I saw this on the MilSpouse.com website and wanted to pass it along to you. It’s written by Sarah Smiley, Navy spouse.
Just like becoming a parent for the first time, there are some things people won’t tell you about life as a military family. This is partly because they want you to become a military wife (wouldn’t want to scare you off!), but also because often these things are so complicated and unique to military life, they are difficult to put into words. Here are a few:
1. Your children will randomly hug men and women in uniform.
To a child, everyone in a flight suit, camis, khakis, etc., is Daddy or Mommy. This can be very upsetting the first time it happens. You’re walking through the supermarket, assuming your child is trailing behind, when suddenly you hear someone say, “I’m sorry little fellow, did you think that I was your dad?” You look up and find your child clinging to the leg of a stranger in uniform.
My advice: Act calm. Don’t overreact. And whatever you do, don’t try to explain to passersby, “He’s not really her Daddy. I mean, I’m not even married to him. I mean, I don’t even know this person.”
2. Time will suddenly include a lot of zeros, and maybe even a few letter Os.
All your life, you thought 9:00 at night was just that: 9:00 p.m., time for “The Bachelor.” Now suddenly you catch yourself agreeing that it is “21 hundred.” Who knew there was a 21 o’clock? (Don’t say this to your spouse.) You might be thinking, “I never saw that on the clock!” Once you know that military time includes 24 hours, you begin to worry: How will I keep up? Will I have to learn how to tell time all over again? Answer: kind of.
A tip: After noon, add 12 to every hour and you get military time. 9 + 12 = 21.
Another tip: This one is for your spouse. No matter what you call it — zero-whatever — we nonmilitary types will still usually be late.
3. Holidays and special dates happen ahead of schedule.
If this is your first deployment, by the time you realize that it is almost your spouse’s birthday, your anniversary or Valentine’s Day, it is already too late to send a care package. For military mail (which has not, as far as I know, heard of “rain, sleet or snow”), you have to be at least one month ahead of special dates.
Insider’s note: Don’t be alarmed when your package still doesn’t arrive on time or if your spouse gets his birthday card on Easter and his Christmas presents in July. As long as the pictures you took for him don’t accidentally arrive in someone else’s mailbox, consider yourself lucky.
Shining Service Worldwide is a charitable organization that supports all women who are part of the military family. Our goal is successful re-integration back into civilian life.