By Guest Contributor, Rachel Engel
It happens every time, without fail. You move to a new installation, and you put yourself out there to meet new people. After a few lunch dates, you’re starting to feel good about the potential friendship, and then the bomb drops.
GAHHHH. Head. Bang.
I’m honestly not completely opposed to the home-based business culture that military wives seem to swirl around. I get it; most of us are SAHM/WAHM wives by necessity, and being a part of those organizations allows many spouses to feel a part of the workforce while making their own hours, meeting people, and getting fun products and services. Seems like a win-win-win all the way around, right?
Not when the economy tanks, and everyone stays at the same base for years and years instead of 24 months.
Not when the market is so saturated with Scentsy consultants, that everyone is taking turns hosting a party just to order a new flavor of wax.
Not when you own so many Mary Kay mascaras and skin-softening kits, that the already-too-small cabinet under the sink in base housing is overflowing with the light pink and cream tubes.
That’s when the Facebook invite to yet another party pops up in my notifications, I can’t help but groan.
In the beginning it was worse. My husband joined at a late 23-years-old, already saddled with a few maxed out credit cards, a $300 car payment, and of course a brand-new 19-year-old wife who was not the best at handling money. We would be six days out from payday and praying our three cans of tuna and popsicles in the freezer would sustain us.
I became skilled at declining invitations, instead spending nights at home with my husband and pup. Eventually, through the years, I became better at money management, and yet… I still have no desire to attend a party every weekend where I am expected to make a purchase. Oh, they say it’s not an obligation, but how awkward is it when you just sit there while everyone is filling out the purchase forms? More awkward than watching Brangelina in Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Like I said, I support the home-based hoopla in theory, I just can’t financially support it every weekend. And, because many friendships are tied up in who attends which parties, it becomes harder and harder to make friends without knowing you will have to turn down an inevitable invitation.
My strategy? I politely decline “party” invitations, and instead invite them to a play date, a lunch, or a Girls Afternoon Out for a pedicure. It maintains the friendship without letting monogrammed totes or fruity waxes get in the way.