Some things in life just drive you crazy. Like my 5th grade classmate who always poked me with his finger in search of answers to math homework. Or the guy who hogs the shared arm rest on the plane. Or, speaking of travel, the person who decided an airplane with recirculated air is the perfect place to eat a tuna sandwich. Seriously?
Military life has its own special brand of frustrations that just jab-jab-jab you into crazy land. Since we are people who like to celebrate and commiserate together, we asked you your top military pet peeves.
Here are your 10 military pet peeves that drive us all crazy:
1. Negativity. Since this is a blog post focused on what is essentially complaining about military life, let's just get irony out of the way first, OK?
Several of our Facebook fans told us that negativity and not supporting each other in the spouse community really drives them bonkers, including our friend Tara from the Army Wife Network. "I know we are stronger when we are united," Tara told us.
Emily Rogers agreed "Definitely the unsupportive spouse community. Every. Single. Time. a spouse tries to vent about her significant other missing a holiday or other special event, ten other spouses have to chime in about how they have it worse because THEIR spouses have missed 10 holidays in a row or the last seven anniversaries! The competition is so childish and ridiculous. Can't we just acknowledge that we ALL experience a great amount of loss because of the military and leave it at that?"
Yes, we can. It sucks. Cheers.
2. "If you don't like it, leave." I know some of you read my "it sucks" statement above and thought "well you volunteered to marry him" or "you knew what you were getting yourself into." Stop it. Just because we can all acknowledge that something does, in fact, suck rocks doesn't mean there aren't good things about it, too, that we actually like. But that's not what we're talking about today.
3. Weird Tricare. You live on a base but can't see any doctors there because they are full, so they have you drive across town to see a doctor at a different base. But you have a friend on that base driving to YOUR base because they assigned her there. What? Then there's the "care team" concept. I have discovered that this basically means you will never see the same doctor twice. Oh goody.
4. S-l-o-w reimbursements. The military is notorious for screwing up paying service members back for, well, anything. But the hot second you owe them money, they garnish your paycheck. How does that make sense?
5. The great debate over whether or not military spouses are civilians. By definition, as one of our fans pointed out, a civilian is simply someone who is not in the armed forces. But the reality is that military spouses do fall somewhere in a grey area -- we are not in the armed forces BUT we are dependents to the armed forces and, I firmly believe, serve in a way as well.
6. The idea that if you choose to stay home with your kids, you're a leech. Just because you decide to stay home and, as reader Jennifer Echevarria put it, give your kids "at least a little stability" doesn't mean you're stupid or using your service member just for his paycheck. If just means that you decided what was the most important thing for you right now. People should really throw this attitude out the window.
7. Rank pulling. Like I recently wrote in the new book "Stories Around the Table," rank can be a tricky thing for spouses to navigate, especially when you're new to the military life. But the basic message is this: the only person rank looks good on is the service member. And while most spouses aren't guilty of blatantly making their spouse's rank a part of their every day conversation, it's easy to let it slide in there without even knowing it as a social status signal. So, take my advice, step outside of your comfort zone, and leave the rank at home.
8. Hurry up and wait. Holy wow does this ever drive us all bonkers. WE MUST GET READY TO DEPLOY oh wait, just kidding, we've been delayed three weeks. NO JUST KIDDING WE ARE LEAVING IN FOUR HOURS. Oh no, just kidding again! We are leaving tomorrow.
9. Thinking ManSpouses don't have a hard time, too. ManSpouse Louie Hernandez told us "they think just because I'm a guy that I don't go through the same emotions women do when my partner deploys and or is off to training. I'm an Army husband and go through [it], too." We can all have a little compassion, ya know?
10. The funky leave and pass system. If you are on leave over a four day weekend, you are charged for that time off, but everyone else who is not officially on leave gets those days as a freebie. Same thing with weekends. And while there is probably, MAYBE, logic somewhere behind this system, it still seems pretty fishy to me.