Last week my military id was confiscated while I was visiting the clinic. Yes, someone just took it and didn’t give it back. Yes, I knew it was expired. Yes, I was hoping nobody would notice. Yes, it was embarrassing when I was escorted into the clinic like a criminal. Yes, it was a big fat pain to take time off from work today to get a new one. And yes, I should have known better.
As I drove back to work with my shiny new id (with a much better photo than my last one), I thought about some other no-no’s I’ve seen firsthand as a military spouse. I’m not talking about unofficial rules like no public displays of affection while your man is in uniform or not letting your kids where his uniform for Halloween. I’m talking about the little tidbits I’ve picked up over the years through experience and observation.
Here are my…
Top 10 Things NOT To Do as a Military Spouse
10) DON’T let your military id expire (or your power of attorney or your vehicle decal or any other document that’s essential to military life).
9) DON’T trust your husband to properly answer the question, “What am I supposed to wear to fill in the blank event?” Call another spouse to confirm that you’re appropriately attired.
8) DON’T ever think you’re alone. If you’re not a social type who likes to attend command events and get involved in your husband’s community (hmmm, like someone I might know), read blogs, read books, find a handful of close friends. There are a ton of ways to remind yourself that what you’re feeling isn’t unusual.
7) DON’T wear an inappropriate dress to a military ball or your husband’s Christmas party or any other event that will likely have a photographer present. (This is especially important when combined with #6.)
6) DON’T get sloppy drunk at a military ball or your husband’s Christmas party or any other event that will likely have a photographer present. Similarly, don’t allow your husband to get sloppy drunk either. I actually once saw a fellow mil spouse tape her husband’s mouth shut because he was so drunk and obnoxious that she was scared of what else he might say. Sadly, when I think about this couple, that’s what I remember most. You don’t want to be remembered for your drunken conduct.
5) DON’T forget to check in on other spouses whose husbands are deployed. I was once the wife everyone forgot to call. It’s not a good feeling. On the flip side, DON’T forget to ask for help when you need it.
4) DON’T wear your husband’s rank. I haven’t run into this a lot, but I can tell you it isn’t pretty. You not only hurt a lot of feelings, but you look like an idiot and you risk making your husband look like an idiot too. Unless you are in the military yourself, you do not have a rank. So don’t act like you do.
3) DON’T trash talk any service member you’ve had a less than pleasant encounter with while you’re at your child’s playgroup/the base pool/the commissary/Bunco/basically anywhere that service member’s wife might also be attending. This is especially important if you live on base or in a small military community. And yes, I’ve been on the receiving end of this one too. (I chose not to tell the new mom at playgroup that I shared a bed with the person she was quite passionately complaining about.)
2) DON’T ignore advice from seasoned spouses. Whether it’s about deployments, PCS’ing, cool duty stations, the ins and outs of TRICARE, or military etiquette, they’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt. Almost everything I know about being a mil spouse I learned on Bunco nights with the girls.
1) DON’T let your title as a military spouse become your entire identity. It’s only a piece of who you are, not everything you are. Make sure you nurture all those other pieces of you.
What would you add to the list?