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Spoonfed Wives or Suck It Up Climbers? You Decide

When it comes to today’s military spouses, where do you stand on the Suck It Up/Spoonfed Spouse Staircase?

As part of the blog series on their new free ebook, Everyone Serves, the folks from Blue Star Families are wondering about what kind of spouses we have created in this generation of the military.

On one end of the spectrum are the whiny, entitled spouses who don’t seem to realize that they married someone in the M-I-L-I-T-A-R-Y. They need lots of caregiving and encouragement. Sometimes they even seem totally outraged by the idea that lots of moves and deployments are part of the job.

On the other end of the spectrum are those tough-as-nails Suck It Up Spouses. These chicks can do anything and expect you to do the same. They don’t need no stinkin’ FRGs or FROs.

So which is it, are we weak or strong? Helpless or competent? Shameful or admirable?

Geez, this is a hard question. Because on SpouseBuzz.com, we see all kinds. For every benefits hound looking for her Military Wife Paycheck, I’ve got a dozen women giving birth alone, making the most of OCONUS living and chasing the local tornado in the middle of a move.

It is just wrong to think of an entire generation as only one thing. Instead I think we gotta realize that people are going up and down a staircase.

We all start at the same landing — that place where you are in love with someone in the military and you are convinced — convinced!! — that with your own set of uniquely awesome skills and positive thinking that the problems that upset other people will never happen to you.

So you take a step up on the Suck It Up Staircase. You are going to make this work!

Your servicemember deploys and you go to work everyday and Skype with the guy on weekends and send cake in a jar every chance you get.

You and your servicemember have got this, dammit. And you scramble up the Suck It Up Staircase like Rocky Balboa without the sweaty sweatsuit. Which is awesome.

Until a blizzard arrives during your very first PCS move. And you have a year-long wait for housing in a place where you will only live six months. And your servicemember came home from deployment with a hair trigger on his temper. And the interviewer stopped the interview when he heard you were a military spouse and thanked you for coming in.

Suddenly you are slipping down the Suck It Up staircase. Not because you are a loser. You are slipping because you don’t know what to do with these military-created problems.

So you take a step or two down the Spoonfed Staircase. What are you supposed to do now? Is there a program for this? This sure doesn’t seem fair or right or normal.  Is anyone else outraged at all?

The thing is, none of us are ever standing still on the Suck It Up staircase. Things happen every day that people up and down that level of need.

Sure, every now and then you find those people circling the lowest level of the staircase as if they born to live in darkness and plan to grow a tail.

But the majority of us keep trying to move up. We are all trying to be a little more competent in our lives.

When we criticize people for seeming whiny or entitled, doesn’t help. Criticisms are that hard shove on the shoulder that send you down another step.

Instead we need to see our fellow spouses as travelers on the same staircase. Everyone going up. Everyone stepping down. Everyone needing a little more compassion and inspiration than we offer them now.

Follow Blue Star Families on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and build a support network so you can keep your family and personal community strong throughout the duration of the entire deployment life cycle.

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About Jacey Eckhart

Jacey Eckhart is the Director of Spouse and Family Programs for Military.com. Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan?? Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times. Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom.