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New to the Army... and dealing with his family.

Haha! That's funny! He said he's one of the older ones, but not the oldest. He's quiet, and well behaved so I hope that sets him apart from the younger guys and the one's who don't take it all seriously! 

Hyacinths: Your MIL sounds terrible!! Thank you so much for the advice, I feel prepared to say something if I need to now instead of just shutting down.  My husband also is a late(r) recruit, he'll be 25 this year but also has a degree.  I've tried to explain it like it's a typical job. With responsibility, job description, benefits and salary. But with the Military, there is job security and you learn so much more than you would at a typical job.  I know I'm excited and so is he, I will just keep my distance from now on.  Our friends and family are so supportive, if his family doesn't want to be on board then that's fine, just a little disappointing I guess. Thanks again! 

Barbara: It's really sad to me as well. He (to me) will be the most accomplished person out of his family, but in their eyes the Military is dumb.  You are right! He is part of the select few that choose this life.  And I will continue to support him through it all!  As of now just his mom is going to his graduation and possibly his step-dad.  I don't know if his sisters or thier families will be attending. He will have my whole family and me there on his side! I can not WAIT to see him gradutate! I think I will be proud enough for all of us! (; Thank you for your kind words and good for you with your military family! That is so impressive and shows what a great option the Military can be for some families! 

 

I am a brand new army wife, married just under 3months. My hubby just left for basic 3ish weeks ago and I'm doing ok! It definitely sucked at first, but it's better than I expected... I LIVE for the mail! I love getting, sending, and writing to my soldier! We had almost 6 months to prepare for him to leave, so I studied hard, learning as much as I can about what we were about to get in to. I am so excited for this experience and I love all of the MilWife love I've been recieving! The only issue that I've been really facing lately is lack of support and understanding...

I currently live at home with my parents, my mom and dad are really trying to help I think, but I feel like they don't fully understand how this is for me. I have my good days and bad, like every SO, but my bad days I pretty much feel like I'm on my own.  They really do try, but they seem to belittle the situation we're facing right now (being newlywed and apart). But honestly, I can handle that. The issue (surprise, surprise) is my in-laws... They are just SOOO unsupportive. They have always not been the easiest to get along with, but lately it feels like they are more of a handful.  It all started around this past xmas. They practically held a vigil for him! Complete with sad music and sobbing.  My DH and I were just sitting there awkwardly. We couldn't understand what all the sadness was about! We were getting married in about 3 weeks and joining the military is a great thing in our eyes! (Now, I'm not trying to be insensitive here, that is not my intention. My hubby is the only boy of 3 kids and the youngest. He has no father, due to death 20+ years ago. So him leaving is a big deal... ) After the wedding, it seemed to be going ok, except for a few backhanded comments about him joining. They threw him a going away party that was very nice.  But as soon as he left, it seems like my one and only purpose at family functions is to console his family and make them more at ease with him being at BCT.  

Now, I honestly don’t mind filling them in on how he’s doing because I get the majority of the letters and phone calls.  But they act like the Army is a death sentence and I just don’t know how to respond. I try to be as upbeat and excited about it as I can around them, but I feel like it isn’t enough. And their comments come at the WORST possible times too. Like I said, I’m doing ok, but like anyone else I miss him A LOT.  I remember how the time is going quickly, and think of our future together, but I still feel a little sad sometimes. Last night I had a late bridal shower, and was thinking about how I wished I could tell him everything we got, and had just finished telling the whole group of his mom’s friends how extremely proud I was of him and that he was SO smart and that he scored very high on his ASVAB.  When his mom announced loudly that “he must not be that smart for joining the Army in the first place.” So here is my problem, I don’t ever know how to react. I sat there blushing, my mom said I looked like I was going to cry. And one of the women had just finished saying how  her husband was a POW in Vietnam.  I couldn’t help but think of what a slap in the face it was to her and her husband.  It seems like she just soaks up the empathy from others when they say “ oh, you poor thing having your baby gone and in such DANGER” but she is constantly bashing the army, military families etc.

Would someone PLEASE help me with this, I just don’t know how to do this for 5 and half more months. I get sick being around his family… they make me feel like crap with their disapproval. Thank you all so much! 

25? LOL, he's just a pup. My husband went to basic training at 39, almost 40! He turned 40 at AIT. He and several 40ish guys dubbed themselves The Council of Elders. :)

My husband's family didn't react at all well to his enlistment either. His dad would be OK about it, I think...but his mom has been a handful. At first she refused to even acknowledge that he was in the Army--to the extent that she would actually turn her head away and refuse to look at anything camo-patterned in the room. And she would immediately change the subject if he tried to talk about the military. Really, she did everything but stick her fingers in her ears when we talked!

I was patient at first. I can understand that it came as a shock--my husband was an old recruit, barely under the Army age limit, so his parents definitely didn't see this coming. And of course any parent is going to worry about their child joining the military in wartime. It's natural to have fears.

But them refusing to be supportive really burned me. I think they sent my husband ONE brief not the entire time he was at basic training, and they didn't come to his graduation. And his mom continued to bemoan how it's "a waste of his education and talents." She kept making snide remarks about how he must be the only one in his unit with a college degree (no, he isn't). It was just so petty and snobbish, I completely lost patience and started to lay down the line with her.

The thing is, you can't control how your MIL acts. Only how you react. And it is entirely appropriate for you to set boundaries with her. You can say things like:

  • "MIL, I understand that you aren't thrilled about X being in the military. But we're happy with this decision and committed to it, and we need you to respect that. Please stop criticizing his chosen career in front of me." If she gets on that topic again, you can be firmer: "MIL, I told you how I felt about this subject. We're not talking about this anymore."
  • "I know it's scary to think about the things that can happen in wartime. But you can make yourself crazy with what-ifs...and frankly, it's not good or healthy for us to dwell on those things all the time. How about we channel that energy into something positive, like putting together a care package for him?"

Good luck. I haven't found the magic answer to this situation either, but the more I refuse--calmly, rationally--to participate in her overwrought behavior, the less often she tries to stage those kinds of scenes.

I am sorry you having to deal with unsupportive inlaws. There are some very smart people in the Army and you'd be surprised at how many college graduates join the military and choose to go the Enlisted route versus Officer (my youngest daughter is one of them).

I would just continue to be supportive of your husband and ignore them. It's obvious they don't have a clue about military life. It always saddens me when I hear parents that don't support they childs desire to serve in the Armed Forces. I am an Army Wife and all three of my kids serve - one Marine and two Army. My huband and I have only been married for 5 years, so them joining had nothing to do with him.

Just remember, less than 1% of the population chooses to serve. That in itself is something to be proud of. Every one of our service members willingly signed their names on the dotted line. Not many parents can say their kid is in that 1%.

Are they planning on going to his graduation? If so, I'll be they change their tune then!

 
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