A Navy Wife Question: And what do YOU do?

Note:  Not a dog post.

This is for the Navy (or other military) wives out there.  This evening I went to a friend’s house (was not a navy wife) for dinner and while the other guests and I were chatting before dinner the question of course came up about my occupation.  I don’t understand why but as humans, we must have some sort of social obligation to find out what others do for a living.  I do understand that it is a good general conversation starter but still, isn’t there something better to ask?  To me it just feels like that is the main way to judge someone.

When I was asked, the first time I wasn’t thinking and I said “well I was working at [enter workplace name here] but I just recently quit.”  The next time I was asked I was prepared and just said “I’m a Navy wife.”  The first time I was caught off guard, the subsequent times I was prepared.

To me there is a stigma in being called a “Navy wife.”  I know most Navy wives are patriotic, supportive, and willing to do anything for their service members.  There are also those that are so gung-ho about every single thing that it is irritating — I call those the cheerleader types.  I am not saying being positive is bad, I am saying the cheerleader OVERLY positive and OVERLY enthusiastic types are annoying and get on my nerves.  Those are the ones I want to just go away.  I also know there are the wives that love their husbands but do not love their husband’s job and cannot wait until their husband’s commitment time to the military (aka jail sentence) is up.

There are all these different “types” of wives but it still boils down to being a “navy wife” and if that is all I can say, then what is the point?  To me it says that I do not have an identity separate from my husband.  By having a job or being a student that says “hey, I’m doing something with my life!”  I already have a double major and a BA in History, so I can’t say I’m a student anymore… I am not trying to bash on housewives I am just trying to say that being a housewife is NOT my thing.  If you stay home with your kids, all the power to ya!  But I do not have kids so I don’t have an excuse to be at home doing “nothing” all day…

My question to you is how do you answer this?  I also posted this question on my personal facebook page and I have already gotten a few responses.  What do you say when someone asks “what do you do”?  When I answer “I’m a Navy wife” I feel awkward saying it and to me I feel like I am saying that I do not have an identity…how do you answer this and still sound like you are your own person?  I suppose with time it will get easier, but right now it is just hard and a bit weird.

 

And for those of you keeping track, once Andrew does get his dolphins they will be gold not silver. I still thought this was a fitting image.

P.S.  I do have a couple more posts that I am planning and/or have already written partially that I would like to follow this piece.  They are navy related but not quite as difficult as this topic was…I do have a couple Corgi posts that I would like to share too. Now to just keep up with this motivation that I suddenly have!  I have fallen off on blog posting quite a bit, mostly because all the time I have to write I usually put towards writing my emails to my husband.  Those emails are like novels some days!

Stay tuned for Gwen’s big news! 😀

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4 thoughts on “A Navy Wife Question: And what do YOU do?

  1. OK, being a “navy wife” myself I totally vibe with your post, especially about the sickening gunghot types. We have a saying here in India when we encounter one of those types who tries to pull rank, “when did she start wearing her husband’s stripes!” I’d say that 90% of the wives on teh base where we live do not work. I was a navy housewife without kids, with one dog, for 4 years.OK, so i was doing a bit of freelancing but nothing seriously meaty as I had been doing for the 8 years before I became a navy wife.Like you, i was perfectly content with that as we are stationed in a place with limited opportunities for my line of work. Coming from a family of high achieving women, this was not an easy thing to explain. But i needed that time to calm down, enjoy life, relax a bit, be comfortable with what i want out of life (work to live not live to work), be the domestic goddess. 6 months ago I think I began to stagnate and I was denying that I did want to get out there. But I wanted it on my terms. Now I am back to work as a social research in public health but at my own pace and I’m very lucky to have found a job where I can dictate my schedule. Funnily enough I’m contributing to a presentation next week at a “coffee evening” ( an evening for those gungho types)about working from home opportunities. Keep blogging

  2. A little touchy, huh? You can change what you want. I take the question as ” what do you do for your money?” You are judged from there. Garbage man, rocket scientist ?

  3. I love this post. I’m not married to anyone in the military (disclaimer), but I think all women, and possibly some men, can identify with “How do you answer the REAL question, while remaining socially acceptable?” Our society does judge us by what we do, more than who we are. And occasionally, seriously stunted people look no further than our “job”. I’ve come to see this as a good thing in meeting someone: those folks put themselves on a short list right away: Not Friend Material.

    I play with the question and twist it around in a way that steers us both to “hi, my name is so-and-so and I love this (specific thing) about my life, I could tell you so much more, but what do YOU like doing with your day?”

    “Jane, and what do you do?”
    “I’m a personal slave, generally to horses with an entitlement problem, and oddly enough, I love that. But I also love to do X, Y, and Z. How about you? What do you love doing?”

    Humor helps, as does an ego that shores one up and says, “she’s a rocket scientist? Cool. I’m that experienced too, in my areas.”

    Good luck! (And thanks for dropping by.)

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