“Can’t We All Just Get Along?”

Those are the words my dad would say to me any time I had a falling out with one of my “friends” in high school. Until one time I came home from school, my senior year, crying because one of my best friends called me fat. My dad listened, and when I was finished I waited for him to say “Can’t we all just get along?” with a snide smile. Instead he replied: “Why don’t you go to school tomorrow and tell her that you can lose weight, but she’ll always be ugly?” Before I could pick my jaw up from the ground, he came back with some of the best advice I’ve ever been given: “Do you think she’s at home crying over this too?” No. No she wasn’t. So I splashed my cold water on my face and got over it.

I thought I was done with mean girls after high school, until I married Craig and was introduced to the world of military spouses. Don’t get me wrong, the true friends I have in this world are unparalleled; they’re there through thick and thin. There’s a reason why I refer to my good friends as my “military family.” But beyond that, there are lots of mean girl military spouses. Not in the military? Here’s an example: a few years ago, I went to a party hosted by one of the families in Craig’s new squadron. He had been in the squadron for a little while, but it was the first event I had been able to attend. When we walked into the room there was a group of maybe eight senior military wives talking together. As if out of a movie, they all looked at me, then immediately turned to each other and began gossiping about me…within an arm’s reach. Ouch.

Until recently, I had (happily) never heard the term “Dependapotamus.” Yikes. While I’ve heard horror stories of spouses cheating during a deployment, the way this term is used to describe wives in general is pretty sad. Yesterday, I was reading through a well-meaning Facebook post promoting the Military Spouse of the Year nominations, and references to Dependas were rampant. Graphics were posted, people were tossing insults and all I don’t think my eyes could have opened any wider. (One said something along the lines of: “I could give you some tips on that, but you’d probably just sugar coat them and eat them!” First of all, that’s incredibly clever. Secondly, it would have been hurtful if the person she replied to had been dealing with body image issues.)

Listen, it’s the start of a new year, and I think we should stop being so hard on each other. Let’s not judge one another on who works too much, too little, doesn’t spend enough time with their kids (in our outsider opinions), etc. I’m guilty of it in the past, but I am making a promise to myself that I won’t be that way ever again. Y’all with me?!

And to those that may be feeling badly, consider this: anyone can be brave behind a computer. If you are a good person and your family is happy, you should sleep well tonight. And remember, those mean girls aren’t at home crying, so you shouldn’t be either. You are loved! :)

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