Letting Go of your Expectations

There is a honeymoon period to homecoming bliss and you are probably have expectations, here are some ways to manage expectations & prevent disappointment

Homecomings are hard and can either be a time of great joy and excitement or times of heartache and disappointment! Sometimes both. So how can you prevent the disappointment? By realizing nothing is like the fantasies in our head and likely our SOs are envisioning something all their own. And when these two visions don’t line up, heartache can happen. Last week I wrote about homecoming anxiety and I wanted to follow through on some thoughts I had about managing our expectations. But as I started writing it I realized it could be a post all its own because it can apply not only to homecoming but to marriage and parenting as well.

Just like after you start a relationship, get married, or move in together, there is a honeymoon period to homecoming bliss. And while you are preparing for the homecoming you are probably setting up expectations of what your time will be like, and also for what will happen after the honeymoon period begins to fade. But this will just set you up for disappointments that could potentially turn into resentment. Maybe they don’t begin to pick up on all the chores they left behind right away and you’re still doing them even though you were so excited to be done with that chore after they returned. Leave those expectations behind and homecoming will be a much smoother transition.

Now you are probably asking yourself how can I do that. I am going to share one of my methods for releasing expectations. Often we don’t even know what those expectations are. They are subconscious and we don’t recognize them. So it can be really difficult to let go of them if you don’t even know they exist!

So Step 1: Identify your expectations.
  • When I am trying to identify any bias, expectations or anything that may not explicitly come to my mind is begin to envision what my hope, dream, fantasy of the situation is. For example, we have a wee little one at home and I have changed all the diapers, taken out the diaper pail every week, gotten up at every midnight feeding, given every bath and all the laundry. If my expectations that all of this will magically be lifted off my plate when B returns then I am sure to be disappointed when that does not magically happen. To figure out that this is my expectation I simply sat down and journaled about what immediately comes to mind without any filter or editing. This is just for you, so there is no need to censor yourself! This is exploratory exercise. Then go back and read about what you think will change now that they are home.

Now you know your expectations, how do you let go of them?

Step 2: Release them
  • For people who are very tactile you can do something physically with the piece of paper you wrote them on. Take a red marker and put a big “X” through them, throw the paper away.  For some just envisioning them in your mind and watching them fly away is enough. However works for you.

And now that you released them, know they will likely creep back in.

Step 3: Keep them in check
  • We can never 100% release our expectations but after we do we need to keep those feelings in check and realize that they are likely idealistic and unattainable we can manage them. When you begin to feel yourself disappointed by your SOs actions or lack of actions think back to your list of expectations and ask yourself: “Is this one of my expectations?” Why is this making me feel this way?

 

There is a honeymoon period to homecoming bliss and you are probably have expectations, here are some ways to manage expectations & prevent disappointment

 

When the Countdown is On

Homecoming is right around the corner! It is totally normal to be anxious as homecoming approaches. Here are some tips to managing that anxiety.

We are less than a month from homecoming! And after 11 months, 335 days, countless hours and endless baby milestones my patience and emotions seem to be running rampant (personally I think my emotions somehow found a way to steal every ounce of patience with this situation I have left!).

At first it left me super confused. I have handled most things- big and small over the last year with a good amount of grace. At least I think I have. But as soon as we crossed a thresh hold of it actually being close, all of the sudden I feel like a hot mess. I thought the rampant emotions would have been reserved for when he was leaving, I had my fair share of those. Then again I was 7 months pregnant at the time! But I am coming to realize that homecoming jitters come well before the night before they arrive.

We are under a month out and while the last 11 months flew by these weeks seem to be dragging and it is taking its toll. I am exhausted- emotionally and mentally from tackling so much alone. And with a PCS coming up as soon as he returns the amount of adulting I am doing has exponentially increased over the last few weeks from coordinating movers, finding housing, car shopping on the East Coast while in Hawaii, managing vacation schedules so we can assure we see everyone and let everyone meet the baby while we are on leave. The list seems endless

So what are we to do with all these pre-homecoming jitters??

1. Prepare for the Homecoming

Homecomings are so exciting! And whether you do signs, special outfits, a photographer, deep cleaning the house, making all their favorites food, hair & nail appointments. Whatever it is go ahead and just knock yourself out. Do anything that you think will help make you more comfortable! It will help ease those nerves. Also it keeps your hands busy! This will help work out some of those jitters too.

2. Know that it is Normal

Sometimes we get jittery and nervous because we feel like we are the only ones who feel that way. Normalizing the feeling of nervousness surrounding homecoming needs to happen. While sure we are excited to get our love back, we have also gone from doing everything alone for who knows how long to having them back around 100% of the time again. And that is going to be different. So it is normal to be nervous.

3. Let Go of Expectations

Just like after you start a relationship, get married, or move in together, there is a honeymoon period to homecoming bliss. And while you are preparing for the homecoming you are probably setting up expectations of what your time will be like, and also for what will happen after the honeymoon period begins to fade. But this will just set you up for disappointments that could potentially turn into resentment. Maybe they don’t begin to pick up on all the chores they left behind right away and you’re still doing them even though you were so excited to be done with that chore after they returned. Leave those expectations behind and homecoming will be a much smoother transition.

 

Homecoming is right around the corner! It is totally normal to be anxious as homecoming approaches. Here are some tips to managing that anxiety.

5 Things Civilian Kids Can Learn from a Military Kid

I was raised as a civilian child and there was a best friend of mine who was a military kid. As I was growing up, I noticed a lot of difference between us. Some of those differences taught me valuable lessons as I grew up. Here are some of the lessons I learned.

Believe me, there’s a lot of difference between a civilian and military kid!

I can vow for the fact because I was raised as a civilian child and there was a best friend of mine whose father was a military officer. As I was growing up, I noticed a lot of difference between us. The culture in which they end up growing seems to be pretty influential than us.

While, I am definitely not criticizing our upbringing. It’s just that they are more delved into sentiments and good deeds. Also, when it comes to being sensible, they are pretty sound.

I’ve personally learned many things from Rick, my childhood best friend from the military family. Actually, this is why I felt that such a topic is definitely worth writing. Hence, here I am with this piece of writing.

If you’re fortunate enough to know any such gracious military family, let your child learn some significant things from the kids over there. I am sure you will be proud of your little one with due course of time.

Here’s what he/she will learn from a military kid:

 

  1. Say Hi to the Strangers:

One of the most amazing facts that your child can learn from a military kid is that friends are not going to come to you. What you can do at your best is that you can make the first move and go to them. So, don’t be shy and just go up and say hello to them. It will further let your little one mingle with a lot of people and enhance his/her friend’s circle.

 

  1. You Should be a Helping Hand:

Military kids are always helpful by nature. Whatever might be the scenario, they try their best to help others. It is one of the most significant lessons that a child from military family can teach others.

I remember an incident when I was not able to understand some specific maths lessons while I was in the secondary school. I was finding it quite difficult to solve the sums. The classes were not sufficient for me to understand the concepts.

At that time, Rick helped me a lot! He was the person who taught me the lessons effectively. In fact, it was he who made the first move to let me know that he can help me out. This helping nature in them can make the life for the entire military family a bit less exhausting.

Like this, through many other incidents, I learnt from him that it’s really great to be a helping hand for others.

  1. Absence Doesn’t Matter:

When it comes to separations from their family, civilians are pretty blessed in comparison to the military kids. For the civilian children, even a short business trip can be quite painful. However, military kids know how to manage without their dad for years.

Just think of spending your kid’s two consecutive birthdays without his/her dad.

How does it feel?

Isn’t it quite distressing for your darling?

Well, I had seen the same thing happening with Rick when he was just 6! Although, I was also a child then, still I still remember his answer when I asked him, “Don’t you feel bad as your dad is not there to celebrate with you?’’

His reply was, ‘ Not at all! I know that dad is doing his work. I am just looking forward to celebrate with him when he comes”.

Yes! Focusing on the upcoming presence rather than the existing absence is something worth learning from military kids. They really have a strong mind and heart!

  1. Saying Goodbye Should be Peace:

Yes! It is a yet another significant example of the stronger hearts of Milkids. Whether it is saying goodbye to a friend who is going to move to a new place or a really crappy one when God has taken someone away from you forever, military children can remain calm in every situation.

Even during the hardest ever circumstances, milkids are able to figure out only the ‘good’ from the goodbye. So, it is certainly something worth learning from them.

  1. Staying Loyal:

Civilian children can be seen often looking for their own tribe to play or mingle with. However, it’s not the same with military kids. They believe that all are same and everyone is walking in each other’s shoes. While being forged into the same fires, they together come out in an extremely strong way. They can’t even think of cheating someone else or doing something bad with anyone. This is something really commendable among milkids.

Aren’t the aforementioned facts worth an applause?

Undoubtedly, if you are a civilian, your kids can learn these excellent ways of leading a happy and content life from the military kids.

 

I was raised as a civilian child and there was a best friend of mine who was a military kid. As I was growing up, I noticed a lot of difference between us. Some of those differences taught me valuable lessons as I grew up. Here are some of the lessons I learned.

About Author:

Clara Decker is the marketing manager at CouponsMonk.com, deals and discounts provider company. She is passionate about money savings, investment and children psychology, and relationship. In addition, Clara also supports non-profit agencies that provide healthcare solutions to handicapped and disabled people.

Time to PCS: Choosing Housing

It's that time of year again- Summer PCS season. Along with a move comes with finding new housing. Do you live in the surrounding community? Do you prefer base housing? There can be a lot of different factors that influence the decision. These are the top priorities for our family.

It is PCS season again. If you’re moving this summer then it is time to decide whether you want to search high and low for housing in the community or wait for base housing. There are many Pros and Cons to each, and it is different for every family. And maybe even post to post.

Our first military move was to Fort Benning. It was just the two of us, although we were soon joined by a hyper active puppy. The area of Columbus, GA was a relatively cheap rental market. We decided to live off post so we could pocket some of our BAH. Our next move was an unaccompanied PCS and so he lives on post in Korea. He lives super close to work and has many other conveniences.

But Once again we are faced with the decision: on or off base housing?

This time though we are not just a young couple, we have a baby in tow. And while we are still years away from having to factor in school districts for housing. Being in a nice, kid friendly neighborhood with parks and other littles for her to play with is very important to us.

SO far each time we have moved we sit down and weigh the pros and cons of each and here is the list of __ we base our decision off of:

  • Cost: can we save money by living off post and pocketing any extra BAH. If we live off post is the cost of living so high we will lose money by having to spend more than BAH to cover rent & all utilities. This factor definitely gets more weight than some of the others because we feel it is important to save money where we can!
  • Neighborhood Safety: Every military spouse knows they are going to get left at home overnight more than once, for who knows how long. For both of our piece of mind living in a safe neighborhood is very important to us. Even more so now with a baby at home. Can we get a decent house in a good neighborhood. When we lived at Benning our care was broken into and it really made it hard to sleep for a few nights since I was home alone when it happened.
  • Friends in the Area: I am an extroverted person and so I don’t like being home by myself for long periods of time without being out with friends. Being close enough to the base to participate in events is important to me (more so than my husband).
  • Easy Commute: They already work really long hours. They get to work early, they sometimes have to work late! I don’t want him to have to drive a long time in a lot of traffic causing him more stress. Also the closer you are its possible that they can come home for breakfast after PT or lunch- this can save tons of money!
  • Close to Activities in the Area: My little and I like to get out a good amount, at least a few times a week so being close to things to do in the community is important to us.

These are our biggest categories we assess for when determining where to live next! Then which ever has the most wins is where we hope for! What factors do you always consider when deciding on housing?

What is your favorite place to live? On Post or Off Post?

It's that time of year again- Summer PCS season. Along with a move comes with finding new housing. Do you live in the surrounding community? Do you prefer base housing? There can be a lot of different factors that influence the decision. These are the top priorities for our family.

How Baby Wearing Saved me During Deployment

Being a new mom is hard! Being a new mom and a solo parent all at once is double hard! There is no one else around to hold the baby when doing household chores, or someone to do those chores for you! Enter baby wearing! Without it this deployment time period would have been so much more difficult!

Before I was pregnant I spent years and years babysitting. And during those years I discovered the beauty of baby wearing! It made chasing other kids so much easier! Have a toddler want to get out of the house but have a little one to watch too? Pop that baby in the carrier and chase the toddler around wearing him out!

So when I found out I was pregnant I was so excite to get to wear my own baby! But until she was here I just didn’t understand how big a part of my life it was going to be! As ya’ll know my hubby has been in Korea for most of baby’s first year, and although I live with my parents I know its not their job and responsibility to watch my baby all the time or to clean up after me. But being the only parent around the house day in and day out, my little girl has become quite clingy and only wants to be with mom a good part of the day.

Don’t get my wrong I love the cuddles, but it makes it very difficult to get anything done if every time I leave the room she screams! Which let me tell you, definitely happens! That meant every time I needed to pee, make food, do dishes, hang laundry, get laundry off the line, I was greeted by sad cries of my little girl!

Enter my baby carrier! I started with just two different carriers- a Baby K’tan and  Baby Tula Free-to-Grow structured carrier.

But soon after actually using them when she was just a couple months old, my collection quickly grew because I realized just how valuable this baby item was to my sanity!

Why baby wearing saved my sanity this deployment

Anyone who has spent any amount of time (whether a weekend or a year) Solo Parenting know that if there are kids in the house it can become difficult to get chores done, dinner made, or even just give your arms a break for a hot minute! When your solo parenting stent is a bit shorter it can be more justifiable to let housework wait, and eat take out for a couple days. But when you’re solo-parenting for a whole year, these things are just unavoidable.

I got chores done!

I tried everything to keep her contained to do chores. I tried doing them during naps and she would wake up, I tried putting her in the highchair with a toy- she screamed; I put her in the exersaucer where she could see me- and she screamed. One day I gave up, popped her in the carrier and realized I was able to do so much all without her screaming! It was a game-changer!

Not only could I clean my floors, hang laundry, and take the dog out; but, when she’s on my back I can even do dishes & prep and to some degree cook dinner! And more than that! She was so so happy to be hanging with mom

I get out of the house

When you’re the only parent while running errands it can get tricky! Especially when baby was itty bitty and couldn’t sit up in the cart babywearing was the only way to effectively grocery shop because otherwise the carseat took up the whole cart and I couldn’t push the stroller and a cart by myself.

Even more than errands- going to the beach, or other fun outings were made so much simpler than having to lug the stroller, which inevitably she would want out of and carried around leaving me to hold her one handed and push the stroller one handed.

Also it made travel solo internationally so simple!

It helped me heal

Due to some circumstances with her birth I was experiencing a lot of pain in my hand and wrist. Leaving me feeling like my wrist was weak and might snap while picking her up. Obviously, this is problematic when you’re the only parent around. With a newborn this can be hard because they want to be carried and cuddled. I didn’t want to deny her any cuddles, but some days is really was painful. BUT with the baby carrier she be cuddled up close to me without using my hand!

 

Baby wearing is my deployment hack when home solo parenting with a baby and even a toddler! I would love to hear your deployment parenting hacks? How do you get stuff done? Share your wisdom before I have to do this again!

 

 

Being a new mom is hard! Being a new mom and a solo parent all at once is double hard! There is no one else around to hold the baby when doing household chores, or someone to do those chores for you! Enter baby wearing! Without it this deployment time period would have been so much more difficult!

What to do with Little Ones When in South Korea

Recently my little one and I traveled to South Korea to spend a month with my husband who is stationed here. We had such a blast exploring what we could while we were here! So much more we wanted to do! But here are my tips for traveling with a little one here in S. Korea.

The past month my baby and I have been traveling South Korea while we visiting my husband here! We have had so much fun and got to see so much, although so much more we wanted to see and didn’t have time for! Partly due to lack of time and partly due to lack of planning we stayed in our small little areas and explored where we were. But with a bit more time and planning we might have gotten to see so much more.

So I am sharing my favorite things we did while here & my tips and tricks I learned in my treck that might have helped us see more so that you can make the best out of your trip.

I am gonna start off with sharing what I most wanted to see while in Korea! Here was the list of things I found from hunting through Pinterest and Google.

Things to do in South Korea

What we Actually Did

Turns out Seoul is a huge city! I have never been in such a large city in my life. To put it in perspective for you the population of Seoul is 3x the population of the entire state of South Carolina (Yeah blew my mind too!!!). So not everything in the city was super close by. That prevented us from going and doing some of the things on our list, the the Indian Soul BBQ restaurant and the Trick-Eye Museum. Its ok, because I don’t think a 4 month old cares much about the trick eye museum. But while we may not have eaten at that Korean BBQ restaurant we did get to go to a very similar place down in Pyeongtaek (near Camp Humphreys). It was an all you can eat place and they give you variety of meat to choose from and you cook it yourself at the table over a grill right on your table!

But we made it to the Zoo at Seoul Grand Park. It was a huge zoo and we didn’t even get to see it all. It was an easy Subway ride to the zoo.

My biggest travel tip is to avoid the stroller at all cost!

It would have been a nightmare trying to get a stroller on and off the subway and up and down all those stairs. We wore her in a baby carrier and when she was getting heavy, we just switched! It worked out so well! It worked great for the plane too!

Walking around the zoo was fun! Not only did they have a huge selection of animals to see- Elephants, Giraffes, Gorillas, Tigers, Lions, and so many many more. There was also a lot of history there and Greenhouses to see and view all different flowers and plants.

We also tried to get to Busan and see the coast one weekend. Busan is the second biggest city in South Korea. However, when we got to the train station to buy our tickets (we got there at 10am) the next train wasn’t until 5pm. So we took the subway to the next train station, found a train leaving in the next hour, except the first 2 hours of the ride was standing room only. That was not something we were willing to do with a 4 month old. So we adventured around the town instead.

Bonus Points! We found a mall and did some shopping. I got to buy a variety of Korean skin care products! That is definitely something I will be requesting in more packages for the rest of his time here.

So lesson learned! Buy your tickets in advance.

We did try to do this to be fair, but the website was in Korean. If you can ask your hotel lobby for help, a travel office or if you know someone ask for help and pre-buy your train tickets. Then maybe you will actually get to your destination unlike us!

If you go in the Spring, Definitely seek out the Cherry Blossoms

And not just the flowers! While they are absolutely beautiful, the treats are great too! I got to try Starbucks Cherry Blossom Milk Tea, and quite a few other things! They are so tasty! And don’t worry if you don’t like Cherry Flavored things. They taste much more like Strawberries than anything else. Also the Cherry Blossom souvenirs are great too!

We didn’t go to any of the Cherry Blossom Festivals. The day we were planning to go it rained and was very windy! Also the hubs is not big into crowds so we just enjoyed them at our own leisure and found the treats at various different places!

Overall we did quite a bit considering we only had a couple full weekends to explore since the hubs did not take any leave. I encourage you to go an visit! Take the kids if you have them as there are plenty of places for them. One of the biggest things around are the themed cafes. We didn’t frequent them really, especially since our Little Miss isn’t even crawling yet there wasn’t much need for them! But they also have animal themed ones where they have roaming animals around- sheep, raccoons, rabbits, cats and more!

We had a great month here visiting and exploring! Have you ever been to Korea? What were some of your favorite things to do there! Any travel tips for traveling with little ones? Leave those in the comments too so I can build up my stock of ideas for our next trip!

Recently my little one and I traveled to South Korea to spend a month with my husband who is stationed here. We had such a blast exploring what we could while we were here! So much more we wanted to do! But here are my tips for traveling with a little one here in S. Korea.

5 Ways to Celebrate Your Anniversary When Your Spouse is Deployed

One of the hardest parts of being a MilSpouse is missing those important milestones. But those special days don’t have to be a complete loss; in fact, there are plenty of ways to celebrate in spite of the distance. All it takes is a little patience and creativity!  

One of the hardest parts of being a MilSpouse is missing those important milestones. But those special days don’t have to be a complete loss; in fact, there are plenty of ways to celebrate in spite of the distance. All it takes is a little patience and creativity!

Plan a Skype Date:

There’s nothing better than seeing your spouse’s face after weeks (or months!) of separation. It might be a little difficult to coordinate times to set up a Skype call, especially if there’s a significant time difference, but it’ll be well worth the effort once you can see them smile and hear their voice. Step it up by eating dinner together or streaming a movie or keep it nice and simple with a regular conversation.

Send Gifts:

Part of the fun of gift-giving is seeing your spouse’s reaction. But if they’re not right in front of you, that doesn’t mean it isn’t just as satisfying to hear they received a special something to commemorate your wedding day. Besides, you can always send something small for that day and give the big gift when they get back. The anticipation will be enough of a present!

Don’t Spend It Alone:

The only thing that self-imposed isolation will bring is unnecessary sadness. This is a happy day, so spend it with people you love! Let your family and friends know about your anniversary and plan a get-together or celebration.

Go out to see that new action movie with a sibling, go on a shopping trip with your best friend, or check out that new exhibit at your local art gallery with your dad. Whatever you do, just don’t wallow at home. After all, your spouse would hate to hear that you spent the day pining away and counting down the days till their return.

Make Plans to Celebrate Later:

Nobody says you have to celebrate your anniversary on the actual day it occurs. If you are unable to spend your anniversary with your spouse, it’s simple enough to reschedule for when they return home.

Plan to go to your favorite restaurant or have a candlelit dinner at home.

Start looking up prices for plane tickets to a dream destination.

If you both love horseback riding, skiing, or surfing, plan a day to do your chosen activity together when your spouse returns home.

No matter what you decide to do, throwing out these ideas will make their return all the more exciting.

Write Love Letters:

While phone calls are great, their impact is short-lived. However, with good upkeep, the written word will last for years to come.

Talk about things like how you felt when you first realized you were in love with your spouse, what you appreciate and admire about them, and your hopes and dreams for the two of you in the future.

When you’re finished writing, you can spray the paper you write on with your perfume or cologne as a romantic personal touch.

Nothing compares to being next to your spouse, but these ideas will close the distance the slightest bit and keep up your spirits until the day they return for good.

 

One of the hardest parts of being a MilSpouse is missing those important milestones. But those special days don’t have to be a complete loss; in fact, there are plenty of ways to celebrate in spite of the distance. All it takes is a little patience and creativity!  

Heather Lomax is a contributing writer and media relations specialist for Challenge Coins Ltd. She writes for a variety of MilSpouse blogs on topics related to financial strategies for military homes and getting closer to your spouse.

 

A Letter to my Military Child

April is The Month of the Military Child. Military children are the only members of the family that did not choose this life. They are resilient and adaptable. They go where they are told and move more in their short childhood than many do in their entire life!

April is The Month of the Military Child. Military children are the only members of the family that did not choose this life. They are born into it. They are resilient and adaptable. They go where they are told and move more in their short childhood than many do in their entire life! They make life both harder and easier for us as they give us a distraction during deployments and TDYs, but also require us to go through stints of solo-parenting which is never easy.

So even though my little one is still much much to young to know what is going on around here, that she will have had more than one home before she even turns one. That before she starts kindergarten we will most likely have lived in 3 or more states. That due to the “needs of the Army” we spent the much better half of her first year living with Granna and Papa away from Daddy. A  military child goes through so much more than will ever be none. But I want her to know I see her. So this is for her, so she can look back when she’s older and knows that I admire the strength she will grow up to have; that I believe in the resiliency she will develop.

To You My Military Child,

My little one, look how big and brave you are. As I sit here writing this you lay only feet away sleeping in a tiny dorm where we visit daddy in South Korea. I know you will never remember these days, one because you are tiny; and two because you spent the majority of the trip asleep in your carrier as we went from place to place adventuring. You won’t remember that when you were born it was your grandmother who sat with me because your daddy was far away. But you will hear these stories many many times as you grow up. And one day you will experience them and you will remember this path the military has led our family down. Because we don’t plan for it to end soon. But we don’t get to plan much. We are like the leaf in the river drifting to where the send us; never anchored down.

It can be a hard life, but a rewarding one. One filled with adventure and awe as we will travel places many never will- before you were six months old we made it to your first foreign country. Hopefully not your last. It will teach you resilience, perseverance, kindness, and so much more. I know this because I know what it is like to not have a childhood home. I know what it is like to move more times than you can count and can remember.

It will teach you to value memories made rather than objects as moving with many things gets tedious and inefficient. But your memories will last a lifetime. Cherish them and you will never forget where you came from and who you are. It will teach you that people are people no matter where they come from or what they look like. You will make friends of all races, genders, and anything else. It is the people who will pull you through the hard times and celebrate the good. Never underestimate the power of friendship, even when you struggle with a friend. An argument or disagreement doesn’t have to be the end. Everyone has different experiences it is what we learn and take away from them that shapes us.

It will be hard, goodbyes are hard, but thankfully with the technology we have it makes it so much easier to stay in touch. We may grow apart from people sometimes and that is ok, but be there when someone needs you and they will be there for you. You will have friends from all over the world, how many kids get to say that! It may not always feel that way, but remember it can be a blessing.

We won’t always be close to family. Sometimes, most of the time, your grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins will be far away. It will be hard, and you will miss them. But they will never stop loving you. They will always be in your corner no matter how far. They are always just a phone call away. Sometimes it will be daddy who is away. He will miss concerts, recitals, games, and school plays. He will miss Birthdays and Holidays. But know he does it because he loves you, not because he loves his job more. He makes that sacrifice to provide for us, to give you the best life possible. I know it can be hard to understand, but he will hate missing it, even more than you do. Know that he will always do everything in his power to be there physically for you. And when he can’t know that he is always there for you anyway.

But no matter what this life holds for us, know that we love you. That we see you, and that we are grateful for the sacrifices you will make every single day to help your daddy fulfill his dream. We will always be there for you and nothing about that will ever change.

Love,

your mom and dad.

 

 

April is The Month of the Military Child. Military children are the only members of the family that did not choose this life. They are resilient and adaptable. They go where they are told and move more in their short childhood than many do in their entire life!

Solo Parenting: How to Cope When you Feel Alone

As a military spouse you may spend a lot of time parenting by yourself. This may not what you have envisioned when you got married and started having kids! When you get overwhelmed here are some ways to keep a level head.

One of the first things I heard after I married my husband was that I might was well get used to being alone, after all I’d spend the majority of our marriage being a single parent. While yes in our two years of marriage we have spent the same if not more time apart then living together, I am not nor will I ever be a single mother, no matter how much SOLO parenting I do.

On many non-military blogs I have seen many articles criticizing married moms who have spouses that are away a lot calling themselves a single mom. I have seen posts in military groups, criticizing spouses for describing themselves as single moms. But I get it. It is hard knowing that daddy or mommy is not coming home at 5:30 to give you a bit of a reprieve. No one else to change diapers, rock the baby to sleep, help fix dinner, or just allow you to escape for a quick shower! So I think we need a term to describe it, and then we need to use it!

Solo-Parenting.

Whether you are solo parenting due to a deployment, TDY, field time, or any other number of reasons for however long it can be exhausting.

So how do you cope with Solo Parenting?

There are some specific strategies that can be used to help those solo-parenting when you start to get overwhelmed.

~ Prior to your Spouse leaving, talk about any potential big decisions that will need to be made.

If you talk about any decisions that need to be made before your spouse leaves, then you won’t be stressed about making any big decisions alone or trying to get in touch with your spouse who made be unreachable. This is one of the differences between solo parenting and single parenting is that you have another person to be a sounding board for potentially difficult decisions. While not all situations can be predicted, there are some that just come in the course of time. Like age limits for things such as vaccinations, how to raise your children, or even less important things like- ear piercings. I know how stressful it can be to try and have to make important decisions alone. My husband would not be present at her birth, so before he left we talked about how he wanted her to be treated. Do we want her fully vaccinated? How did he feel about formula use? What were his opinions on events happening in an emergency?

As for after she was born: how do you want our sleeping arrangements be? He may not be here now but eventually we will all be a family living in one house again and so while it may not affect him in the moment, it will in the future if she is in our bed and he comes home and she struggles to adjust to a crib. How does he want to be involved in her doctors appointments? If your kids are older discussing things like schooling is important. How do you want family to be involved?

Involving your partner will make you feel less alone and more like you are in the partnership you probably envisioned for your parenting.

~ Know when you are at the end of your rope.

Knowing when you are so exhausted, or so stressed is important because we all need to know when to step back and ask for help! Asking for help can be so hard. We want to give the impression that we can do it all, because we don’t want to feel inferior to all those who appear to have it all together. I will tell you a secret that everyone knows but nobody believes. Not a single one of us can do it all 100% of the time! Everyone needs help and rest! If you take care of yourself before you reach the end of your rope, then you can keep going longer! When your spouse is home you may be able to get that break before you realize you are in desperate need of one. But when you are the sole parent in the house and nobody is coming home to relieve you it can sneak up on you. So take note of your mental, emotional, and physical state when that happens so you can begin to notice it the next time. And then when you’re there reach out! And remember it takes a village.

~ Take care of yourself with lots and lots of self-care.

Self-care is so important that I have written about it so many times:

If you practice self care regularly it will take you much much longer to reach the end of your rope. This means asking for help so you can get a break to practice good self-care. It is even more important when you are the sole caregiver for your little ones with out any in home reinforcements.

 

 

As a military spouse you may spend a lot of time parenting by yourself. This may not what you have envisioned when you got married and started having kids! When you get overwhelmed here are some ways to keep a level head.

If There Was an App to Find Friends at New Duty Stations

Moving duty stations can be hard, especially when it comes to finding friends. What would your profile say if there was a "dating" app for new friends?

If there was a “Dating” app for finding new friends at each new Duty Station my Profile might read something like this:

Hi my name is Grace and I am seeking new friends! I moved here a few weeks ago, and now that I am settled into my house I have to get out or I will go stir crazy!

I have a sweet puppy who loves to play with all dogs! So, I am always down for trips to the dog park or taking a walk. She has never met a dog she doesn’t like.

I love Starbucks, ice cream, or lunch dates!

I am about to be a new mom, so I am looking for little baby friends for our soon to be arriving little girl!

In my free time I love to lounge in my yoga pants and watch Gilmore Girls, Friends, and just about any Romantic Comedy you could name while I browse through Pinterest!

If I sound like someone you would want to hang out with let me know!

                            

Look familiar?

Post like these are plastered all across different MilSpouse Facebook groups at different duty stations! Wouldn’t life be so much easier if there was a built-in way to make new friends at each new duty station? And the thing is, is we can. But it requires us leaving our couches and not hiding behind the phone. And that is vulnerable and scary. Having an App gives us a feeling of safety because we can avoid that initial social contact. It removes the fear of rejection because we won’t be rejected to our faces!

But sometimes we have to get out of our comfort zones and show up somewhere in person.

So here some tips for getting out of your comfort zone and finding some friends in person, until someone really does create that friends dating app!

 

If you wanna see my tips for getting out of your comfort zone and finding friends at your new duty station, check out my full post at Army Wife Network

Coming into military life I have always had built in friends from school such as classmates and roommates. But military life was a whole new ball game. I quickly realized that if I didn’t make the effort to put myself out there I wouldn’t make many friends. And as an extroverted person I need those friendships!

How do you make new friends at each new duty station?

Moving duty stations can be hard, especially when it comes to finding friends. What would your profile say if there was a "dating" app for new friends?