Readers Respond to Army Wife Pay Column

Ms. Vicki

Dear Readers,

“Missing Oklahoma” wrote to me recently about how hard it was for her to live on her husband’s Army pay. She complained that she couldn’t afford hair care and wondered where she could get her Army wife stipend.

Everyone seemed to have an opinion about this one. On Facebook and SpouseBuzz, people wondered if the letter were a hoax (it was not). Active-duty members discussed the letter at weekend barbecues. Most importantly, I heard from our readers.

Many readers were appalled by the condescending attitude expressed by Missing Oklahoma. "Livid Canadian White Girl" was furious. "Achieving what I consider to be a bare minimum in education does not entitle her to this ridiculous, smug sense of self-importance. And nothing, nothing at all, is enough to give her the right to so blatantly consider everyone around her to be beneath her. How dare she!? What does she know about these people? I have a life, I have hopes, I have dreams, I have accomplishments, I have aspirations, and I have interests that do not revolve around my husband, the flag, and his career.”

Many readers who also came from privileged backgrounds mentioned that they had a bit of trouble adjusting to military pay.

Yvonne, a 24-year-old college grad, could sympathize with learning to live without shopping at Saks, but thought that Missing Oklahoma was being a brat. “Since I got married at 21 and chose to be independent, I do not buy expensive clothes and purses anymore. Instead, I focus on paying off my student loans and paying off our bills and credit cards on time. If Miss Oklahoma has a hard time finding a job, she should lower her standards because not everyone gets rich right out of college (especially if she's not working).”

Although some readers thought that Missing Oklahoma’s letter couldn’t be true, a few wrote in to say they were not at all surprised.

Semper Gumby wrote: “I am a Navy wife and have heard so many newbie wives ask similar questions and complain about money. Most do step up to the plate and become good wives; others do the best thing and walk away. This young lady is a spoiled brat, and it is her parents’ fault. Mommy and Daddy now need to tell her that she married this man because she loves him, not because of what he can offer her. 

"Appalled in Alabama" was also concerned for the soldier. “Where is the support for her poor husband? He is responsible for the lives of his soldiers and for carrying out missions far more important than his wife's hairdo. He does not need the extra stress caused by her whining and selfishness. However, I must ask -- didn't he see this side of her before the wedding? I know love is blind. ... But, really?”

Finally, I had a few readers who thought I had been a little rough on the young woman. "Miss Marine Wife Who?" wrote: “I found your response to the advice "Where is my Army Pay" somewhat harsh to a girl who is completely out of her element and looking for a shoulder to cry on. ... I can relate to this girl very much. Some of her thoughts were my thoughts. Yes, I will agree with you, it seems like she was a little naive in her way of thinking. The fact that she was so sheltered at home made it harder for her to be in the real world. So you are right in telling her that she needs to pick a side and stick to it. However, calling her a spoiled little daddy's girl and saying she is acting like she is above "us" isn't the Ms. Vicki I know and love.”

I am always trying to give the best advice possible to military families. I count on you readers to keep me on the straight and narrow. So thank you all for your responses.

Sincerely, Ms. Vicki

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