Why I Don’t Want to be Like Our ‘Old School’ Sisters


“Old School” military spouses are kind of like unicorns: a lot of people want them to exist. Hollywood producers want them to exist so badly they created “Army Wives,” a ridiculous TV dramas based entirely on this fictional caricature. But old school military spouses, like unicorns, probably never existed and if they did, I am not so sure they should have.

Romanticizing the past is something that should be done very carefully. Usually the past was not better than today and usually progress is a wonderful thing, especially in our American military.

A recent SpouseBuzz post written under a pseudonym by a modern Army spouse titled 5 Things Military Spouses Could Learn From Their ‘Old School’ Sisters,” did just that: it romanticized the past, a past that often was not as we remember it. The post listed five things we “newer spouses” should “cultivate” from the military wives of long ago. They were: patience, appreciation, dignity, respect for and pride in your servicemember, and, finally, manners.

I am positive that the Army wife who wrote that post is an exceptional and strong woman, and it is obvious that she was not trying to return us to a time that sidelined and cared little for military wives and families.

I might even know this Army wife. And I am sure that at a game of Bunco I would get on with her fabulously. After all, she and I, (and my “old school sisters” for that matter), do actually have a lot of real things in common that have very little to do with the five superficial things she cited, and are about a million times more important. They are things born from endless years of war, from loss, from sacrifice, from loneliness, from injury, from damage, from constant moving, from isolation, from fear, and honor … real things.

So I respectfully take issue with her five superficial things that our old school sisters could teach us. Because to even suggest that our old school sisters were somehow more refined than us is like believing in a unicorn — it’s a myth.

Here they are, point by point.

What’s wrong with being like our “old school” sisters?

She said “patience:” I know many of you can’t fathom a life free of cell phones, Skype, email, Face Time, etc., but believe it or not, there WAS a time where our Old School Sisters relied on paper, ink and stamps exclusively. Sometimes it took months for letters to be exchanged and every word of those were read and re-read again, cherished and tucked away for future generations to read. We of the instant gratification generation demand daily communication. We are spoiled and impatient. A little patience goes a long way for the heart, mind and spirit- our Old School Sisters had it, and we should learn to cultivate it”

I say: We “newer” spouses have learned patience. We learned much of it growing up, just like anyone else, but a number of us really honed our patience skills during our own combat tours in Iraq — that’s right, our combat tours. In fact, this modern Army wife and prior servicemember can vividly recall a time when all she had was a dirty truck, pen and paper. I wrote many letters to my husband during the beginning of the war and spent weeks patiently attempting to park my platoon of dirty trucks and soldiers at any camp that was lucky enough to offer mail service. I would have loved to have email in 2003. Many of us new military spouses embrace new technology. And, yes, we may never pen another war letter — but so what? The printed out emails between a deployed soldier and their spouse, or reading a book to your 2-year-old over Skype are kinda the same thing, right? Maybe they are even better.

She said “appreciation.” Hearken back to the day where there were no FRGs, no Child Development Centers, no MWR facilities or activities- basically you had a house and that was it. And let’s not forget being notified by telegram of the death of a service member instead of in-person by a Casualty Notification team”

I say: Again with romanticizing a past that cared little for the sacrifices of military spouses — no thank you. It is not a good thing that my old school sister whose husband was fighting in Vietnam had nowhere to go for support when her car broke down and two of her three children got the stomach flu. I am proud of the advances our military has made in terms of caring for military families and servicemembers. It has made us a superior and stronger military. An Army base in 1965 is not somewhere I ever want to revisit, and we should fight hard to ensure that it never again becomes a reality. There was nothing romantic about it.

She said “dignity:” Old School Wives wore suits or dresses, hats, white gloves, and the dreaded stockings (not pantyhose — stockings) every day at some point. Be happy those standards have lessened, but let’s not take the lax dress requirements of modern times to the extreme. A ball isn’t a night club — it’s a formal military event which has ceremonial aspects to it. Don’t walk in looking like you’re looking for the nearest pole to swing on.”

I say: Hmmm, it seems to me that dignity is something one either has or does not. And it has little to do with being an old school military wife, or a 19-year-old military wife who wore a “club” dress to the ball. What a person wears rarely coincides with the amount of dignity in their soul. I am very sure that our old school sisters didn’t always wear dresses and stockings, in fact they probably wore jeans and shorts quite often … but no one ever saw them, as they rarely left the house. Again, the past is not somewhere  to which I am interested in returning. So I say to the new spouses: go ahead and pull your hair back, wear you’re running shorts and a smelly sports bra to the commissary and be thankful you’re allowed use the base gym.

She said “respect and pride in your service member:” This one gets people all kinds of riled up. I know spouses who think it’s their job to talk about how crappy the military is, how much they hate it, how much they are against the wars, etc. That’s fine and dandy. But do you really need to share that constantly with your fellow military spouses and, especially, your service member?”

I say: Should we complain to other military spouses or our  servicemember about how “crappy” the military is? Actually yes, I do feel that it is 100 percent OK to dissent and moan about a war that has lasted 10 years and has perhaps damaged your servicemember beyond repair. I also feel that it is absolutely 100 percent OK to do this on any military base, in front of any officer or NCO’s wife or husband, and especially with your servicemember. After all, who the hell else are you going to talk to about this stuff? The 99 percent of America who have no connection to this war? Give me a break, I say go for it. If you feel the military has given you or your servicemember a crappy deal, say so. If you feel that multiple year-long deployments are crazy, unsustainable and detrimental, say so. If you feel that it is wrong that your servicemember, who has not slept in 14 months, cannot get the appropriate mental care  she needs, than yell as loud as you can, and do so at the very next Bunco game you go to.

She said “manners:” This is the most simple, and the most abused by modern military spouses. If you get an invitation, respond. Respond “yes” or “no.” How hard is that? Apparently, extremely, since most people I know at some point either complain that people didn’t RSVP, or confess they themselves didn’t RSVP”. 

I say: Much like the author’s observations on “dignity,” I feel that people are either polite or they are not. I am pretty sure that in 1945 plenty of our old school sisters were downright mean, just like many spouses are today. In fact, a few modern military wives who enjoy glamorizing this myth of the polite and refined  old school sisters recently lacked a whole bunch of “manners” when they attempted to bar the wife of a senior decorated female Army officer serving on Fort Brag from their local Officer Spouse’s Club because she was gay. Now if that doesn’t qualify as rude, I don’t know what does. In 2013 most military spouses still have “manners,” RSVP and send hand written “thank you” notes because they were raised right, or because they learned to do so in their own profession. But just as some do not today, not everyone in 1945 had great manners.

Why old school sister worship doesn’t make sense:

Frankly, I don’t want to take any advice from my old schools sisters, because I think they would have given their right arm for a child care center, a Commissary, the ability to wear shorts to the PX on TwentyNine Palms, Calif. in August, or the ability to tell someone they lived next to that they “hated” Marine Corps life and that the fact that their husband might die tonight thousands of miles away because his Commander failed to ensure he had the proper tactical gear scares the hell out of her.

Our military has profoundly changed and that is a wonderful thing.

Today’s military spouses thankfully have very little in common with the women (they were all women) of the 1940′s, 50’s, 60′s, 70′s, 80′s or even the 90′s. In 2013 many of us are decorated combat veterans ourselves as well as military spouses. Many of us are men and many of us are gay.

This war has produced multiple and long deployments (also different from any past war), social media makes hiding the truth difficult (sexual assault and mental illness in our ranks), soon Major Jones and his husband will be on the list for officer housing, and very soon women will be commanding our husband’s Infantry units.

We are charting totally new territory and I wish to take ALL commands from the current, wholly different, and evolved population of military spouses. I love my Army all on my own, (after all, I served in it).

So while I can learn how to make a crafty handmade “thank you” note on Pinterest, I don’t believe in this mythical creature known as the “Old School” military wife, or unicorns, for that matter.

 Shelly Burgoyne is a prior service Army wife and combat veteran. Portions of this post were originally published on her blog Sonoran Switchback.

About the Author

Guest Bloggers
SpouseBuzz is proud to present a variety of outstanding guest bloggers from time to time. We hope you find the topics they bring to our community engaging and thoughtful.
  • the first mel

    Is there a reason why you lump military spouses from the 90’s into your generalization of how military spouses of today are different than those of the past? There are many military spouses of today who started their journey in the 90’s. Mine began in 1989 and my husband is still active duty.

    • Megan

      Totally agree with “the first mel”. My mother and MiL were both mil spouses of the 80s and 90s and 2000s and personified every one of those qualities that you deemed “superficial” while dealing with many of the same issues as we deal with today and none of the technology. I am thankful that they set such a good example for me today as a current mil spouse. Do I love everything about the military? No. But I am thankful for the privilege to be here as a mil spouse. I definitely, definitely understand where you are coming from, and I rather enjoyed reading your point of view. I don’t, however, think we should write off our predecessors as superficial or weak simply because they were patient and dignified and all those other “superficial” qualities.

    • Alicia

      Not only would we have given our right arm for a child care center and the ability to go to the commissary in shorts, but who do you think fought congress to allow the FRG ? I was there in the ground floor figuring out how best to serve our military community. The libraries , the sports programs for our kids, the extended after school care for both active military spouses? Us! We improved our situation, while following ridiculous clothing rules, and in turn – you younger sisters have enjoyed (with our thanks and blessings) the fruit of our hard labor. Change takes time to occur. Remember we got the ball rolling. We didn’t like the status quo and we improved it for the next generation. What are you improving for your next generation of sisters?

    • MosWife

      mine to 1989 and my husband is still active duty too. and I do agree with you !!

  • Erika

    “five superficial things she cited”……”patience, appreciation, dignity, respect for and pride in your servicemember, and, finally, manners”. You call these things superficial? Can’t even read the rest of the article……

    • It only went downhill from there. The author of this article seems to be a person with a chip on their shoulder. Manners, dignity, patience, respect – these are all virtues – and they are timeless in the opinion of this prior service army wife of 22+ years.

    • agrwife

      I couldn’t read it either. I do not consider any of those qualities to be ‘superficial’ in any way, shape or form. The one thing I think we ALL need to learn is not to be snotty little pews. I have met old ones as well as young ones. They all STINK and don’t think!

    • Jess

      I couldn’t either. It made my head hurt.

  • sabrinacking

    I loved this blog when I read it the first time…and I love it even more now. This is hands down the BEST thing ever printed on SpouseBuzz.

    • Amy_Bushatz

      Second only to the post you helped write that is running later today! ;-)

      • sabrinacking

        I helped you write a post running later today…who knew…

        • sabrinacking

          Oh you must mean Jacey’s post I will be promptly lynched over by the 87% of people not directly associated to combat arms….alrighty then I will check back later, I have my soldier coming home from an extended summer TDY today so its time to turn back into a human being…grooming, that is what redeployment actually means for most wives…snicker

  • Staci

    I feel the author completely is blind to a lot of things in society have have declined over the years- not just on the military family front. I also feels she makes a lot of excuses for this entitlement generation who drink selfishness like Kool- Aide. Not wanting to learn from prior generations is like not wanting to learn from history- which, for the ignorant, always repeats itself. I, for one, like to learn from all sources possible- young, old, seasoned, new, etc. If she wants to close off everyone before her because she thinks her lot is so much worse and there is nothing to gain from them, I pity her. She’s missing out on learning what she clearly needs most in this post- perspective.

    • sabrinacking

      I don’t think the author would state “I can’t learn anything from previous wives”. I think what she is stating is a collective opinion of many who read the previous post throughout militaryland and were grossly offended by it. It made the case for military wives today are entitled whiners who have no dignity, patience or humility. All of which I think is A grade Bull manure. We have, in fact, been enduring through two wars for over 12 years. Most of us, know more than a thing or two about patience. We have, many of us, sat in funerals with television cameras shoved in our face for the nightly news…that’ll teach a thing or five about dignity. And you really don’t get more humble than the sort of ugly crying that comes from fear, death, or relief when a deployment ends. We know all of these things intimately well and saying we don’t is just disrespectful to the sacrifices made by today’s military families.

      • Staci

        “Frankly, I don’t want to take any advice from my old schools sisters”

        Uh- yeah. That’s exactly what she said.

        • sabrinacking

          Having been raised in the Army during Vietnam and post Vietnam…I tend to think people have collective amnesia as to what the Army was like “back in the day”. And we cam al have gratitude that some people were strong enough to speak out and make it better for those of us that followed and not just “grinned and bore it” with their tea cup in their hand and their Stepford wife smile.

          • Jennifer

            I agree with you Sabrina, and I feel the first post was useful we can learn from the past. It is great that I don’t have to keep a log of my volunteering for my husband to show his commander (my mother had to do this in the 70’s) – but is it so bad to RSVP? Complaining once and awhile is fine (I can really sing it!), but if all you ever have to say are negative things, get out – it is a volunteer job. That post, and many of the classes (I jokingly call them remedial wife training) are there to help anyone and everyone learn some social graces – it is NOT ok to be lazy and not get dressed to go to the PX or to show up improperly dressed for the ball. It is a formal, and it is NOT a show of individuality to behave badly it is immature at best and disrespectful/rude on all levels. By the same token I have been to events so poorly planned that they ran out of food before everyone was served, or didn’t have enough seating (both were ticketed events) – once upon a time a proud wife would have planned the event after years of working with others on their events and learning how to plan – we all lost something when so many spouses stopped volunteering and working for our community. Now there are some who try hard to serve the many, and often are exhausted trying to help those who won’t help themselves. In the end the first post was aimed at maybe 15%, give or take, who behave badly then leave another 20% feeling it is ok not to RSVP, or I am just too tired to change out of my PJ’s. Your behavior and mine effect others so rise to the occasion and pull others up with you – some days I can use a hand too. And by the way sometimes a Stepford smile is the correct response.

        • Margery Bass

          Then she will surely have to learn the hard way. What disrespect she is showing for the older generation, the service members and their spouses. This is one ungrateful person. God help her!

  • Bronson

    As a male military spouse, I applaud your fine perspective on the new course military families now chart for themselves. We mustn’t romanticize the past, just because candy bars cost a quarter, football was played on grass, and telephones had wires. The very idea that military wives were more polite (!) in 1945? That’s my Mom’s generation and I remember hearing of many slights and outright rudeness, not to mention segregation and overt racism. Ms. Burgoyne gets it right!

  • We have to plenty to learn from previous generations of spouses….frankly they can learn a lot from “ours” (including some of us who started in the 80’s and 90’s) as well. This isn’t a win-lose situation….if we just listen to each other, this can be a win-win situation. I think when she calls “patience, appreciation, dignity, respect for and pride in your servicemember, and, finally, manners” superficial, she doesn’t mean in and of themselves, but their treatment by the previous author on this issue. All in all, a really solid piece!

    • pardon my grammar…

    • Staci

      Really? So, you “think” what she means is one thing, but “know” what the other writer means is another. What a neat trick that is- unless you wrote them both, you can’t possibly “think” or “know” either. It’s biased interpretation- that’s all. You defend what you agree with- that’s natural, but to imply you have a true knowledge of the intent of either piece without being the writer of both is a little arrogant, don’t you think? Have an opinion, by all means, but claiming to know what a writer means is impossible- unless you are the writer yourself. That’s why literary criticism exists- interpretation of scholars- not fact of interpretation by scholars.

      • well, we will simply have to agree to disagree.

        • Staci

          So, you truly think you know the minds of all of the bloggers here and have specific insight to the meanings of all they post? Amazing. You should do lottery number next.

          • Staci, Look, I’m not sure where your anger is coming from, but I don’t think it’s a healthy thing. We can agree to disagree. I personally appreciated the perspective of this writer much more than what I considered the angry tone (condescending) of the previous author. The other writer seemed to look for the worst in spouses, while I personally look for the best in our generation. I actually agreed with some parts of what the other author noted….I just didn’t think it was well done (perhaps hastily written is my best qualifier for it). I don’t agree with exactly everything in the above piece either, but it’s what makes us human…in the end, I think the above is a much more reflective piece about our generation: I also liked this piece done by MOAA: http://moaablogs.org/spouse/2013/08/five-things-w

        • agrwife

          All I know of this ‘writer’ is what she writes and publishes. I take the meaning of words to be just that. If she writes that certain things are ‘superficial’ I take it that she means just that. It does come across as very rude and disrespectful, I think if she doesn’t mean it that way, she needs to learn better writing skills. One cannot discern vocal tone or facial expression through the written word. One must learn the meaning of the words one is using, or there will be mis-interpretations.

  • Rose

    Wow! We have a lot to learn from our “Old School Sisters.” That is the problem with todays military spouses, many have broke away from the traditions, etiquette & protocols. There are too many that are whiny, sniveling little princess’ that think that the military way of life should be all about them. The author needs to sit down and read the Etiquette & Protocol book for military spouses! It is just very sad that there are so many spouses out there that do not take the time to appreciate let alone learn from the many who have made the journey before them and stick with the traditions!

    • sabrinacking

      The military…in war…no less two wars…is not about tea and bunco. And if you think it is…you’re delusional.

      • the first mel

        I’ve never been to a tea or bunco, but I do understand that those activities are about friendship and support. That’s the point. It’s surprising how many new spouses do not even know 1 spouse in their husband’s unit. It’s hard to create a support network if you don’t get out there and meet people.

        • sabrinacking

          NO they aren’t…they are about some sort of weird classist stratification. I have been, its bizarre-o land. It’s akin to an ostrich shoving its head in the sand and saying “oh look at wonderful life is during war, we are all so great and everything is so great, and gee golly this is so great”. I will agree there is a lot of entitlement going on in the military…but ain’t coming form enlisted families, its coming form the otherside of the railroad tracks.

          • shezim

            These wars are nothing new.

            You bring up the 12 years of war that you have dealt with…well some of us have dealt with those 12 years PLUS the years in Bosnia, plus some time in Haiti, and the first Gulf War.
            I could harp on and on about all the crap my husband has had to deal with but that doesn’t help him one bit.

            I miss the coffees. I miss the teas. I miss the formal balls and socials. Because it took our minds off all the chaos. It reminded our soldiers that they were still gentlemen and that war didn’t define them.

          • sabrinacking

            Yeah well, mine was in the Gulf too so your point is…and I don’t think you are the Old school wife the original post spoke of. It was glorifying this 1950s-1980s ideal.

          • 5kidsmom

            The key point in the original article was that there ARE lessons to b e learned from those who have gone before us. Families have received much more support in the past 10 years than they did before – and for some, it will never be enough.

            I am, frankly tired of the enlisted vs. officer rants. It is really no better on any side of the tracks. Our spouses were not forced into these jobs, they chose to join the military – and what it has to offer or not. Granted, my husband may be an officer, but I have seen far too many enlisted – as well as officer – spouses who think that they are owed everything. I don’t participate in the spouse groups because I see far too much sniping – on all levels, enlisted and officer. There have been many times that, as an officer’s family , we were not allowed to participate in events, or to receive anything from community groups because he is an officer. We cannot be appreciated like the rest, because his rank is apparently appreciation enough.

          • Heather

            Yes, they are about socializing, support and friendship! It’s what you make of it, if it was “bizzare-o land” for you, that is what you made it. I have never been to a bunco or wives coffee where we were sitting around saying life is so great during deployment! Hell, it was how much it sucked, but we appreciated having each other and having someone else who is going through the same things. And it helped us take our minds off of those things for just a little while.

          • the first mel

            Sabrina, what do you want from me? I am sitting here trying to figure out how you turned my comment into a response that includes an ostrich with it’s head in the sand and the bashing of officer families. (By the way, my husband is enlisted.) We plan events to get spouses out and interacting with others. Always carrying around doom and gloom is not beneficial to themselves or their kids. How is that a healthy way to live? By no means am I saying that we should ignore the horrors of war, but our lives at home continue to move forward. It’s not like we can call a time out and everything stops so that we can catch out breaths.

          • the first mel

            We have kids who should be enjoying their youth, who should be having fun with their friends, who should laugh and smile. How would I be doing my best for my kids if I stayed mired in sorrow and fear.
            There comes a time when you have to say, “Ok, the past events were horrible. I can’t change the past, but I can take control of the present and make the best of what I do have.” Instead of repeatedly complaining about the same things why not figure out what it is you want to accomplish and figure out what you need to do to make it happen. Obviously, your current method isn’t yielding your desired results.

          • sabrinacking

            This is exactly what I am saying. The war doesn’t end for many of our families. Deployments end, but the war has changed our husbands in ways that never end. So for you, you say “hey that’s in the past”. For the people I know, this is our present, and may very well be something we deal with the rest of our lives. Regardless, I think its vehemently more important than Bunco…but doesn’t get near the press.

          • sabrinacking

            We are fundamentally at a different place in our lives.
            You’re at the “Accept the things you can’t change” stage
            and I’m at the “I am no longer accepting the things that need changed” stage.
            That s the difference between us, and it isn’t bound to change any time soon. My method is actually meeting my desired results. I am not the only one making the same observations. I might be the most obnoxious or with the least tact, but I am not the only one.

          • sabrinacking

            I don’t want anything from you. I think our perspectives of war are very different and so we view things quite differently. I, find, these sorts of focus on pomp and circumstance and backwards hats and flip flops et all ridiculous, from inside my experience of the war. You find them vastly important. You have a perspective on the Marines, I have none I have no experiential knowledge of the Marines. I have a perspective on the Army from living in it my entire life, yet day in and out here you think I have no knowledge of the Army and am all doom and gloom and clueless. I have friends in both sets, so I am not trying to make anything about rank except for yes in fact the brunt of the war(s) are bore by enlisted families, especially junior enlisted families. Their lives are not about Bunco or tea, they are about poverty level wages, and statistically the most casualties of the war(s). I think they earn every penny they get. And I think debasing them for largely classist reasons…etiquette, what they wear etc…is just bad form and tasteless.

      • Staci

        OMG- are you STILL going on about Bunco? If that’s all you can talk about after two posts about the same crap, you need a hobby.

        • sabrinacking

          I have several, but thanks for offering. And I think Bunco…sort of is a great tshirt. “it’s NOT Bunco” sums up my entire perspective on 9/10ths of what I see on SpouseBuzz.

    • shezim

      Yep, the more I read…the more I realize why I have so little in common with the young spouses even though we are at a relatively “old school” post.
      Oh well, I’ll only be around a few more years and retirement will come someday.

      I’ve never played Bunco in my life.

    • Staci

      Absolutely, Rose.

  • YUP

    To each is own I don’t look at this post or the last to define what a military spouse should or shouldn’t be, because firstly I define what type of wife I am to my husband, and lastly I’m not a spouse to the military, so no I’m probably not the one that will bring you cookies when you move in, or even seek to have a relationship because our husbands so happen to be stationed together, I respect him and what he does same if he had a civilian job.

    • Guest

      I totally agree with you

  • Briana

    I dont think the author of this article grasped the true meaning of the original article! The original had deeper intent, and this author only points out the obvious stuff on the surface. The original author wrote about patience, but was not suggesting that we go back to pen and ink and snail mail, but i think the deeper meaning was that be glad you have email and dont get angry at the military or your service member when you dont get an email every day! Sometimes email goes down, or your member is too busy working or any number of other reasons, but it doesnt give license for wives to be angry or pissed off at the military… be appreciative that you have email and skype at all! I am thankful for my husband who was active duty… he understands that when I’m at sea, he may or may not get an email everyday because he understands how active duty works.

  • Petra

    Holy cow. I never thought life as a soldier’s wife is about Bunco and teas and such. Somehow I figured it would be about us, my husband and me and about making the best of this life in which we often don’t have a say when it comes to where we go and how we live. Somehow I also thought that instead of suffering silently and alone when he is gone, it makes perfect sense to rely on others as well as provide for others and go through this together with other spouses — and where better to find those than at the FRG. Of course there will always be those who seek and cause drama, those who cause head shaking and facepalms, those who just come to whine about how Rear D didn’t send someone to mow the lawn. But generally I also find those who – much like me – simply don’t wanna go through this alone. Those who will roll up their sleeves and just do. Those, who just have the goal of being a decent human being while passing the time until the soldier comes back. Manners, patience, dignity, all those virtues mentioned time and again are important, but are also very much open to interpretation — and one’s cultural background. If nothing else, we can learn from those before us how things SHOULDN’T be and what we can change. We can learn from those with us how to go about changing things, and we can pass on to those coming after us how to stand up for ourselves and be the best we can be.

    Is the military life perfect? Hell no. We all have our stories of things gone utterly wrong. I think most of us know how horrible the wars are and what they do to our loved ones and us. However, I still think that sticking together and going through this united still beats being miserable and alone, no?

    • Guest

      It has always been my experience that when I meet other spouses they look at me as a lean on or a go to. For childcare, for shoulder, for a wall to ping stuff off of. All I want to scream is YOUR LIFE IS NOT OVER because he is gone temporarily, and I’ve only experienced this with female spouses. The same spouse that needs you to join their daily cry fest is the same one that gets caught up in her feelings when your spouse is promoted, if you find a job or life outside of the base. Am I not compassionate No I am just not a dweller. The male spouses seem to have that resiliency us female spouses talk about having. Alone doesn’t exactly equal miserable sometimes it’s peace and time to work on you if you use it wisely, and sometimes more people equal more problems.

      • Petra

        For myself I found that being a lean on and go to in the very beginning of this journey helped me immensely to open up and allow myself to feel my emotions fully. It is also not about making 30 new best friends during deployments, it’s about finding some like-minded souls to hang out with and share emotions with and, hell yeah, even have fun with. The rest of it I see as a type of service I provide, food runs for new moms, emergency babysitting, organizing events or helping out at events, that’s all just my way of “paying it forward” and being a decent person. When I meet someone like the ones you described, well, I listen for a bit, tell them I understand, and try to point them to solutions, even if it’s just to point them to the ACS for classes or to OneSource for psych help and then I move on. At the end of the day I wanna be content with who I was that day and what I did. Also, I don’t mean that we should never be physically alone, that would be silly and counterproductive. It is more a metaphorical togetherness, the feeling of knowing you’re not alone. I enjoy kicking back at home by myself every now and then, it’s good for the psyche :)

  • Love this! While I think it is good to remember how things used to be, I don’t think we should make believe that everyone in the past was so nice and wonderful and we need to get back to that. Every time period had its good and its bad. As hard as these wars have been for a lot of us, I would not want to go back to the way it used to be. My Grandpa left for WW2 6 weeks after he married my Grandma. He didn’t know when he would be back. He didn’t have an R&R and she went to go live with her sister while he was gone. It was hard for them and I would not want to go back to that even though the idea of an actual love letter in the mail seems so romantic.

  • mongolberry

    Yes, this is exactly what I was thinking, thank you! It’s dangerous to romanticize the past because you tend to remember all of the good (even if it wasn’t really common) and none of the bad.

  • sabrinacking

    Alrighty…I think its fairly apparent that the majority would like the minority…minority of any kind…to not speak about the reality of war. So we’ll leave you to yourselves. There is a reason groups like Battling Bare have as of today 44,928 FB likes…because the silence of this majority on any real issues in the military strangles out the minority 13% actually fighting the war. Its really sad. And in the end, the families suffer, veterans suffer and the country suffers. But get on with your Bad Bunco selves.

    • Mamatoni6

      Sabrina, every article written cannot be about the last 12 years. We can not constantly live in those days gone by for our entire life time and make it our daily focus of conversation day in and day out. You have gone from a funny, intelligent, strongly opinionated person to this woman who is so consumed by these wars that you can no longer write a comment with out the words “12 years of war ” in it, then if that person doesn’t agree you start a pissing match about who’s accomplished more, who’s been through more deployments, and God forbid their spouse has less then 5 because then they and their emotions are dismissed by you because they don’t know what it is really like and they have had it easy. These articles on SB can not revolve around the last 12 years like you seem to want and its not because anyone is burying their heads in the sand like an ostrich, but because we have to keep trying to move on. Some articles are goofy or space fillers, yet you bash every single one because there are more important issues, like the last 12 years. Most people come here to get a break from it all. To have a conversation or debate on whatever is the topic of the day. Yet you are so consumed by the last 12 that you can’t even see today anymore. Most if not all of us get it, most if not all of us have been through it also. Look back at the comments you have made from earlier in the year to now. I did. The change in you is saddening. Someone so vibrant that it came through your comments to someone who is now bitter and so consumed by angry you can no longer have a conversation about any topic except “the last 12 years”. Now I know you will take this and see it as me bashing you. Something very far from the truth of the matter on why I wrote this. As I’ve told you before we have some similar life situations, which is one reason why I look at your comments, even if I didn’t agree you are one of the few people on here that I actually respect and will give pause when there is that comment I don’t agree with ( wont change my opinion, but give me pause to see another side). I wrote it because I see someone who is stuck, someone who like many of us has had it bad, but can’t get out of that place of anger and the many, many emotions we all are having to deal with. The thing is your not dealing with them, your being consumed by them. If anyone is burying their head I’m sorry but that person, right now, is you. I know you don’t want it, but I do extend my friendship as a stranger who understands.

      • sabrinacking

        I think what you see, is someone who came to SpouseBuzz read SpouseBuzz…and got pissed off by what I read on SpouseBuzz. That much is very true. I am not wallowing here, I am trying to survive here. I am glad for each of you that the war ended, it came home here. And it ain’t going away. So yes my perspective is different. I don’t want every article to be about war, I laugh at the humorous ones too if you have read everything I write you can see that. I also don’t comment on half of the articles here. But I will comment every single time I think people are debasing people’s very real experiences. I am not the only one who feels exactly as I do, I am just the most vocal.

      • sabrinacking

        I think as I reread your comment what strikes me is this “you’re stuck”. On that much you are absolutely right. I am stuck because for me, and in this house, the war isn’t ending…in fact form what we are told by behavioral therapy it probably never will. Which is amazeballs…and trying to wrap my head around that when just 18 months ago I was as red, white and blue as the next person…is what you see on SpouseBuzz. Trying to wrap my head around the fact I am virtually alone in trying to deal with the consequence of war in my house, as are many, many, many more people I talk to every day…is what you see on SpouseBuzz. I’d like the war to be over too, I’d like to say “sheesh, I am glad I made it through that” and look to a peaceful retirement…but that is highly improbable for me, or most of the people I know. I don’t expect every, or even most posts on SpouseBuzz to be about that…what I do expect is for them not to debase the fact people have been going through two wars. Or that some of us…will be, maybe for the rest of our lives.

        • Mamatoni6

          I get it. It’s because I get it that I commented to you about how you will someway, somehow find a way to bring in the last 12 years into any topic at some point (fine, most topics). I’ve seen you rip into someone because their comment was demeaning or debasing of what we have gone through these years, and applauded you. I’ve also seen you do it when that was not the topic or the comment of the commenter and was left scratching my head in wonder about your comment. There are many, many Service Members that have come home and haven’t been able to leave these wars behind, along with many whose life has been forced into a whole other category of trying to survive. NOT trying to say “oh they have it worse, and you should feel grateful because it could have been so much worse”, as the feelings from either situation are REAL, and some days so strong to be almost debilitating to those of us going through them. We too are one of those families where the war still rages on at home, so no I don’t get to be gleefully happy that the war is over. We’ve been…lucky enough to receive it from both ends as I also have my very own PTSD and serious health problems which will eventually kill me. Which is neither here or there, except in some morbid way has in someways been helpful and in others harmful. It’s because I understand and see that you are in this place that I wanted to say something to you, not because I dislike negativity, but to give that anonymity of someone who is going through the same, yet is someone distant to your own and distinct circumstance. Though still able to point out the obvious (even if they are small glimpses) changes you are going through. None of this is meant to be mean or hurtful, thats the last thing I would want to do, as I DO know what you are going through. I don’t believe that I insinuated ( if I did I apologize) that you are wallowing, just very stuck in a bad place that can and will hurt you. I don’t know you besides this one dimension of what you show, but because you do and have commented so often, not only I, but others can see it.

          • sabrinacking

            I don’t take constructive criticism as harmful. I often point out when I learn on here, and I pause frequently to rethink what people say. Suffice it to say, I am not a one dimensional character on a SB screen. I have a real life, I garden for the food bank all day, I volunteer in town now that I am burnt out on volunteering for the Army. I attend a caregivers support group. I absolutely 1000% am well aware I am not the happy well adjusted human being I once was. I think that is my entire point on SN most of the time. So much of what I see is just twilight zone to me. Not unlike you, I am sick too. I have Lupus and so at any given time I am on a crap ton of Prednisone which makes me an insomniac, so I circle back to here to read. I don’t take anything you have said as hurtful or harmful to me. I take it for what it is worth, some of it has merit, some of it not so much. And for the things that do, I certainly am chewing on them all the time.

          • sabrinacking

            Nope, not upset but anything you have said.

          • sabrinacking


      • guest

        THANK YOU!!! All I see from Sabrina now is horrid bitterness that is more concerned with thinking SHE earned something and the opinion of everyone else is wrong if they don’t agree with her, her opinions have been borderline delusional. Sabrina, you’ve recommended Military OneSource on a few of these forums, maybe it’s time you take your own advice. Deployments are deployments, war is war, as a former service member and a spouse of almost as many years as you, you are dwelling waaaay too much on the past few years and fighting for an identity that isn’t yours.

        • sabrinacking

          I have my own identity, thank you very much. I am not delusional. I think its much easier for some people to chalk what I say up to “eh, she’s crazy.” But actually, according to me psychiatrist…I am quite sane. And actually…were you to attend the caregivers spouse group I do, where each and every Thursday more and more wives are coming to say “help us, our husbands have gone batshit crazy”…you just might get an idea…it ain’t just me. It’s sort of hard not to “dwell” as you’d like to put it, when I have to remind my husband to take 9 medications morning and night. Or when I have to remove myself from the bed because he’s flailing about at night. Or when I have to hold his plate in the buffet line, because he shakes so bad he can’t hold it because of that medication et all. I think you’re delusional because you think, quite mistakingly, that war happens and stays downrange. You think that because you’re a former female soldier, only you could have had to deal with the ramifications of war. I deal with them daily. I would NEVER degrade your experience, but you find it perfectly acceptable to degrade mine.

        • sabrinacking

          You have come behind everything I say, and pointed out over and over I can’t possibly know what I am talking about because you are a female soldier and only female soldiers know what they are talking about. You’re right, I tend to go postal on you for it. I have never once said anything against female soldiers…so I am not sure why you have decided to stalk everything I say and make it about: I can’t possibly know anything because I am not a female soldier. I did work as a defense contractor for over a decade. I have volunteered in key positions throughout the Army for two decades. I just might, know a thing or two about the Army. And as an aside…while doing all of that, I have also worked my entire adult life earning more than my husband, have 2 bachelors degrees, and a Masters, I owned a business, not selling Scentsy or some S an actual business, I have sat on 8 Nonprofit boards….so trust me…I have my own life and don’t need my husband’s accomplishments. You clearly have no idea who you are talking to.

          • jojo613

            Just remember that you can’t post your resume on here, because it’s not provable. (Sorry being completely sarcastic and sardonic)… I was on another board here and told I didn’t know how the military worked, because I was just a wife. I’m a female veteran, and have been in and out of the military the last 16 years. Don’t let anyone degrade your experiences. I believe you… You are not crazy, I have read much of what you have said, and it does not sound insane, bitter, or anything like that. It’s actually quite rational.

            Speaking of lupus, I wonder if it’s something genetic among Native Americans, my mom was diagnosed a few years ago with it, and she is under similar situations as you are– 24 hour caregiver to my dad, who has a variety of illnesses. Makes me nervous, as I’m the primary caregiver to a 9 year old child with autism and epilepsy, and also Native American.

          • sabrinacking

            Lupus has much higher propensity in those of African, Native, and Asian ancestries. Its also not at this time confirmed to have a genetic component, however, it is presumed to. In my own family: my grandmother, mother and aunt and now I have Lupus. I was diagnosed 13 years ago now, when pregnant with my second child. Though I had what was likely my first flare up at 16. At that time, I spent 2 weeks in the hospital with some sort of bizarre head to toe rash that would go away with corticosteroids, then come back as soon as they decreased them.
            It is true that stress, is not the best thing for Lupus. I often laugh at my rheumatologist because I am told…you need less stress. Exactly how I am supposed to do that while married to a soldier who deploys ad nauseum I am not sure. If you are concerned about Lupus your Dr. can run blood ana tests.

  • Jessica

    When I read the original article, I didn’t take it literally. I don’t think that the old school wives were perfect and were always nice. I’m pretty sure there was separation, racism and snobbiness (if that’s even a word). I took it as “It could be much worse than it is now. Have each others backs. Respect yourself. Be proud.” That’s it. Doing as we always do as women, we analyze it TOO much. Chill out man :)

    • Mona

      Exactly! Not to mention it was written by a “new” military spouse showing her appreciation for what others before us endured and what she and others could learn from them.

  • Heather

    PLEASE don’t wear your stinky sports bra to the commissary. I really don’t want any foul odors while doing my grocery shopping! :( I have to say I don’t agree with most of this article. :(

  • Joe

    I have never read a more self centered piece of far age in my entire life. I’ve been a brat (1960-1979) and a vet myself. My either was a military spouse whoused through 3 deployments to Vietnam and everything that went with that. It is obvious that this article was written by someone who has NO IDEA about what the military was like during that period. She speaks about no commisary or anything else. She thinks that it was something out if the stoneage. Military costs and the wives had a sense if community. They helped one another. They didn’t wear their husbands rank on their always like some sort if badge that they earned and think they had the authority to go with it. Their were bbq, get together and trips. There was digital, martial arts, bowling, baseball, and all the other sports for the kids. Pools, gums and above all a we are all one attitude. While u its did t deploy it was individual soldiers. Wives learn to manage and be strong. During a deployment they wouldn’t stay in post housing so most went back home to extended family but still maintained the friendships they developed. These were and still are life long friendships that have stood the test of time. Friendships because of shared experiences. She should have kept her mouth shut rather than show the depths lf her stupidity. She actually came off acting as if she was better than the old school sister. Untruth she is the outcast. Its wives like her who have created hate and discontent where there should be none. Grow up and see that those who came before set an example that you could never attain, would be wise to emulate. You have learned nothing and with your latitude never will either. You will be the one that pulls down o your spouse like an anchor never allowing him to reach where he wants to go.
    Maybe you need to do some under research about the military if the 60’s, 79’s, and 80’s. You could learn a lot from those who you have maligned. Its you who are the throw back…to a time when military bases didn’t have things for families or spouses. The old adage was that if the start had meant for toy to have a wife they would have issued you one.
    You are pathetic and make me sick with your holier than thou attitude.

    • agrwife


    • jojo613

      Joe– my aunt was a Lt Col’s wife during Korea and Vietnam. My uncle was a company commander in the first cav (a helo pilot). Your joking right?! My aunt wore my uncle’s rank, she wouldn’t lower herself to socialize with anyone who was ranked lower than an O-3. She had cleaning ladies in all of her houses (generally junior enlisted wives), and one house, she had enlisted guys doing her pool maintenance LOL. She used to bud in line at the PX too, and she expected to be saluted when she went in the gate. I don’t think you could even legally do that anymore.

  • Lea

    Typical ‘we’ve got it harder then you do’ competition that runs wild with todays military life. Sad.

  • jeffriesboys

    I completely disagree with about 90% of what you said. 1) Patience – yes, there was a brief period in the beginning of the decade long war where there was limited to no communications. Where paper was the only form off communication, but by in large communication is WAY BETTER. What the previous blogger was trying to point out was APPRECIATE IT, EMBRACE IT. Not that we need to go back to paper and pen, but appreciate that you aren’t going YEARS without hearing from your service member. 2) AGAIN, when the previous blogger spoke of appreciation, she was merely saying appreciate what you now have. Many, many women came before us had NONE of this. Appreciation goes a long way. As military spouse who sees the attitudes of those receiving a lot of these “perks”, I can tell you that there is a HUGE problem with a sense of entitlement. Why can’t I get a free Turkey? Where is my free Christmas tree? I need a voucher until payday. I hope you don’t misread this as you seem to have misread the WHOLE previous blog. There are definitely servicemembers who need help. Being a lower enlisted soldier doesn’t pay nearly enough to support a family (Neither does a 1Lt for that matter), but when you get to the point where you EXPECT someone to take care of you, you need to check yourself. 3) Dignity. I don’t know where you are hanging out, but we aren’t talking about an occasional spouse running into the commissary to grab a gallon of milk after getting her sweat on at spin class. We are talking about spouses walking around in shorts with their butt cheeks hanging out OR going into the PX with a bikini top and a winter coat (small bikini top) in DECEMBER. I don’t care about dignity at that point, I care that my 16 yo son is being treated to your ta ta’s when all he wanted was a coke at the food court. OR the spouse walking around in some sort of body hugging clothing meant only for her soldier’s eyes. Have some dignity – yes it does speak to the condition of your soul – and spare me the eye full. OR if you don’t care enough to change out of your PJ’s (except on the rare occasion when you’ve been up all night with a sick child and have to run in for motrin – then you don’t care enough to need to go shopping. Finally, RSVPing. Obviously, you haven’t hosted anything in a long time if you think that people RSVP any more. It is like pulling teeth. The last 3 events I have hosted I have sent out anywhere between 20-30 invites, had 3 or 4 RSVP’s and had around 15-20 people show up. How do you plan for that? I don’t know what la la land you are living in OR what you THINK you read. The last blogger’s post was all about being grateful and taking pride in yourself and your servicemember. If you think we are anywhere near the standards of our predecessors I am sorry for you, because you are delusional.

    One more thing – complaining about your servicemember. There is a difference between lamenting about whatever particular issue you are going through and complaining about the military and the situation you find yourself in. Last time I checked, this was an all volunteer army. It is tough and there are plenty of things to complain about. Just be careful about when, where and to whom that you air your grievances. You don’t always know the situation of the person you are griping to. Just sayin’

  • Sylvia

    I think this article is mainly bashing the whole point of the first article, which was, to me, to just simply say hey military spouses, lets not get out of hand here. Have some patience, some dignity, don’t act a fool. Please. We are all in this together. Let’s work together instead of all of us banging our heads against the wall. Even though things looked picture perfect back then, there were probably still spouses back then like there are now. The only difference was really just generational. There were still haters of war spouses, crazy RSVP’ing spouses, crazy dressing spouses, etc. Let’s just not let all these shenanigans get out of hand. Grow up, put your big girl panties on.

  • Shannon

    The majority of the spouses I saw sharing the first article via social media are officer’s wives who carry a chip on their shoulder like they just got out of debutante class. They think they can sell a casket to a dead man, and they think everyone should bow down to their classiness.

    I actually find valid points in both articles, and I disagree with quite a few points, also. What’s sad is that people taking such offense to the points. At the end of the day, it’s an article on the internet. Just close the window and remind yourself of all the fabulous things you bring to the military community JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. The milcommunity benefits from you – whoever you are.

    My heart hurts for those battling wars at home – looking at you, sabrinacking. Your rampages through this feed make it very clear that there is a voice that is not being heard by us Bunco-loving-tea-drinkers. I may not speak for everyone, but there are some of us who WANT to support you. HOWEVER it helps you. The problem is that most of us don’t know how to approach you (generally speaking). You clearly have a way with words – albeit some pretty harsh ones – and I think SpouseBUZZ would benefit from an article from you letting those of us who want to support someone in your situation KNOW HOW. Just a thought.

    • the first mel

      Shannon, just because you have had issues with officer spouses doesn’t mean they are all the same. Your stereotyping is part of the problem and the reason why so many avoid telling someone their spouses rank. Rankism isn’t just from the top down, it is also from the bottom up. Rankism isn’t just officer spouses thinking they are better than enlisted spouses, it is also enlisted spouses thinking they are better than officer spouses. No matter the rank of our spouses, we are all affected by it. I am married to an enlisted Marine and I have met many officer spouses who don’t fit the stereotype. In fact, the only difference between them and I is who we married. We all deal with the challenges of military life, we all take care of our homes and our families and we all have our troubles that come up in life. Quit focusing on who someone is married to and get to know the person.

      • Shannon

        I am an equal opportunist, and agree that it’s the person that is important, not the rank. Obviously (from the rest of my comment that you didn’t read) I do care about supporting and developing relationships with others within the milcommunity. My comment was solely to say that these particular posts were shared more by officers’ spouses, and even more particularly, those spouses don’t come across as wanting to step on the other side of the tracks. Didn’t say that I stereotype any spouse and wouldn’t embrace them the same. Sorry you read too far into the comment.

        My husband is enlisted and I don’t have a problem telling anyone.

      • jojo613

        Thank-you for stating this First Mel. I am an officer’s spouse. I think I’m pretty down-to-earth. One of my closest friends is an active duty E-9. My friends run the gambit, and I tend not to hang out with anyone who is rank conscious– enlisted or officer.

        In 16 years of being involved with the military– by marriage and active duty, I have noticed two things in particular about rankism and rank relations. 1. There are debutante snobs in all walks of life. Someone will be snobbish and a mean girl despite of what their husband does for a living. 2. Perception mirrors reality. Unfortunately, a lot of times, when I’m in social situations, many of the spouses that don’t like officer’s spouses wear their disgust on their face. If you sneer at me, do you think I will want to be friends with you? Do you think I will want to be nice to you? Like I said earlier my best friends are enlisted personnel, I don’t discriminate, but I will if you come to me with a poor attitude and then expect me to “like” you.

        • Shannon

          I appreciate your insight, jojo. I also have a wide range of milspouse friends, and (again) was not pulling the rankism topic into the comment – though I see how my comment may have come off that way. However, I do think you should read my comment again. I was only saying that OF THE PEOPLE I KNEW who shared it, most fell into the category I explained. No where did I say that I turn my nose up at certain ranks all together. Sorry if anyone read into that the wrong way.

          • jojo613

            I think many of the people who agree with this and some of the other postings regarding spouses are officer’s spouses. I know I’m getting skewered on the dress code posting, because I vehemently disagree with it. I am a veteran, and I did not sign up to serve so that when I stopped serving my rights get taken away because I now don the “rank” of military dependent. There are some on here who would like to harken back to the days when spouses were meek little mice that spit out children, stood barefoot in the kitchen, and showed they were grateful by shutting up and taking it again…

    • sabrinacking

      Thanks. Here is the thing. We each come on SpouseBuzz from our own worlds, we don’t leave those worlds at the door of SpouseBuzz. I, personally, really appreciate the broad spectrum that offers of viewpoint. I think it makes us better when try our best to understand one another. Saying that, 3/4s of my posts on SpouseBuzz are directly affected by my experience and I generally do fairly well until someone starts degrading junior enlisted personnel (which goes on all day every day in the real world, and as an FRG leader I dealt with this hourly) and discounting their very real problems and attributing them to “they are just trailer trash” or “they are just ghetto”. People could really help me, and all enlisted personnel if they’d stop two seconds and try to realize most of their statements are classist and sometimes even racist. Cont’d…

      • sabrinacking

        These statements turn me into a raging Mama bear and I go postal on SpouseBuzz. I am not living my daily life stomping around stewing, I live a full and amazing life, regardless of any curveballs the Army throws at me.
        The other 1/4 of my posts on SpouseBuzz can often be off base because I am so angry at what I encounter in my other 3/4s of SpouseBuzz. That was pointed out to me this week, I have thought about it hard…and I own it. I will make every effort to do better on that line.

        • Shannon

          Hey, I totally get it. I hope you continue to find the support you’re looking for – whether it be SpouseBuzz or where ever else. Your viewpoint is definitely appreciated, however enraged they are at times!

  • Annette

    I’d like to say that you have some good points, and if you wrote them with a different attitude, I could potentially agree with you, but I cannot get past your arrogant attitude and your complete dismissal of these “superficial” things. Had you not been so dismissive, I could have appreciated your “real things” that you want to write about so much more. Your real things are important, and you should write about them seriously, in an article by themselves, not just denigrate another article.
    So – you missed the point of the original article. Your response is so far off, I have to wonder if the misinterpretation is intentional. The original writer was not in any way romanticizing or worshiping the stereotype of Old School Sisters. She was pointing out how far we have come and suggesting holding on to the good from the past, not everything from the past.
    You stated that you, “respectfully take issue with her five superficial things that our old school sisters could teach us” but in fact you were FAR from respectful; I found your article rude. You labeled Patience, Appreciation, Dignity, Respect for and Pride in Your Servicemember, and Manners as superficial. Superficial? Really? So Respect and Pride in Your Servicemember is now superficial?? Was it superficial when YOU were in service? The writer did not say to agree with everything and never speak your mind. She wrote, “So, get mad and use your voice. Just do it in the right way and to the right people”.
    These are worthy characteristics that current military spouses should be proud to possess, enhance, and to pass on to their children and to future military spouses.

  • Thank you for this article! We ALL need to progress and accept each other. Some are “old school” and some are “modern” but we are still in the “Sisterhood” and have to respect each other and get along or we are not a community. It doesn’t matter what we wear or if respond formally to an invite. What matters is the support we offer one another during this tough and crazy life. Anyone is welcome to come sit in my corner because I already have enough on my plate than to sit in judgement of others. I’d rather have friends than enemies anyways ;)