OK, fair is fair.
I’ve devoted two blogs to a critique of the new LifetimeTV series “Army Wives.” In both I praised the show but acknowledged a few inaccuracies.
Equal time now: The second-to-last episode of “Army Wives” was terrific! It dealt with the very real issue of wives trying to maintain their own identities while being married to soldiers.
It explored the theme through the lives of the main characters. Roxy started saving for her own bar/restaurant until Trevor burst her balloon by telling her they would keep moving around since he planned to stay in the Army. Pam’s new gig as a radio show host was met with a less-than-enthusiastic response by her husband Chase because he disliked her talking about their personal life over the air. Conflict flared again between LTC Joan Burton and her civilian husband because her career demands preclude starting the family that he wants. Denise Sherwood resumed her RN training and her husband resents that she can’t attend some Army functions with him.
Not a lot of high drama, shootings, or hostage situations but an intense, emotional, and thought-provoking script nonetheless. I found myself nodding a lot and thinking “We’ve had that same conversation at my house.”
Years ago I was with a group of unit wives and quoted this from an email: “The Army can’t grasp the concept of a two career marriage.” Wow, did that unleash an avalanche of emotional responses from the coffee group. Clearly it was the common frustration for military spouses. Smart, savvy women with considerable skills and talents want the structure, socialization, and stimulation of work, not to mention the paycheck, but have to manage this while moving every 2-3 years and solo parenting for long stretches.
I devoted two stories to this struggle in my book Household Baggage (”A Patchwork Resume” p.157 and “Confessions of a Complaining Military Wife” p.59). Kathie Hightower and Holly Scherer co-wrote a book on the subject (HELP! I’m a Military Spouse- - I Get a Life Too!). Military Spouse Magazine features an informative article for job-seeking spouses in just about every issue.
It’s a relevant and timely subject for modern women who juggle multiple and often competing demands of partner, parent, and person.
To its credit, “Army Wives” didn’t tie up everything neatly at the end of the hour but left the couples with open questions, loose ends, and uneasy compromises. We’ve done that at my house too since there are no easy solutions.
We’ll see how the Army Wives deal with it in season two.