Wha? Not all Military Dads are The Great Santini? No……

We've often talked about how misconceptions among civilians regarding military life can be both funny and frustrating. This weekend, I found another example, although this time it came from someone who has had 20 years of exposure to military life, she's the mother of a soldier.

My girlfriend called me to say that her mother-in-law had flown in to spend some time with her and the kids after my friend's husband deployed. My friend has a son who is currently sporting one of those hairstyles that boys like these days. I have to say, I must be getting old because every time I see this hairstyle on a guy, I have to suppress the urge to whip out a barrette and pin back the hair hanging in their eyes. I don't mind long hair, I just like to see your eyes.

It seems the mother-in-law isn't too fond of this style, either. But for a different reason.

In fact, she told my friend she was a little surprised to see her grandson, the son of a career soldier, sporting such a "radical" hairstyle. My friend laughed and assured her MIL that, horror of horrors, her son is not required to get up at 05:30 and do PT, and occasionally, they even let him listen to pop music rather than military cadence. Heh…..

Joan recently wrote that some people are "surprised" to find that her nine year-old acts out on occasion because, you know, military parents are thought to produce perfectly disciplined children.

I can count on at least one hand the number of times I have had someone
tell me that, simply because our son is a "military child" and should
be very disciplined (or something along those lines).Uhhhh. hello?
Our son is a child and he's HUMAN, for cryin' out loud!

It just cracks me up that some people assume we live in this super-rigid environment where all military sons must have buzz cuts and stand at attention before dinner. Cracks me up……

About the Author


Andi is married to an active-duty soldier and is the founder and former editor of SpouseBUZZ.

She is the founder of the Annual MilBlog Conference. The MilBlog Conference is the premiere event of the year for military bloggers. President George W. Bush, U.S. Representative Adam Smith, GEN David Petraeus, LTG Mike Oates, LTG William Caldwell, RADM Mark Fox, MG Kevin Bergner, MG David Hogg and The Honorable Pete Geren have addressed previous conferences.

While living in Washington, DC, Andi was the Ambassador to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for Sew Much Comfort, a non-profit organization which makes and delivers, free of charge, special adaptive clothing for wounded service members. Andi has worked with several non-profits to help our wounded heroes and their families. She finds that work to be the most rewarding and meaningful of all.

Andi strives to find humor in the good, bad and ugly of life and is a firm believer that laughter has the ability to cure most ills.

  • Ann – AF spouse

    For years my son had his hair cut at the base barber. standard “little boy” haircut. At 15, I thought he could handle it on his own. Imagine my shock when I walked by and the kid was scalped! Some miscommunication about “you mean like Honor Guard?” I screamed at the barber “he’s a kid! Not a Recruit!
    Now at 20 he has has longer hair than ever, and the grandparents are in shock. I remind them, he’s not a recruit, and girls dig the long hair.

  • angela

    When someone ask why I keep my son’s hair so short I tell them I already have 2 girls I don’t need another one. I know my day is coming when I won’t have a say anymore so for now I want a little boy.

  • Chief had a crew cut when he was younger then, during the 70s, (Yeah we ARE that old!) he refused.. when I met him it was down to his shoulders. Our son had it long for a while, then the Army took care of it for a while! his wife is the best one to make sure it’s short now.
    Military kids are KIDS first, military later. we don’t breed Stepford kids!

  • airforcewife

    Right. All the same.
    They should see my 6 year old son’s hair. :) His mohawk is right sportin’ these days.

  • Amanda

    I’ll never forget my mothers first visit here. My brother in-law, brother, and husband are all in the military yet she’d never been anywhere near a military base. We live off base in an apartment complex and she must have asked me 200 times if she needed a military ID to get back on base when she ran to the local grocery store. All I could do was smile and say, “No Mom, we’re real people too, not everyone lives behind the gate.”
    Then of course were the comments about how radical all the children were at the grocery store and how shocked she was that military kids cry too! Like she was convinced that when she got there everyone would be shopping in cadence or something.

  • Right now, Little Man’s hair is in a style ala the surfers we hang out with at the beach. He’s all of 5 and the way his hair is right now, it makes him look like a *little* boy.
    There will be time enough for him to have short hair or long hair or whatever style he decides on when he gets older. For now, he likes it long-ish and slightly shaggy.
    I do too.

  • lor

    I don’t have kids yet, but I work in an alternative high school. Particularly during the teen years, people should think of military kids in a similar vein as PKs (preacher’s kids). They need to rebel! It’s part of growing up for all kids.