Monday, January 30, 2012

Military Monday: The "Who has it Worse" Game

Probably 99% of every military wife that reads that title, knows exactly what this post is going to be about.  Why?  Because probably every single one of us has either seen this game being played, been a victim of it, and maybe, just maybe been a willing or unwilling participant.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, instead of explaining it, let me give you a little example of how the game is played:

Woman who just send her husband off to basic training, posts this on her Facebook Wall:
My hubby just left two days ago, and I miss him already!!  I am going to die for the next 9 weeks!!

Other Army Wife whose husband is deployed answers with this classic:
Well, just count your blessings that he is JUST in Basic... at least he isn't deployed like mine!

And there you go!  I like to call it the "Who has it Worst Game".  And these days there are so many playing it, that it is really hard to say anything about missing a husband for even a few days without someone piping up that basically, they have no sympathy at all for your situation and you should suck it up (like they do, apparently).

Now, I really don't understand this game.  I am not sure if it makes people feel better if they toss that one at another wife, or maybe sometimes they feel they are doing the person a favor by helping them get some perspective?  I don't know.

What I do know, is that that game is not fun, totally noneffective, and just plain rude.  What I have found, is that it doesn't matter if you husband is gone only for his weekend drill, or off to basic, or gone a month or even a year -- the absence of a loved one, no matter the amount of time, is hard.  It is just hard!  And sometimes, the shorter times are a lot harder than the longer ones.

When Ben was gone for those 9 months, the first 6 flew by!  I was mentally prepared for it.  I knew he was going to miss all the major holidays (except Christmas) and I knew that I was going to be just fine.  Then he came home for Christmas for 2 weeks and it was bliss!  But when he had to go back for only 10 more weeks, I thought I was going to die!  Those 10 weeks were WAY longer than the previous 6 months.  Funny how those things work.

I usually have no issues when Ben leaves.  Actually, I hate to admit this, but the boys and I make plans for when he leaves and we look forward to those one weekend a months that he is gone.  Not because we WANT him to leave, but we prepare ourselves by planning fun things to do to keep us busy and have some bonding time.  Even his 3 week summer drills fly by for us.  Then this summer he is probably going to be gone for 9 weeks... we are totally on that one planning for some mommy-kid road trips to visit family.

I have even excepted the fact that he WILL be deployed in another 2 years or so.... and it will be hard, but I know we will be okay.

But once in a while, it's just hard.  And we military wives should be able to express that loneliness every now and then without being snapped at by another "well meaning" military wife.

The same holds for non-military wives whose husband's have to travel for work.  It makes my stomach turn when a wife and mother explains she misses her hubby who is on some work trip for a few days, and some military wife feels it's her responsibly to put her straight:  Well, at least he isn't gone for a year and in mortal danger of getting blown up!!  At least you will get to see him in a few days!!!


Then what gets me, is that they then run over to their military spouse support site and go off about how "civilians just don't get it!"....

I think the problem is really with those type of people.  Maybe they just can't handle their situation well or aren't getting enough "Oh you are so strong and amazing for doing everything without your husband" comments from friends.  Truth is, as nice as it is to be complimented on something like that, I get a little embarrassed just the same.  I do what I have to do, and I do it with the best attitude that I can.  End of story.

So I am on a crusade to be a more understanding person -- to break that stereo-type mold.  To NEVER get sucked up in the "I have it worse than you game."  Instead of doing that, how about just trying to be supportive?  It's not as hard as you may think.  I know sometimes it can be difficult when your husband is deployed and someone is ranting about how hard their life is because hubby is gone hunting for a week (or whatever), you feel that maybe they are being insensitive.  Truth is, they aren't TRYING to be rude.  What is hard for some may not be for others.  We as military wives have to get used to it (as used to it as we can really get, anyway), but lots of women don't.  We all have different trials, and if we want to really be happy, instead of sitting around feeling bitter towards people, we need to understand that it is different for everyone. We all have different life "callus'", parts of us that are built up stronger.


To the wife of the man in Basic:
"Basic training stinks!  It IS super hard, and was a hard time for us too.  The no phone call thing makes it even worse!  But you are doing FANTASTIC and you're a strong woman!  But if you ever need a shoulder to cry on, you know where to find me!"

(don't say it will be over before you know it, because that is not true!  Basic seems to last FOREVER!)

To the wife whose husband is on a business trip:
"Every night spend without the hubby is hard!  We should have a movie night with the kids... that would be fun!  I will bring the pizza!"

And to someone like me, that missed my husband on my birthday (even though he surprised me by coming home early):
"I hate it when my husband misses my birthday!  It stinks!  But don't let it stop you from having fun!!  Take the boys out to lunch or catch a movie or go shopping!  You deserve it!"

Wouldn't it be nice to kick this game to the curb, and be supportive, understanding, and loving instead?  Do you ever realize that these people KNOW you have it worse sometimes?  Do you know that they probably look up to you?  That you may be their example of strength?  Then keep being that example by being all those GOOD things I mentioned above, and don't lower yourself for one second by playing "the game"... take the higher road.


PS Don't forget to check out a few of my giveaways going on:

Digital Copy of American Sniper
SuperTintin Skype Recording Software
My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software with a $10 gift cert.

If you have anything to add.... feel free!!

Okay, friends now it is your turn!  If you want to participate, take this button and post it in your post today:

THEN write a post about what I did above, or one of these:

1. How can we be more supportive of our "Sisters" when they are alone?

2. Name some things that should never say to another Military Wife...

If you have no idea what "Military Monday" is click here!


Nina said...

Great post, girl! I have heard way too many times spouses competing in this "who has it worse" game, and it doesn't make any sense to me.
Separation from loved ones is a subjective matter. While military spouses may have used to the separations of six months, year, sometimes even longer, it doesn't change the fact that a person whose spouse is on a business trip for a few days or a week can feel equally "miserable".
After working several years in the corporate world, traveling more than 200 days a year internationally, and spending more time at the airports and on the planes than on the ground, it really doesn't matter whether it is about military, business or what.... separation is always separation.

I so wish people were a bit more considerate and tolerant towards each other, and respected each other.

Lydia said...

I get into the grove of my spouse being gone and have the attitude, it is what it is and complaining wont help any anyway. so I don't complain but then my hubby asked not quite sarcastically do you like it when I'm gone. And I learned that I was hiding the pain from him too. Since that conversation we both have been more open to each other how much it sucks when he is tdy or deployed.
I agree the suck it up or I have it worse is the Wong way to go. When someone military or not complained about missing a spouce they are expressing their feeling and all feeling need to be repected.

New Mommy Confessions said...

oh, oh, I'll play! lol I snagged your button and posted on my blog about it. :)

Daddy Nut said...

Believe it or not, the guys do it too while we're away. Women may think it's just the battle of the battle scars,but in a lot of ways it's our way of expressing our desire to be back home. I've found myself on many, many occasions wishing I was home instead of where I was at. We're always telling each other about how long we've been out, or the trainings we've had to do, and especially the weather conditions of those trainings which never seems to be in our favor.

Cat said...

Yeah, but with guys, you never take it personally -- to you, it IS just a game. I have yet to hear a man say, "Dude, you are sooo insensitive! You have no idea what I am going through!" lol

No, the "I have worse" game gives guys social status among their peers.... "Well, I did a PT test in the snow!" (admiring guys: "WOW that would suck!")

Chelsea said...

This was a great post and definitely something that needs to be addressed. I posted about it too!