Military life. Sometimes it can seem like it’s a whole different world; acronyms, customs and traditions, a different uniform for each occasion, unexpected changes, and unique challenges. No matter how much many of us knew about the military prior to marriage, sometimes we get things wrong simply because we are not aware of how they are done. Our group of Military Spouse Contributors shared some of the mistakes they have made over the years. What would you add to this list?
Contributors: Cassandra Bratcher, Erin Whitehead, Joy Draper, Elizabeth Snell, Rachel Graven, MJ Boice, Morgan Slade, Lauren Mendel, Alicia Hinds Ward, Ashley Frisch, Stacy Huisman
35. Arriving somewhere late (or really early) because you got military time wrong…
34. Using “General Parking” because, well, it’s for everyone, right? No… it’s for someone who has earned the rank of General. Oops.
33. Using his social security instead of your own.
32. Forgetting your own social security number entirely.
31. Shopping at the commissary ON payday, before a holiday weekend.
30. Planning a vacation too far in advance.
29. Not purchasing travel insurance with a specific military clause in case of orders for said vacation!
29. Buying an oversized piece of furniture you are sure will fit wherever you move. Can we say “sectional sofa fail?”
27. Sharing troop movements or homecoming dates on social media… always remember OPSEC rules!
26. Expecting to find the perfect job in your field when you make your next PCS move.
24. Handing the guard at the gate your debit card, instead of your military ID.
23. Not discussing realistic communication expectations before deployment.
22. Failing to empty the trash cans before the movers come to pack you out…then being surprised by that smell two months later.
21. Sending chocolates to the sandbox. Liquid disaster in a box!
20. Believing that first homecoming date will stick! Or the second, third…
19. Putting your own hopes and dreams behind that back burner!
18. Sending heavily perfumed letters in the same box as homemade cookies!
17. Not attending pre-deployment briefs, then wondering why the information you have from the grapevine doesn’t seem to add up.
15. Not realizing how important the base speed limits are. Seriously, I was only 3 miles over the limit!
14. Not carefully checking your belongings for damages both before AND after the movers handle them.
12. Forgetting that not all military spouses are females and not all service members are men!
11. Not being familiar with base protocol, like stopping your car when the National Anthem is played.
10. Not getting the specific Power of Attorney documents you need before a deployment. A general POA does not always work in every situation.
9. Returning a salute to the guard at the gate when they accidentally salute you first.
8. Thinking you have to be strong, and that means you can’t ask for help. Even superheroes have sidekicks!
7. Deciding before a PCS move that you will hate the next duty station.
6. Not taking advantage of military discounts or free services offered to military families. A little bit of research, or simply asking if a business offers a discount, can yield lots of savings.
4. Washing your delicates with uniforms that have velcro!
3. Pay Day Loans. Enough said.
2. Not tipping the baggers at the commissary, simply because you didn’t know it is customary.
1. Thinking you have it all figured out. It’s okay to learn as you go… we have all been there!
What military mistakes would you add to this list from your own experiences?