You’ve single-handedly run your household on your own for months. Moved across the country by yourself, wrangled the kids, pets and any number of other issues that have popped up along the way. Yet, when it comes down to it, as far as the DoD is concerned your just a dependent. It doesn’t matter if you are employed and raking in more than your service member, or if you are the one doing all of the household management and then some. You’re “just” a dependent.
de·pend·ent/dəˈpendənt/nounnoun: dependent; plural noun: dependents; noun: dependant; plural noun: dependants
- a person who relies on another, especially a family member, for financial support.
Does that sound like you?
Raise your hand if you have ever lost a job because of a PCS? Raise your hand if you’ve ever been unable to find work at your new duty station because it’s in the boondocks or overseas. Raise your hand if you’ve ever had employment but had to give it up to be a caregiver, or because child care cost your salary. Raise your hand if you are working an entry-level, low wage job because that’s all that’s available at your duty station?
That’s what I thought.
Military Spouses Aren’t Dependents.
We are entrepreneurs who build businesses to support our families and our careers in the face of frequent moves and deployments.
We are the ones left behind, paying the bills, fixing the things, dealing with family issues, and basically running the family on our own while our other half is deployed.
We are mothers giving birth alone, and facing one of the biggest challenges of our lives alone.
We are daughters far from home, standing on our own two feet in the face of the unknown.
We are sisters missing family events, as we hold down our home on the home-front.
We are many things, but dependent isn’t one of them.Click To Tweet
Where we live may and how often we see our spouse may be at the whims of the DoD, but the rest of our lives are not. We can and do embrace and overcome the challenges before us to make our lives work for us. We struggle and fight to bring our goals to life and provide the best possible life for our families. We handle so much so often alone, sometimes, yes, completely alone. We are in every sense of the word independent. Our dependence often comes merely from a title, and a time when spouses of military members were not expected to have lives outside the home. We were homemakers.
Those are not the times we live in. We live in a time where it is often not just wanted, but completely necessary, to have two breadwinners. Not just for self-fulfillment, but to meet the basic needs of your family. All too often military families are not able to achieve this.
So why are we dependents? In the civilian world, when I’m on another’s insurance policy I am not a dependent. They are the policy holder, and I a covered individual. So why does this terminology exist only in the military world? Isn’t it time to break free from this confining and out-dated “title”? Why not call it like it is? Family member. We are a family, we are family members. Seems simple enough, right?
It’s your turn, what’s your take on the term dependent? Share your thoughts in the comments.