Tag Archives: How to be a Military Wife

5 Parenting Fails

I don’t claim to be an expert, but the sheer volume of children in my family has given me a lot of very diverse experiences.  We haven’t gotten it down perfectly, to be sure, but here are some lessons learned along the way.   This post is about 5 things you should not do as a parent.

1.  Overschedule your children.  We all know kids who are in seventeen activities and both they and their frazzled, broke parents are always on the go.  Children do benefit from a wide range of activities to explore and discover their true interests, but they also need time to decompress, relax, process what they’re learning and, heaven forbid, entertain themselves.  We have always limited the kids to two out of school activities – one athletic at the very most.    With multiple kids, this still gets hectic.  Model collaboration and include your kids in the logistical planning.

2.  Live Vicariously through your children.  If you have always wanted to dance or play piano, take lessons.  Don’t put your child in them.  If your child is interested in a sport that you also love, remember to help, not push.  I was the soccer coach whose kid was pulling grass and doing cartwheels.  If I hadn’t coached, the 12 kids on the team would not have been able to play.  I focused on fun and teamwork and everyone had a great year.  I didn’t force the Khan to play and he hasn’t played since.  It’s not his thing and that’s okay.

3.  Don’t model appropriate relationships with authority figures.  Let the teacher teach.  Let the coach coach.  DH was a soccer coach for Squidward when Squid was in third grade.   Hubby had three simple rules:  Work hard, have fun and dress for practice like you dress for games – in other words wear your shin guards.  A boy showed up for practice without them and was benched.  He threatened to leave and was told that, if he did, he’d be off the team.  His mother confronted the coach, my husband, and said the same “We’ll just leave”.  She was told that, if that was her choice, she needn’t return.  What lesson did that teach the boy?  The mother insinuated that the child was in control and did not need to respect the adult.

How many times has your child explained a low grade with “The teacher just hates me”.  Are you sure?  When you meet with teachers, are you prepared for conflict or collaborative discussion?  The last time I heard that phrase, I responded with “Of course she does.  You’re wasting her time every single day.  She works hard to try to teach you and you ignore her and don’t do your assignments.  She’d rather fill your spot in class with someone interested in being there.”

4.  Have low expectations.  I do not pay for lunches online.  My children take a check to school.  It is their responsibility to pay that bill.  I do not make my childrens’ beds.  I expect them to be made every day and bedrooms to be clean.  At this moment, I am looking at a filthy kitchen that my son will be cleaning when he gets home.  You make a mess, you clean it.  You want a drivers’ license, you follow the rules.  Demonstrate that you can manage your time and resources and carry a B average.  Not. Negotiable.  (Causing strain in my home to be certain, but not. negotiable.)

5. Don’t do your homework.  Take the kid’s word for it.  I learned a valuable lesson in this yesterday.  My 8th grader spent the day in the in-school suspension room yesterday after he punched another kid in the face.  Turns out this other boy had been insulting my son’s ethnicity for almost a year.  “You eat cats and dogs.” “You’re a loser.” Every day things were “fine” at school while at the same time my son had become more determined to take Tae Kwon Do lessons and be homeschooled.  My son is being bullied because he is Asian.  I didn’t see it.  Now I must make it stop.

We are stationed at a small base next to a small town with a small school full of small-minded people.  I am open to suggestions.  Where do I begin?

I did e-mail this note to the principal (names changed to protect my son’s identity)

Good Morning,

Thank you again for letting me know about the incident with The Emperor this morning.  As I have been thinking about it, there are some signs that the problem is more serious and possibly widespread.  The Emperor has been asking repeatedly to take Tae Kwon Do classes and to be home schooled.  Those strike me as signs that him being bullied is a much larger problem than we’re aware of.

Are there elements of the curriculum within the district that address inclusion and aim to stop racism, sexism and all other kinds of -isms that are threaded through our society, more so in small-town Sparta than other places I fear, but are absolutely unacceptable?  How does the district teach tolerance?

What is the long-term plan for the boy that The Emperor has said is bullying him?  How many other victims are in the school?   Are all the other nonwhite kids at risk too?

(I apologize but being angry leads to run-on sentences)

How long do I wait for a response?  What would your next steps be?

Military Spouse Quiz

Not in tune with the “tone” of my blog and probably not appealing to my “Niche”, but I love quizzes and memes and I know you’re dying to know this stuff (if you don’t already).
The Milspouse Quiz

1. How did you and your spouse meet?

We worked together at my first job in 1984 at a retail store.  I was there a grand total of about 3 weeks.    We ran into one another again eight years later and it gets a little weird for a bit and then it got awesome, but that’s another blog.

2. How old were you when you two met?

I was 16, he was 20.

3. How long have you been together?

We have been together 18 years, married 17 of them.

4. Where are you and your spouse originally from?

Sparta Wisconsin.

5. How did you feel about him joining the military?

He was a reservist when we started dating.  I’m proud of him, but I had nothing to do with it.  The AGR decision, when we made it, was an easy one.  It’s been a very good thing for our family.

6. Where did your spouse go to Basic Training?

Fort Leonard Wood, MO.  AIT was Ft. Lee, VA

7. Has your spouse ever been deployed?

Yes.  Kuwait and Iraq 2005-2006

8. Ever been to his promotion ceremony?

I pinned him for E-7, E-8 and E-9.  It’s an honor I’m glad he gives me.
9. How long have you been a military wife?

Since my ex was also military, 23 years.

10. Did you marry him before or after he joined?

8 years after.

11. How did your husband propose?

We had been living together and just knew we’d get married.  A friend sent us rings and when they arrived in the mail, he met me in the kitchen after work with them in his hand.  Kind of a non-proposal, but it’s his way and it works.

12. Where did you get married?

We were married in my mother-in-law’s living room.

13. How old were you two when you got married?

I was 26 and he was 30.

14. Did he wear his uniform on his wedding day?

No.  I’d like to renew our vows and get him in the monkey suit someday.  My gosh, he looks good with all his chest candy on.

15. Where are you and your spouse currently stationed?

A place we shall refer to as Fort McFun.  The worst Army base in the world.

16. Do you live on base?

Yes.

17. How long were you married when you had to go through your first separation?

We were apart for AT every year.   So since before we were technically married.  He deployed just before our 11th anniversary.
18. What is your favorite base so far?

Of  the places we’ve been stationed:  Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  Of those we’ve visited:  Schofield Barracks.

19. Do you think your spouse looks good in his uniform? l

Breathtaking.  Even in PFU 😉

20. Do you think military life is more advanced than civilian life?

I don’t understand this question.  Advanced?  No.  Do I think successful military families are more adaptable, inclusive and flexible?  Yes.

21. Do you like the benefits you receive as a military dependent?

Some.  Some I’d happily do without.  I love a good commissary and the insurance is nice.

22. Do you have a lot of a military wife friends?

Yes.  And I am thankful for every single one of them.  It does get hard sometimes because of politics and rank structures.  I always wonder now if people are nice to me because I’m me or because my husband is their husband’s boss (some of this is my own insecurity).  So most, but not all,  of my milspouse friends’ hubbies are not and have never been in his chain of command.

23. What is the hardest part of the military life?

We are an AGR family.  The hardest part is the huge differences in assignments.  No post to crappy post to huge (but crappy) post to awesome post to crappy post.  The second hardest is the differences in schools for the kids.  The emperor has had the same block of instruction three times because of school changes.

24. Do you own military wife stuff?

I abhor military wife stuff.  Our one thing is a “Home is Where the Army Sends Us” sign.  I kind of love that.
25. Do you support your spouse as a member of the military?

I support my husband as the man that he is.  The military is one part of that, certainly.  The whole package is pretty good.

Okay, meme-lovers, it’s your turn.  I’m looking at you Heather.

Easy Canvas Prints Product Review

I will confess that I love writing product reviews.  I love to try new things and, hopefully, keep other people from spending money foolishly.  Simple Solutions, remember?

Recently I was contacted by Easy Canvas Prints and offered an opportunity to review their product:  your pictures printed on canvas.Why would you print pictures on canvas?  Why would  you not?  Printing on canvas turns your favorite portraits into a full-fledged work of art.    I no longer have the canvas I ordered for my trial – DH commandeered it for his office – but I chose this photo to be mounted on an 8×10 Canvas print:

From 2011-07-07

General Comments:  I loved the look of the canvas print.  This was my first but canvas prints are classy and durable.  I know it’s going to be great on DH’s office wall.  I might have liked the mirror image wrap option better but I do tend to second-guess myself about these things.  Another option is to choose a border color and not worry about the image wrap.  A friend who saw the picture preferred that option.

However, I got an 8×10 print and for a picture with so many people in it, I think it was a bit small.  I talked myself out of an 11 x 14 inch size and this was a mistake.  When you order your own print, keep the “busyness” of the image in mind.  A single subject or a pair would be fine on 8 x10, but more than that and I’d say go bigger and you’ll be happier.

Shipping: The shipping was fast and easy.  The company was very easy to work with.  For my military readers who like to patronize military friendly businesses, Easy Canvas Prints is connected to BuildASign.com who may or may not have given you your free welcome home banner (I know some who have done this and equally as many who have not ordered a banner to welcome their warrior home).  This year, they donated more than 10,000 banners to returning military members.  *Standing Ovation*.

Pricing:  Canvas prints start as low as $39.99 for an 8×8 print.  You can choose to go as large as 30×40 for less than $200.  I cannot stress enough that these prints are a very classy addition to your decor and well worth the price.

But WAIT!  There’s More!  

Currently Easy Canvas Prints is offering 25% off all sizes and free shipping!  This makes the 8×8″ print just $29.99 SHIPPED!

Also, I have 4-$10 gift cards to give to smart and lucky LisaSharp.com readers.  To win, just leave me a comment telling me who on your gift list would love a canvas print!  Also, if you like me on FB and Easy Canvas Prints on FB, that”ll get you two more chances.    This giveaway ends Monday, November 21 at midnight.

Good Luck!

 

Disclosure:  I did receive a free 8×10 canvas print to review and provide my honest opinion.  

How (Not) to be a Good Military Wife

I begin this post with a standing ovation to my heroes in uniform and the men and women serving beside them but carrying the title of “Military Spouse”.  I know that both jobs, at times, can be equally difficult and equally rewarding.  However, there are certain missteps that no self-respecting military spouse should make.  Here they are:

 

1.  Being a military spouse can be very confusing.  Yes, it is a lifestyle for your family.  But at the end of the day, it is just a job.  Your spouse’s job.  Yes, it requires long periods of separation, deployments, frequent moves etc.  but it is a job. You need to put your grown up undies on and deal with it.  If you don’t, it will make you crazy!

2.  It is no more appropriate for you to contact his boss directly than it is for him to contact yours.  If you are in a social setting or at a social function, it is not okay to talk about your husband’s career with his boss or, for that matter, anyone in his chain of command.  Commiserating between spouses is acceptable.  Sometimes.

3.  Take all that shit off your car.  Ditch the ACU purse and the “Proud Army Wife” t-shirt.  It’s called opsec.  Not advertising.  Besides, I haven’t seen anything of that genre that isn’t tacky as hell.

4.  “Don’t confuse my rank with your authority” is a myth.  You have no rank, you have no authority.  Period.  Your position as household six does not put you in his official command structure.  NEVER NEVER NEVER call your husband’s boss to bitch about anything.  Trust me when I say your beloved will thank you for it.  All these calls do is cause complications and get your loved ones’ mates thinking he’s whipped and ineffective.  “Does your wife make all your decisions?”  If you’re calling his chain of command, the answer to that is a hard to disprove “yes”.

5.  Support your local family programs.  There is strength in numbers and the friendships you will make during your spouse’s career are invaluable.  Just like in every situation, these social groups are what you make of it.  If you don’t like it, put yourself out there and change it.  Use your powers for good!

6.  Take time to pursue your own interests and stay your own person.  Work if it suits you, get an education, volunteer.  Keep your marketable skills sharp.  You never know when you might need them.  Do not vest yourself so fully in your spouse’s career, that you neglect your own.

7. Manage your money wisely.  Be a fully informed partner in your financial future.  There are lots of benefits to military life.  Familiarize yourself with them and use them to the max!

8.  The very best advice I can give you is to treat people the way the way you expect to be treated.  Not everyone will be nice to you but you will still like the person looking back at you in the mirror.  Also, if you notice that EVERYONE is being a bitch, it’s not them.  It’s you.