MSEJ August 2018 - Page 12

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Picking Favorites

The Military Spouse Dilemma

By: Jamie Boyle

The mom’s dilemma. The entrepreneur’s dilemma. The teacher’s dilemma. If you spend time on social media, you’ve likely seen memes tied to roles and occupations. They range from the image-laden “this is what I actually do vs. this is what others think I do” model to the

more interactive: pick three of five life priorities, no take-backs. Sleep, work, family, friends, or fitness… two of them have got to go.

Sometimes I laugh at these—after all, I’m a mom, and I’ve spent the greater majority of my life as a teacher, a writer, and a student. But there’s something amiss with these choices, and I think I have it figured out.

I’ve searched far and wide, and I still haven’t found a meme that covers the dilemma I know best. For lack of a better term, I’m calling it the Military Spouse’s Dilemma (formal title negotiable). The rules are simple. Seven categories total, you get three. Choose from the following:

Yeah, I know, those asterisks get me too. When I put them in, I debated doing it almost immediately. Not because it isn’t true. It is, that’s kind of the point.

-A clean house/compliant yard

-Your work (or what you want it to be)

-Your spouse’s work**

-Family (immediate & extended)

-Friends (in person & long distance)

-Sleep

-Exercise

** Must choose spouse's work.

As a child, I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books. As a spouse, I wish military life were more like them, where you could thumb ahead a few pages and see where your choices might land you.

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We privilege the military career. It is the given in all scenarios. Have the chance at your dream job? Most of us will ask, “How will this jive with my husband/wife’s career?” Is the duty station that’s only two hours down the road from your brother open? We wonder, “Is this a good career move?” Thinking about having kids? My husband and I literally debated whether it would be better to try to get pregnant before he left for a one-year unaccompanied tour, during R&R, or after he came back (TMI-sorry, not sorry).