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You Don't Have to Be a Hippie - The Style Manual for Military Spouses

Lesson number one:  Don't ask airforcewife for style advice - unless you like scarves, beads, flowing skirts, jeans with green bling,  and flowers in your hair.  Or listening to the Cranberries.  But be forewarned, if you listen to the Cranberries, you'll soon feel an incredible urge to wear scarves, beads, and wool fisherman sweaters (I have three).

Lesson number two: You will not survive your time as a military spouse unless you find your style and your niche.  Next to loving your spouse with all your heart despite the situations you find yourself in, that is the most important lesson you'll ever learn during your military sojourn. 

Well, the lesson about "General Officer Parking" meaning 07 and up and not people who are "generally officers" is a big one, too.  And we should all probably concede that not even thinking about the commissary for the three days around payday is a major life-lesson.  But I digress.

Let me be a little more specific, here.  The last thing I want is to walk into a military spouse meeting and see a Stepford Wives (and husbands) convention.  Having your own style and niche does not mean emulating June Cleaver in all things, unless you are so inclined.  I have to admit, I lean more toward the Sharon Osborne end of the spectrum than the Carol Brady range.  And Carol Brady had a housekeeper!

But it is too easy to focus so much on just getting through each day, with all the stresses that a military life interjects into daily living, and to gradually drop all those things which make us unique personalities.  When your spouse is deployed, you've got young children running amok (and in my house running amok usually involves some form of nudity), and your dog is having separation anxiety; it's very easy for a week to pass with Sunday bringing the revelation - "Oh my goodness!  I haven't showered in two days and I've been wearing the same pair of sweats for six!"  Suddenly you smell what everyone else would be able to smell if you left the house.  And that's another thing - when you actually forget what season it is (if you live in Texas this does not apply - you have to actually HAVE seasons in order to forget which one it is) and have to check the window, it's time to step back and find that style you threw off. 

It's probably under the diaper bag - that's where mine usually is.  But there's also a possibility it might be in the fridge where you left your cell phone that one time.  There's also a very good chance it's wherever you left your keys.

My daughters' Brownie leader has her own style.  It involves jeans, t-shirts, and sweatpants.  The woman has four children!  She's entitled to her comfort!  However, style isn't always about matching every single item you wear.  It's not about having boucle suits or doing housework in high heels.  It's about showing who YOU are.  And if you are a jeans and t-shirts kind of person, by all means - dress away!  But don't make it a regular habit to throw on the pair you found under the dog's bed (unless they pass the sniff test, or if you're running late for an appointment at the med clinic - God knows if you miss it you'll be waiting a month and a half for a reschedule).  And add those pieces of flair which make your personality stand out. 

Like snarky sayings, for instance.  I love those shirts.  I'm not generally a t-shirt wearer, but I have a great one for off days that shows a Ziggy-esque face in all the different emotions of deployment.  Or maybe you're really proud of your home state - Texas is not the only state with a slogan!

What it all comes down to is this - military spouses have incredible pressures.  With so much to get done, so little time, and so few family members close by to depend on it's easy to fall into a cycle of trying to be Super-Spouse.  We often get so wrapped up in trying to have our house clean, the perfect nutritious meals cooked, our children trucked to a thousand different activities so that they don't miss out on any aspect of childhood that we put ourselves on the back burner.  It's easy to say, "Oh, well I don't have the time right now, I'll fix my hair tomorrow."  And sometimes that's okay, we need down time - Jammies Days.

But if Jammies Days become to frequent, there's another problem at play.  We may have lost ourselves.  And we just can't be healthy like that.  That's when it is time to start looking - start with the diaper bag.

And in the meantime, if you need some help, I've got a few scarves you can borrow.  Some of them even match with sweats.

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