We are now three months into Guard life. So far that hasn’t meant too much as Ben has only had a couple of drills. However, I have learned some things I didn’t know. There were a few things I assumed about the Guard that I found out worked a little differently than I thought they would. I also almost titled this post, “What I Have Learned About Having A Husband In The National Guard: Part One” because I know that I will learn even more as the months go on.
So here goes:
1) How much you get paid. I assumed that every time Ben had drill, he would get paid the amount that is stated on some of the pay calculators. This is not true. They get paid by the amount of drill periods they complete. Each period is 4 hours. So if he works for 8 hours he would get two drill periods worth of pay. This is of course less than the full amount of pay we were thinking it would be.
2) How long they are gone on a monthly basis. When I used to hear people talk about drill weekends, I thought that meant they left Friday and you saw them again Sunday. Now I am sure this probably happens but it hasn’t been our experience so far. He has had two one day drills. As I look at the upcoming calendar I see a mix of different types of “drill weekends.” I really didn’t realize it would be like that. And even the first day he was gone I assumed he would walk in the door at 11pm that night. That didn’t happen although I am sure it could in the future.
3) That drill can be cancelled. This hasn’t happened to us yet but I have been hearing that it has been happening in other states. I knew it had happened during the shutdown but I didn’t know it can sometimes happen during this time of year for budget reasons.
4) How often they go. Once again, when I heard that, “Once a month” phrase, I thought it would be once a month exactly. That they would go the 1st weekend of every month. But,that is not true either. It is all over the place. Sometimes we have a few weeks in-between and other times it is a lot longer. It just depends on when the drill is scheduled for.
5) That I would slip right back into Army Wife Mode when he leaves. This is the weirdest thing for me. Even though I know he is only gone one-two days, I feel different on those days then I do during the rest of the month. Why? My husband is off doing something with the Army. It isn’t so much that I am sad or upset, I don’t exactly feel that way, it is more that I am reminded of times past. Of when he used to go away while he was active duty. It is probably because during the rest of the month, he is not in Army mode. He grows out his hair, I don’t see his uniform, we don’t deal with units or any of that. Then he gets ready for drill each month and it is reminder to me that he is still serving his country in this way. So I am sure the back and forth of it will take some getting used to.
Is your spouse in the Guard or the Reserves? What has surprised you about it? What about Active duty life? What did you assume before you became a Military spouse?