Once the husband hits a high rank and supervisory status, the wife is expected to take on a new identity. The perfect military wife will make it look effortless and not complain in public.
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Wearing the husband’s rank gets her panties in a wad…
It was once described to me as, “having his rank embroidered on her panties”â€”when the leadership’s wife is accused of wearing her husband’s rank. In the military, an established and respected chain of command results in a well-run squadron. At the top, there is the boss with his spouse. From there, the job trickles from his shoulder boards all the way down to getting her panties in a wad.
I like to call it the “two-fer” deal. For example, once a woman’s husband becomes a squadron commander, she should plan on being the “woman behind the man”–to dutifully support him and his squadron. The military member’s career absorbs the whole While the man is running the business of the squadron, the wife is running the social end of things. By default, she is in charge of heading the spouses’ monthly coffees, perhaps publishing a newsletter, and even rustling up a fundraiser. Heck, she may need to hostess the children’s Christmas party, too. Don’t forget that she should attend the base’s official spouses’ club activities; warm a seat at those functions. Never mind that the official base club needs her to take a seat on the board.
In fact, she may have to organize a theme party for one of the year’s official spousal club meetings. While she is selling chili dogs to help pay for the children’s Christmas party, she needs to remember to call the spouses of the deployed and check on their wellbeing. Oh, and tell her to not forget to take care of whatever she used to do before her husband was named the commander.
The buy-one-get-one (BOGO), the two-fer, is assumed. He receives the paycheck and she tries to seamlessly double her family’s supportive efforts at the workplace.
A commander spouse friend of mine once said, “The only way to get out of all that is to get a job, get sick, or have a baby.”
Those are the top three salable excuses. However, they are only excused temporarily until it can all get juggled. And she will get it handled. She has to.
Military spouses need each other. Someone has to be the leader. The easy out is to hang it on the commander’s wife. Sometimes a woman may take on her title like a bad pageant queen: show-off, go out of bounds, and boss people around. But, those are the jerks and the exceptions. Behind a strong military husband, is an even stronger military wife.