I think it’s pretty fair to say that military life — and all the kooky, crazy, little nuances that come with it — are somewhat far removed from, let’s say, a “normal” life.
It’s the fate of every new military spouse: When your family unit is set against a military backdrop, things you used to take for granted suddenly evaporate. You have to learn, rapidly, a slew of new customs, habits, and basically a new language to boot. It’s overwhelming, in the first fragile couple of years; it’s a truth universally acknowledged (in the military community, at least).
But the strangest thing of all is that once the dust has settled from the PCS, time has ticked on at the first duty station, and you start to build a little life in this once-alien community: It becomes your new normal.
Or, as any of your civilian friends might think from the outside looking in: You drank the Kool-Aid!
Here’s a few of the things I’ve found to be the most awkward to explain, and the hardest to relate, to my twenty-something civilian friends. Let us know in the comments what you’d add!
1. I Wife So Hard
Okay, first of all — when my husband used the term “brown baggers” in the beginning, I swore it was a joke. Either way, during his first school, he was one of maybe thirty of ’em. The sad thing was, he literally was a brown bagger — with lunches all packed and ready to go in Walmart’s finest paper lunchware, sealed with a kiss by yours truly.
For a few months, when my husband first began his military journey, I was unable to work at the time (and trust me, that was a huge blow to my self-confidence at first — but that’s another story). So I adjusted. I ran the household; it seemed only fair that I’d be the one to cook, clean, and so forth, because I wasn’t the one going out to work for fourteen hours plus. That was just how we did it.
Even now that I work full time, I do still take care of most of the “house stuff,” because of course his job is still immensely more time-consuming and difficult than my own. While I’m by no means suggesting this is how every family ought to take care of business, it’s how we’ve handled things, and yes — part of me giggles about this — I wife so hard.
It’s difficult for many of my civilian friends to imagine this domesticated life when, really, most of my pre-military peers are a) unmarried, and b) focusing on their careers. But hey! That’s where we are and we’re all equally happy doing what we do. I just make twice the amount of sandwiches.