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KENDILYNN SparkPoints: (22,924)
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2/22/13 5:46 P

Deployments are almost easier when they're too little to understand. Every one will be different and it's impossible to know in advance how each child is going to react. We are gearing up for our eighth deployment (fifth since having kids). I know what works for us is keeping to a schedule, but also keeping busy, with story time at the library or playgroups in the day time or "family movie night' on the weekends. And you defintely need to take time for yourself. Trying to be "Supermom" is exhausting. Hiring in a housekeeper once a month, or planning a bi-weekly babysitter day is money well spent, if you ask me! My girls are six (almost seven) and three, and if Mommy is calm and happy, they're more likely to be too. Hope it helps.

JADOMB SparkPoints: (134,622)
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2/22/13 12:13 P

That is a very tough life for ALL involved. Love and staying busy is the best way to work with military families and non-military families. Children will all go through the various tenuous stages of life, but when a spouse is constantly being pulled out of the equation it just makes it more difficult for the one parent to act as both father and mother. Much like a single parent has to act as both mother and father too. The difference though is that for most military families, that one spouse is constantly returning into the family unit and every one has to readjust. Then about when they are back to "normal" that spouse heads out again.

So my recommendation to military families is for both parents to find that system of working together while they are together and do their best to NOT change anything when they are apart. Make it feel as much like nothing has changed as possible. With the technology nowadays, most deployed parents can skype often and be right there in the living room with the family. So make it a scheduled thing if you can and have the whole family there so you make the deployment much less than a deployment as possible. My prayers are with the deployed and those that are left behind.

BERKANA_T Posts: 138
2/21/13 1:25 P

I'm no longer a military wife, but I was for nine years, seven of which were with a child at home. I've been there, although my experience was a bit different because we always lived on base, and we were with the Canadian military, which may have different programs available for the families during deployments than the American military has.

I do recall the lack of sleep though. Living on base, I had access to the other military moms who were in the same boat as I was, and it wasn't unusual for someone to take everyone's kids for an afternoon, or even the night, so everyone else could get errands done, or more importantly, have a nice long nap.

The Military Family Resource Center on base was a great resource, and was available to everyone, regardless of whether they lived on or off base. They offered drop in daycare and had an emergency care service available for the families of soldiers who were deployed. I'm not sure if you have access to a similar resource, but if you do, find out exactly what they offer, and make use of it!

One thing I found was that the less sleep I had, the worse my daughter's behaviour seemed to me (she was 4/5 during her father's first deployment). It wasn't that her behaviour was necessarily worse, it was just that I was less able to cope with it. And that often escalated in a negative circle, which was not good for either of us. Using nap time as nap time for both of us, rather than me trying to get a bunch of stuff done while she napped was one of the things I found helped. Yes, my house was messier, but a little clutter and a few dust bunnies never killed anyone, so I learned to live with it. And quiet time in the evenings helped a lot as well. A nice cuddle with a book we read together really helped, especially since it was a way to reconnect no matter what went down during the day.

And she's not too young to 'write' to her daddy. My daughter loved packing up care packages and writing letters (drawing pictures) to send to her father. My neighbour had a great idea that worked great with her each care package, they'd send a dvd with video messages from the kids to their dad, and he would send voice messages back. For about a month and a half her daughter went to bed every night listening to her dad read her a bedtime story on disk, sent from thousands of miles away.

IRIS1011 SparkPoints: (1,042)
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2/20/13 11:29 P

Thank you so much it's hard to find someone who understands what i'm going through since I live off base and dont having many friends that understand my situation. This is my second deployment in three years and this one is alot harder. Having three kids under 6 is a handful itself so at the end of the day i'm so tired but can never sleep with the stress of everything going on. I know I go off maybe 2 to 3 hours of sleep a night. Sometimes I get so frustrated with my husband because he wanted to do this deployment and he didn't have to but I know his intentions are good but he don't realize how hard it is on me. Thanks for listening to me vent and thank you and your husband for your service.

ADSHERER SparkPoints: (0)
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2/20/13 2:23 P

I'm an Army wife, too, and our soldier got home from the most recent deployment this fall. I was trying to balance our household of two kids & two dogs and my very demanding job while he was deployed--so I'm totally with you.

What I learned (that was most helpful) from the deployment this past time around was that the kids get their cues from me. If I am cranky and stressed, they will be too--they just express it differently. They pick up on our moods and tones of voice--and since they are so young and aren't able to articulate their feelings (scared, lonely, sad, anxious) in ways that are helpful, they act out.

The biggest ways I coped with their behavior was by sticking closer to our routine--especially at the end of the day. We had supper at 5pm, baths were started by 7pm, stories were read and lights were out at 8pm. That also helped me b/c then I could clean up and get ready for the next day after they were in bed and still be in bed at a decent time. I didn't always use my time wisely, but keeping them on schedule helped their moods tremendously.

I hope this is helpful. I'll hold you in my prayers.

IRIS1011 SparkPoints: (1,042)
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2/19/13 11:32 A

I'm currently taking care of three kids under the age of five while my husband is deployed. My three year old daughter is taking this deployment alot harder then the last one and shes really been showing off lately. Her bad behavior is getting worse i've tried taking toys and punishment but it don't work. I know she misses her daddy but this is stressing me out. Any helpful tips out there.

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