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Scene, Sunday, April 29, 2007

My vacuum cleaner took an emergency 30-minute break this morning, or at least that’s the excuse the owner’s guide gave for the reason it conked out on me with only one room left to clean.

“It’s too bad I can’t take a break every time I’ve got too much work to do,” I thought, going through a mental list of the responsibilities involved in maintaining a home and caring for the people I share it with.

The unplanned 30-minute break led me to return to my computer keyboard and a familiar subject between my friends and me. We agree that “housewife” is an outdated term that doesn’t come close to describing any of us.

Like many of you, military life has called for us to relocate many times over the years. I can’t speak for my friends, but the last thing I feel married to is my house and the various others we have inhabited along the way.

If “housewife” described my status, I would be in my eighth marriage!

The added responsibilities of being married to a member of the armed forces create a job that is indescribable. Until now, that is.

I think you, the readers of Life on the Home Front, can help me come up with something better than “military spouse” or housewife to refer to what we do.

One alternative would be to follow Uncle Sam’s example and create individual job titles that don’t make any sense most people.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. I’ve heard some version of the following conversation thousands of times.

A woman asks,“Where does your husband work?”

“Oh, he’s a G7QRZ2 for the Wing,” replies the second. Then, they go right on talking even though neither will admit to having no idea what a G7QRZ2 is.

Sometimes I’m the one having the conversation, either pretending I know what Ron’s latest job assignment is or that I understand what the woman just told me her husband does.

The letters and numbers go in one ear and out the other, but they sound a lot more important than “housewife.”

As a military spouse of 16½ years, I demand equal treatment. I want a job description that is as confusing as my husband’s!

Just kidding there, but it is a fascinating idea. Pam Zich, MW3D, would denote my status as a Marine’s wife with three boys and a dog. Or I could simply be an MWM, with the Ms being interchangeable to prevent the boys from arguing over whether “Mom” or “Marine” should go first.

The next time someone asks me, “What do you do?” I would smugly reply, “I’m an MW3D now, but I’m not allowed to talk about it.”

If the idea of making up our own acronyms sounds overly complicated or just plain silly, I have come up with another option. It will require some input from you, the readers.

We work hard taking care of our families, moving around the globe, dealing with long separations, and fighting off those aggressive shoppers at the commissary, so let’s come up with a title we deserve.

Unfortunately, Wonder Woman is already taken. Besides, we need a title to share with our male counterparts.

Think of something catchy and awe- inspiring, a title we can be proud of, and send it my way at pamzich@

I will print the best suggestions right here.

Now, I need to go check on that vacuum.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 16 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. They have been stationed in various locations, including Okinawa, California, Texas and their current home in Springfield, Va. E-mail her at or find the Zichs online at


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