they are military or not, remember it's an opportunity to let your light shine and open the path for those that follow in your footsteps. That has value.

  8. from the pix, it looks like reason might be too many chocolate chips cookies

  9. "Upgrade to wife status…"!! SIGH…upgrade…how about being married!! When we as human beings treat ourselves as machines instead of human beings, then we loose the direction of who we are as human beings!! Sad!!

  10. My wife spent 22 years in the USAF with me and didnt even think about joining the spouses group. She was a full time RN and went on teh base only to go to the commissary or BX. She attended formal functions with me and knew a couple of close friends wives who were also professionals in their careers. Spouses groups are not all they are cracked up to be.

    Retired MSgt…

  11. This person is a whiny, self absorbed, partner for her husband's career. Not only in the services are wifely skills important.

    • Wow, unless you know the author personally, you are pretty quick to judge her!

    • husbandly skills are also important. When are we going to hear about them? After all, when my partner retires, he will be the trailing spouse to my high powered career.

  12. All we older military brides need to connect. LOL. There should be a club for that. I know we're all out there but maybe in smaller numbers and more spread out. It's hard to find each other. This is why my handle is "MidLife Navy Wife" because I came to the game later than most. I love reading that others like me do exist and that you are making your way in your own unique ways.

  13. WOW… when this thread originally posted I was a little blown away by the article/topic. Now, I'm just irritated! Yesterday a comment was posted by E3wife, which has disappeared. Why ? The comment was free from slander, personal attacks, threats and discrimination… her comment did however call-out the article for what it is.

    The individual posting the original thread is a troller, if this is not the case then she would not have involved rank… the "older spouse" is among all ranks; the feeling of not fitting-in walks among all ranks. If you put the ethnocentric thoughts aside and take a lead by stepping over the imaginary segregation line – friends with similar interest just might cross your path.

    Stop crying and being snobby… you just might find your rubbing elbows with a spouse of an enlisted soldier that is neuropsychologist.

  14. sabrinacking | February 26, 2013 at 2:15 pm |

    I am going to agree some with the above from Crystal and add…its all cyclical. At some posts I have been what you appear to define as a "great" spouse. At others I have been what you define as a "terrible" spouse. For me much of it has depended on whether or not I could find gainful employment at the duty station dejure. (A whole other topic). And like you, when I worked as a contractor on post, I often felt I wasn't jiving with spouses in the unit.
    I also think two things really make military spouse life quirky to say the least as we get older regardless of rank…
    1) all the military programs, atleast in the Army, are geared for new spouses. Most FRGs gear every meeting like a briefing of the same ACS info I could quote blind folded, on my third Corona….in fact, I probably taught the course a time or five at one installation or another. Similarly, the marriage retreats also seem designed for people just married…not to have you guessing my age, but I have been married almost two decades, to my high school sweetheart…if we didnt know basic communication principles…I doubt we'd still be married.

  15. sabrinacking | February 26, 2013 at 2:16 pm |

    2) when we get older, there are less easy ways to meet people. My kids are 12 and 17…I am not going to a Mommy and Me Meet-Up. I have a Masters degree, you're not likely to find me in MIcrosoft suite classes at the on post campus or local community college.
    Finally, my experience has been you just don't find most senior NCOs wives still attending much of anything. If we are lucky we are finally starting or furthering our own careers, right now i spend my days bashing my head against the wall since I can not find any employment near Ft Drum, NY…or we are so burnt out from a life of military community service that the last thing we want to do is be around younger wives…I am absolutely guilty of that.
    Add all that together, and I find being a "senior" or "old" wife quite isolating actually…so hopefully that makes you feel better original nameless poster ;)

  16. SusanneLin | July 22, 2013 at 10:43 pm |

    Try being 52 with a first deployment and no help either by unit, family, ombudsman and friends in NYC — a town that is so far from a military mentality it's pathetic.

  17. Introduce healthy eating to military wives? Hahahahaha thanks I needed a laugh today.

  18. Going to college or not I think it's that women drop what they've been for all their single lives and become just a wife. I've seen professional women drop it all but that's not good if you're also dropping your look, your thoughts, your whole self. The women look at you if you spend your time doing what you want to do instead of catering to your family and husband 24/7.

  19. that's funny huh? you're a snob if you eat "healthy"

  20. sabrinacking | February 26, 2013 at 2:25 pm |

    I think that is a valid point. Atleast in the Army, regardless of rank…and perhaps more so actually the more rank achieved..it is still a 1950s world. I felt very discouraged and shunned for having a career when we were younger, and I felt even more so for going to grad school. I actually had several service members (male) in my grad cohort who said outloud "but your job is supporting your husband's career, not getting your own career" (yes it was 2010-2012, not 1910-1912).
    The other day Sarah Smiley had an article on geo-baching being the new military way. I had to ponder if it is so much more widely accepted in the Navy. My experience was, last year I stayed at Ft Lewis to finish the last 7 months of grad school while my husband came here to Drum. He heard ad nauseum, and I continue to hear to this day since I got here that I was selfish for doing so. That my place was with my husband.

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