Hi, my name is Flora and I'm a military wife.
I cringed when I typed the title cause military wife sounds so… dramatic. But let’s call a spade a spade and so I am, a military wife for fifteen months and counting.
You know all those SAF advertisements you see?
Very hero right?
What they don’t show you is…
If you ask me, the partners (both wives and girlfriends) of these military men are unsung heroes okay.
And here’s why:
(I might be speaking only for myself cause I’m super duper insanely sticky and I’m terribly resistant to change. I have a few friends who are in the same position as me and they seem to be taking it a lot better so maybe I’m just weaker lah. Whatever)
1) You can’t plan for ANYTHING
I’m a planner - I plan what I want to wear tomorrow, what I want to eat this weekend, what I want to do for Christmas and I can safely say most women are like that.
Throw in a military partner and be prepared to see your perfectly planned life go up in flames.
No such thing as weekend plans, because he might just have to go back to work SUDDENLY. Waiting for your husband to pick you up from work? Be prepared to receive a call at 5:59 pm informing you Sorry baby, I’m stuck in squadron. That is IF he even calls. Most of the time when I go to bed at 11pm, he’s still at work and I don’t know when or if he will even come home. And in the mornings, he’s either still sound asleep when I leave for the office or has already left the house at 6am when I was asleep. The irony is that we get to talk more when he’s deployed overseas - I’m lucky if I even get to see him 3 hours a week when he’s here in Singapore.
Be prepared to spend all your time calling your travel agent and changing your holiday plans again, and again. We had planned a Middle Eastern vacation for December, which was changed to January cause of his deployment and then yesterday when I was happily doing my own thing, I received a call.. informing me that he is scheduled for a course that lasts till April, so I had to change the tickets again for May. And get roasted by the insane Dubai sun in the midst of summer, thanks ah.
2) You spend your birthdays and anniversaries alone
The boy departs again on September 10th… 2 weeks before my birthday and 3 weeks before his. Unlike most LDRs where you can visit/ take leave to spend important occasions together, for most of us, a deployment is a deployment. Try asking if you can visit because “it’s your birthday” when he’s in the middle of some godforsaken jungle.
I was planning a surprise birthday party for him (now not so surprise anymore) which had to be cancelled because you guessed it, he’s going to be away.
I’ve been lucky I guess cause so far it’s just limited to birthdays and anniversaries… I’ve heard of women who had to GIVE BIRTH alone wtf cause their husbands were halfway around the globe.
3) Career path… what career?
I know of women who had to decide between giving up a career and uprooting themselves to another country with their husbands OR staying put and not seeing each other for 1 to 2 years.
And with the military, it’s not like they are going to fancy pansy cities like NYC or London (military camps are usually at super ulu places), so it’s not as simple as “I’ll find another job in Wall Street.” You have to be prepared to plan your career around being transient, knowing that you won’t stay anywhere long.
I guess I have it a little luckier cause my work’s pretty flexible. But hello, it’s not like I can be managing photoshoots when I’m in the middle of the Sahara ok?
Most wives I know end up being homemakers and SAHMs… and the idea of housework and/or kids sounds like an absolute nightmare to me.
4) No PDA
And I’m not even referring to a full-blown wet sloppy kiss with tongue action and all that kinda PDA.
I remember years ago when I visited the boy on detachment and when he was sending me off, he said “Ok I can’t kiss you goodbye cause I’m in uniform.” It doesn’t matter because I didn’t want him to anyway. It’s just SO WEIRD on every count… like I’m letting the country down or something wtf.
These days when he picks me up from work in his uniform and we go out for dinner, I find myself automatically walking a few steps away/ behind him because I scared later kena Stomp-ed wtf. “RSAF OFFICER SEEN HOLDING HANDS IN UNIFORM”
And I just googled, it isn’t just me being psycho paranoid. It says you links arms, but not hands, because intertwined fingers aren’t authorised while in uniform.
5) Your life is always going to be uncertain
A fellow military wife once told me, “The nature of their job is such that you won’t know if they are REALLY going away until they have boarded that damn plane.”
So bloody true.
I was first told that the boy will be deployed again in November so I made plans to clear my work schedule so that I can go visit. Then I was told he wasn’t going anymore and so I had to rework my schedule again… and THEN he says he’s going AGAIN.
This doesn’t just affect me but it also affects everyone else in my life… Planning a girly getaway? "Hey babes, sorry ah, November he’s back in town so can we go Hong Kong in October instead?"
Yeah you say I can go ahead and plan my life without his schedule in mind.. let’s see when you’re in MY position and your husband is going to be in town for that ONE WEEK ONLY are you going to spend it in Hong Kong with your girlfriends or not lah.
But you know what? Despite all the anguish, lost opportunities (I recently had to forgo a chance to be on JAPAN TV!!! T_T), wasted time (oh how many times have I listened to SIA’s “Sorry to keep you waiting, your call is important to us”), money (you think changing flights very cheap is it?) and heartache (all those emotional farewells and keeping my phone glued to my hand 24-7).. If I could choose again, I’d still marry him.
Except that he says he’ll choose Jessica Alba instead FML.
Edited 12 hours later to add some afterthought, please read!