I had all these plans today for a nice, uplifting post. Something harmless and “feel good”.
Right. I have to get this one off my chest.
I often feel like there is a sort of code of ethics among mil-spouses. Usually this is a good thing, generally speaking I think that military spouses are wonderful, giving people who totally get the weirdness that the military can throw at you.
After today, however, I’m realizing that no, we don’t all have the same code. I have an acquaintance. I wouldn’t even call her a friend, really, I don’t know her all that well. Her husband just retired from a service other than the Army. She and her husband go to the same church that we do, and to give you the full extent of our relationship they have had me over for dinner once, and I invited their youngest daughter to the dutchkid’s small birthday get together.
About two weeks ago, I got a random phone call from her. Asking if I would watch her child for the weekend (two days from the day she called me), so she and her husband could go to a marriage conference. Thankfully I didn’t answer the phone directly, so I had time to eloquently word my response, which otherwise probably would’ve been an incredulous, “Are you serious?” I thought it was really strange. I have a deployed husband, and am a full time student, and you think I would like to have an extra kid for the whole weekend? While saying no to her on the phone, she then drops, “Oh, ok, N. can always stay with her Grandma.” WTH? Why would you even ask me then? It puts me in an awkward position to tell you no.
Dh thought I was being a little over the top in how outraged I was (I even vented on facebook). I made myself a mental note to steer clear of them and cross them off my “call in a bind” list. I don’t want owe them anything, if you know what I mean.
Then, yesterday she called me and asked me to come to dinner. I couldn’t think of an excuse fast enough, so I agreed for next week. It didn’t even take a day for that to come back to bite me. She called this morning, and thankfully I was in class and didn’t answer. Could I watch N. for the afternoon tomorrow? And to let her know if I couldn’t, because otherwise she would plan on me.
Of course I flipping can’t! I have class for one, and even if I didn’t on that day, I don’t want to be your babysitter! To top it off, her husband is still in the post-retirement phase of figuring out what he’s doing (read: he’s home all day). She also has a teenage daughter who is old enough to keep track of her little sister for the afternoon.
I don’t get it. I’m wondering if she thinks because I have just one kid (she has four) that I can easily add another. Or maybe she thinks our kids are best buddies? (they’re not, this little girl isn’t even on the dutchkid’s radar). And maybe I AM being unreasonable, but it’s starting to piss me off. Don’t get me wrong, I will go out of my way to help a friend in a bind, especially a friend with a deployed husband. I think it’s because I know that she has many resources (and a husband) around, and I view those type of things as a big favor. It makes me mad because while I might forgive that from a civilian, I feel like she should know better than to ask.
See Military Spouse Ethical Code Article 2c: never try to take advantage of someone whose spouse is deployed.