8.05.2010

Trading Places

Wife on the Roller Coaster from Riding the Roller Coaster is one of my all-time favorite people and bloggers in the entire world. No kidding. She is an incredibly talented writer and I can't wait until she writes a book so I can buy it. Love you woman!






"Last year I went on vacation without my husband. I had no choice. His schedule was constantly changing, and I was running out of time to visit my parents before summer ended and my son started school. When I booked the plane reservations, I had every reason to believe my husband wouldn’t be home, that he would be off on yet another work-related trip. But a week after cashing in my frequent flyer miles, his schedule changed yet again and his travel was canceled. Some wives might have called off their plans and stayed home with their husbands. I did not. I selfishly went on vacation anyway, leaving my husband to fend for himself for 2 weeks at home.

For the first day or two of my luxurious vacation at my parents’ house, I felt guilty for allowing myself to be pampered while my husband was sitting at home alone. But then I started to consider it a learning experience. Not for me. For him. For the first time, HE was the one being left behind as his spouse packed up and said good-bye. As I continued to enjoy my vacation and my husband continued to call my cell phone multiple times a day, I couldn’t help but wonder: Could my husband do what I do as a
military spouse? I have no doubt that I could never jump into his boots and perform his duties as a service member. But could he do my job? Could he cope with the emptiness of living in his own home without the one person who makes that home complete? Could he overcome that loneliness and take responsibility for the daily upkeep of a household? Could any of our courageous men brave life on the home front? I’m not so sure.

When I returned from my vacation, I was interested to see what state of disarray my house was in. I was pleasantly surprised to see no laundry scattered on the floor of the family room. No dirty dishes in the sink. No newspapers spread across the coffee table. No overflowing trash can. Maybe I had underestimated my husband. And then I opened the refrigerator. There was no milk. There were no leftover meals. In fact, there wasn’t a whole lot of anything but beer. Then I ventured into our bedroom. I didn’t expect him to make the bed, but I was shocked when I saw that the bed was not only unmade, but it was covered with dirty clothes, books, and his laptop. It looked like a bomb had exploded in our room. It was a disaster area.

Although I’d never confess to finding the humor in giving my husband a taste of his own medicine, I did think it was beneficial for him to temporarily walk in my shoes. When we later talked about my absence, he admitted how lonely he was sleeping in our bed without me. He told me he purposely stayed at work late to try to postpone coming home to an empty house. (He also admitted that he ate out for almost every meal and that he had to do a mega clean-up before I came home because he hadn’t lifted a finger the entire time to pick up after himself.) I felt like, after all these years of trying to express to him how his career-induced separations affected my life, he finally understood. He finally got it. And now, on some basic level, he could finally appreciate and empathize with what I go through at home without him.

If those 2 weeks (and those incessant phone calls!) were any indication of how my husband would handle being a military spouse, my theory was confirmed. I wasn’t the only one in our marriage who would fail miserably if we traded places. My husband may be the brave military man who makes me proud to be his wife, but he had proven he could never hack it as a military spouse.

What do you think? Could your husband handle trading places with you?"

14 comments:

Mrs. Doc Handsome said...

I absolutely loved this post because we have talked about this numerous times and come to the same comclusion. It's so refreshing to hear another military spouse talk about the same things. P.S. Good for you on letting your hubby fend for himself for a bit =]

Mel said...

Without a doubt, no! I think we'd both be good at aspects of each others jobs, but neither of us would shine at it like the other. Great post! :)

Jamie said...

I love this post. Good for you for still going on vacation and enjoying yourself. You deserve it, and if we let the military dictate every little thing... well we'd really *never* be able to make any plans!

Jen said...

sssuuuuuch A great post!!! I agree with your theory, just like I wouldn't be able to cut it in his shoes, I don't think my husband would be able to survive in mine!

JG said...

Wow, I've never really thought about this before, but you make an interesting point. I think all the time, when I hear about all the training SoldierMan is going through, "That's why I'M not the soldier!" But I've never thought of it the other way around. :) This will give us something to talk about this weekend.

L.C. said...

LOVE THIS! OMG I want to do this to my husband SO BAD! I think it would be a nice eye opener for him :)

Jessica Lynn said...

This came at a perfect time! My husband just returned from a deployment only to get orders for a TDY three weeks later.

Well, within those three weeks, my best friend called to say she bought a ticket to come out and see me.....WWWHHHHAAAATTT? I almost told her to cancel her trip out here, because I wanted to spend time with my husband, after all, he just got back.

Long story short, my best friend and I spent a week in Florida and my husband stayed home. He said he understood what it was like when he leaves me all the time and I think he found another level of appreciation for what I (we) do.

The Wifey said...

Hubby and I have been having this discussion a lot more lately. He has admitted that he can't do what I do everyday with the girls. And there is no way I could do what he does.

Wife on the Roller Coaster said...

Thanks for the wonderful comments ladies! And a special thank you to Mrs. S for allowing me to guest blog today. Such fun!!! You rock.

Maranda said...

It's so funny how the soldiers fare without us around. I don't think they could ever do "our job." The Hubble was in NY on his own for a while before we moved to our current duty station and he went to a club every Saturday and slept in his car so as not to be alone. Poor guys just can't hack it.

Great post!

Chantal said...

Hi, I'm a new reader!

This post made me realize something - my husband doesn't know what to do when I'm not around. Seriously, I went to a book club meeting for two hours and he gave me a helpless look and said "What am I supposed to do?" Now I realize why it made me confused. I'm used to doing things without him, because when he's home, I'm home. But when he's not home, I'm still home, but just by myself. It's a wonder he survives without me! ;)

annoyed army wife said...

Too funny! My husband got left behind when I went to a friend's bachelorette out of town. I think I got about 27 phone calls the first day asking where stuff was and how to do things. Then when I got back I heard about all the disasters that happened. I hugged my poor husband and made him a decent meal, but smiled behind his back because now he knows what it's like. :)

pafkwf said...

Love this post. It confirms what I already knew...No, my husband could not swap shoes. After many years of marriage, he still thinks the magic fairy replenishes his dirty clothes!

Team Mama said...

When my kids were little (Cody was maybe 7 or 8, Cassidy maybe 2) I went for a week to visit my brother in California. Although Matt had been in the Army, he was not at this time, but traveled frequently and worked long hours. I left him home with 4 kids for a week! He assured me it would be no problem- he could handle it. When I got home, he sheepishly admitted that it was a LOT harder than he'd thought! Sometimes we have to leave them on their own just to remind them of how much we do for them every day that they just don't notice! Then they don't come home and ask, "What did you DO today?" Great post!