Sometimes I think being a mother is just about the most frustrating thing to be, with being a wife a close second. Sometimes the two roles are almost indistinguishable. And I truly believe the situation is made worse by the fact that I am the lone female in a family of males. It seems like they get so focused on their lives that they really do forget that I’m a person. I have become such a non-person that that they no longer pay any attention to how they even talk to me, how they say the simplist things. Corey is really bad about that and he has no recognition whatsoever of how it makes me feel. I know that he has been extremely busy with work, but I’m sorry. That’s not an excuse for being snotty to me. I haven’t created these hours for him and I have been nothing but supportive. It doesn’t take any longer to speak without the snottiness than it does to speak with it. And even if it did, I think I deserve it. But he is hardly the only one. Sometimes it isn’t even worth the resulting defensive argument and denials if I say something to any of them. Nobody ever stops to think about the meaning behind the words I am saying before they are denying or aggressively defending the snottiness. I can’t win. Either way, I am left feeling sad and alone.
I feel like I have no identity anymore other than to be somebody’s mother, somebody’s wife, somebody’s domestic diva, only there is no diva left. But the more I say about it, the more they tune me out and the worse it gets. There is always some excuse for the behavior, but there really is no justification for it. They say the words they think I want to hear, with one eye to the TV, to the Wii, to the xBox, to anything else but the chick standing in front of them. It hurts to know that the fact that I feel like I am falling apart doesn’t even register with them. It kills me, because if it weren’t for me, this family would fall apart. I take care of everyone and everything in this family, and that’s okay. But that doesn’t mean that a little appreciation and compassion wouldn’t be nice. Yes, I chose to get out of the Army and take care of my family. But it isn’t all sitting on the couch and eating candy all day. I have 4 kids and a husband. There is real work involved. And I do it for no pay, for no days off, no sick time. And usually for no thanks. And no one thinks twice about it. Do they really think that cleaning up after 5 males is FUN? That the day after day after day routine of laundry and cleaning and errands and cooking and dealing with the myriad of little things that come up isn’t mind-numbingly boring? Do they really think that it feels good to spend your life taking care of everyone else, knowing that you are never more than a distant second place, if not farther? But they don’t stop to think about those things and they don’t understand it.
When you are an Army wife, you soon learn that you never come first. At least, not in the day-to-day of things. I knew that when I was a soldier, and it is even clearer to me now. Because I was a soldier, I understand it, I accept it, and I really don’t have a problem with it. It is a necessary fact of life when you are married to the military. But at some point that soldier needs to recognize how much their spouse sacrifices, really recognize it and not just pay lip service to it. At some point that soldier needs to recognize that just because the spouse can’t always come first over Army stuff, that they should come first in their heart. A soldier needs to make that extra effort to show their spouse they come first, especially because time and opportunity can be limited. And sometimes it is those little things that make all the difference in the world between having a spouse that feels like they are nothing more than a machine, and a spouse that is happy and feels good about him or herself.