The Dispatcher's Dilemma + Military Spouse Appreciation Day

The Dispatcher's Dilemma + Military Spouse Appreciation Day

Have you ever been on the phone and heard the phrase "911, what's your emergency?" If so, chances are you’re speaking with a call-taker at a dispatch center. 

Everyday life as an active duty military spouse can feel like we’re that operator. We are the teammate working behind the scenes for the ultimate good of our service members, often times trying to put the puzzle pieces together with little time and information.

Unexpected changes to deployment schedules, homecomings, and even military leave become the norm, which can make our lives feel like a game of shuffleboard.

When a call comes in, we can't say to military life, "Do you mind holding for a few minutes? I want to finish my coffee and wrap up this invoice?".

Often, like dispatchers, we military spouses deal with the residual trauma of our roles. Mental health affects many service members, as well as their spouses, and because of the stigma surrounding it, problems can creep into our marriages and everyday life, which greatly impacts our productivity and long-term professional gains.

Just last week I was talking to a military spouse friend who abruptly lost her nanny to a health issue, the nanny never revealed a problem. Things that seem like mole hills for some, end up becoming insurmountable mountains when we aren’t holding the perfectly-timed, winning hand for that week. 

Things like finding reliable childcare when you are the sole parent during a deployment and are in a new town, far away from friends and family, makes all the other small pain points extra disheartening. Let alone when your service member is unavailable for even a check-in phone call (or continues to call at the worst possible time).

These are the little things that add up into big things, and as the unstoppable military spouse Rosemary Williams once told a group of Milspo Project members, become that invisible 900-lb U-Haul we’re pulling behind us everywhere we go.

A fender bender feels way lonelier, and far more frustrating, when it is just you shouldering those insurance calls, lost work time, and budgets.

In honor of Military Spouse Appreciation Month, let’s choose us first. Let’s be kind to one another, because we are one another, and we belong to one another. 

. . . and to all the amazing military spouses out there, that most certainly includes you, thank you.

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