Addressing the “Dependapotamus” Label

I saw this on the Secrets of Schofield Barracks page today (by the way, I think over half of the stuff is posted on there by trolls anyway, there is no possible way this much indiscretion is happening on one post):

“Dependapotamous- wife who’s daily exercise involves moving from the bed to the couch and vice versa and working out her lips over the phone… A wife who feels a woman shouldn’t give bjs or anything else exciting with her body in the bedroom but expects it. Who’s excuse for getting a job or going to school is always the baby… Who’s idea of cooking is a 20 min meal where the stove does all the work or cleaning is kicking crap out the way for me to take care of when I get home, along with laundry etc… Who feels a man should love her despite her growing size and lack of contribution. I’m faithful, I works 12hrs a day, takes care of my child when I come home, can cook and can clean tho I’m not a dirty man. Sex is being handed out everywhere else, And I communicates this on the daily… So someone please answer me this (excluding working couples).. other than tax breaks what is the benefits of a man marrying anyone?”

Picture courtesy of Sheena's Styles Artistry - this is a Marine wife who drew this.

Picture credit: Sheena’s Styles Artistry – this is a Marine wife who drew this.

I just want to address this term really quick.  Trust me, I have a healthy sense of humor, but this term, and various other “dependa” terms get thrown around a lot in the military community right now, and, for once, I actually find it offensive and as soon as I hear someone say it, I instantly think they’re ignorant.  This isn’t to say that I don’t have a sense of humor about myself, and it was funny at first, but it’s morphed into the c u next Tuesday of military spouse terms, and is usually not used in a joking manner, but flung at someone as a means to whittle down their self esteem.

Here’s the deal: I went to college before I met my husband.  Due to my brother passing away, lack of ability to focus, and being placed on academic probation so I couldn’t get financial aid, I came home.  After four years, I finally was able to pay back what I owed to the college, and finished my degree through Washington State University’s distance learning program, which had to be tailored to me because I only had a semester left, and one of those classes was my undergraduate seminar where you can only take it on campus, but my wonderful adviser agreed to mentor me, so I could do it and finish my degree.  I received my B.A. in History with a concentration in Philosophy in December 2007, ten months after marrying my husband.  In February, I found a good job, and worked at that job for 2 1/2 years.  In 2009, after my husband left for his second deployment, I started work on my Master’s degree.  Because he was deployed, and I had no idea if we were going to be staying in the area, online was my best option.  In May 2011, I earned my M.A. in Military History with a concentration in World War II.  I quit my job in June 2010 because of what boils down to military politics and a work environment that wasn’t good for me.  I wanted to focus on school anyway, so it worked out.

Before we ever got married, we discussed my staying at home once we had kids.  I had no idea I had PCOS at the time, and it took much longer to get pregnant than we anticipated.  We knew we wanted kids, though, and I went through all the tests I needed to do for infertility, and we got pregnant after my second round of Clomid.  I think the day we found I was pregnant was one of the best in our marriage.  I should also note that PCOS makes it incredibly difficult to lose weight.  I am not happy about the size I am right now, but I also simply do not have time right now to work out.  The best I’ve looked in years was while I was pregnant because my hormones balanced out, and my metabolism started working the way it was supposed to, but when I stopped producing milk, I went back to gaining weight, and I’m where I was at before I got pregnant.

In the meantime, I stayed at home.  I’m not always diligent about keeping myself busy all the time, but the house was always clean.  There were plenty of times that I just didn’t feel like cooking, so we went out to eat.  I will say, however, that I am a loving wife, faithful to my husband, and I take our marriage vows seriously.  “Divorce” is a word that will never be on the table for us unless there is violence or cheating, which I don’t foresee ever happening in our future.  Aside from us taking our marriage seriously, we’re both just too damn lazy to even try to cheat, and we truly respect each other so I just don’t think domestic violence is in our future either.

I HATE that others would dare to judge a person’s marriage from what they see on the outside.  Being a stay at home mom is a decision that our family made, and it’s no one else’s business but our own.  It was important to us for our kids to have a parent at home, especially during their first years, because we simply didn’t want a daycare provider raising our kids.  I see how happy Jonathan is when Paul gets home from work, and how it’s difficult on Paul to only get to spend 2-3 hours with him before he goes to bed at night.  At the end of last week, he found out that he was going to be working 12 hour shifts from Sunday through Thursday, and he was more angry about missing out on a weekend day with Jonathan than anything else.  I can’t even entertain the thought of working right now because it would mean he would spend the majority of his waking time with someone outside our family, and we’re just not okay with that.  With a toddler in the house, it is so difficult to keep everything clean and have the time to cook.  I’m so busy taking care of my son that I often FORGET to eat throughout the day, so by the time my husband gets home, I’m starving.  I try to cook a homemade meal for us each night, but it is FINE to skip a night here and there.  That doesn’t make me a “dependa,” it makes me an intelligent woman who has elected to put her family first because, let’s be real here, my husband simply CANNOT do that right now.  For him, the Army comes first.  It’s something we both understand, and one of us needs to be able to focus on our family, so that job falls to me.

I know this is a hot “Mommy war” topic, but this is just what is important to OUR family.  I want to be the one teaching my son right from wrong.  I want to be the one disciplining my son.  And I do feel that it’s no wonder that kids these days are so disrespectful.  Yes, I have a degree.  An advanced degree.  God forbid, if something were to happen to Paul, though, I’d be able to support myself and my son, and that’s just one of many reasons that my mom stressed education while I was growing up.  My mom was a stay at home mom, and is a homemaker now, and my brother and I were all the better for it.  We never felt resentment, we knew my mom loved us, and we knew my dad loved us because he was willing to work hard to make sure we were taken care of, and that includes working so my mom could be at home with us.  My mom’s entire life revolved around us, and isn’t that the way parenting should be?  Don’t get me wrong, we deserve a break every now and then, but my son is my world.  Being a mom is not easy.  I don’t sit around stuffing my face with bon bons all day.  I chase my toddler around the house trying to keep him from breaking everything or breaking his head.  He’s growing more independent, but still likes to have mommy close by.  Even when he’s content playing by himself, he’ll walk to up to me every 30 minutes or so, and just touch my arm.  He’s just making sure I’m still there, so reward him with a smile and a kiss, and he goes on his merry way.  I can’t imagine not having those interactions with him on a daily basis.

And don’t get me started on the sex here.  I don’t understand what kinds of relationships these people have where they feel their bodily needs NEED to be taken care of.  These people go on and on about how a woman should be working to contribute to the family income, yet they insist on perpetuating an archaic and unrealistic ideal that requires women to be “dutiful” in the marriage bed combined with a more modern twist of needing to be a porn star in bed.  What is going on in these twisted minds?  I am by no means a feminist, but you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.  It’s okay for a woman to be tired when she gets home from work.  It’s okay for a woman to be tired after spending the whole day chasing after the kids.

Now there ARE military wives out there who marry for the benefits, cheat their way up the rank structure, wear their husband’s rank, and just generally act a fool, but I really do believe they are in the minority.  I’ve been around the Army for a long time.  I can probably count on one hand how many wives truly fit the “dependapotomus” description.  I will say that hearing this term, and seeing how wives on this post bully each other over everything is just sad.  In the past week, I’ve seen military wives bully other military wives about how they look when they drop their kids off at school, what they wear, how much they weigh, their general looks.  Frankly, this behavior is disgusting.  I can only conclude that most of these wives are younger, and have nothing better to do with their time than gossip, which, in turn, makes me feel bad for their kids and husbands because they have to live with these pieces of work.  If you’re reading this, and you’re guilty of doing this, please stop.  Most people reading your drivel think that you’re ignorant, and you probably are if you have to make fun of others to feel better about yourself.  The bullying epidemic in this country is reaching staggering proportions, and they’re learning it from parents like these.

So, in closing, my contribution to our family is raising our son and any future kids we have the right way.  All the other stuff is peripheral.  Luckily, I am usually pretty diligent about keeping the house clean anyway, and I love cooking, but I also think my husband is awesome for helping out with laundry or grilling every once in a while.  I will continue to treat others the way I want to be treated, and show respect for those around me.  I’m not perfect, and no one is, but I have a happy marriage, an amazing family, and the wisdom to ignore the nastiness spewing out of these peoples’ mouths on a daily basis.


7 thoughts on “Addressing the “Dependapotamus” Label

  1. Why should you let the dependapotami talk get to you if you’re not one? WE know who they are, and so do you. So lets us bitch about it and blow off some steam, because we’re the ones having to deal with the pajama wearing hood rat giving us attitude, or the uppity officers wife demanding a salute.

    • I think there are healthier ways to “deal” with those people that don’t involve tearing them down for our own amusement. It’s petty, immature, and doesn’t paint normal military wives as a tolerant or caring bunch. We’re all going through the same stuff. Those types of military wives are attention seekers, and the best way to deal with them is to ignore them completely. We are in such a minority due to the lifestyle we live, and people outside of it simply don’t understand everything we go through. As such a small community, we should be supporting one another and practicing compassion because kindness begets kindness. We should be empowering one another, not trying to prove that you’re a worthwhile person because you do xyz for your soldier.

    • There are officer wives that demand a salute?! If this happened to me, I would have laughed in her face. I’m a combat veteran of 2 campaigns, 1st Chemical Company in the Army to deploy to Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom; that is why I would laugh in her face so hard that my almost 2yr old would be following along.

      • There are, but it’s not something that I would get bent out of shape about. While I was growing up in the Army, the MPs would salute when they saw that blue sticker. Most posts and most officers’ wives have really worked hard to make sure to drive home that spouses have no rank, but there are always a few that try to pass down the “old school” traditions. It’s not many officers’ wives by any means. I know many officers’ wives that are incredibly down to earth and just great people, so I don’t stereotype by rank.

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