As a military spouse, independence is something that we are forced to learn without a choice early on in our relationship. Military life drops you into a whole new world, one where independence is never the same as it once was.
As we take on the many tasks of independence, we may not be ready or even want to, but we know that our service member will have the peace of mind and the clarity to focus on their mission.
What comes along with this independence? Flat tire, dishwasher leak, kids get sick… the list goes on! We call it the deployment gremlins and they almost always come out as soon as our service member is out the door.
The deployment gremlins also tend to creep into an area where many military spouses struggle during deployment.
Parenting with your spouse is daunting enough, but when doing it alone – the stakes are higher. We may feel helpless, as if we can’t possibly do it alone. Long days that never seem to end, and it surely doesn’t help when we come across parenting scrutiny online and on social media. This leaves us to second guess whether or not we are doing things right. These “Parenting Wars” are disheartening, especially for those who are solo-parenting with a loved one away for months.
What can we do to survive parenting during a deployment?
Everyone has their own style.
Keep in mind that no matter how many children you have, their age or gender, there will be many different ways to parent them. What works for one child may not work for the other. There isn’t a special formula; you have to do what works for you and the child. Deployment puts a lot of stress on the family unit; take some of that stress off by remembering this.
Don’t compare your parenting to anyone else.
Don’t let what you see online make you second guess your choices. Parenting is a humbling and rewarding experience, focus on your strengths and don’t compare yourself to others just because they succeed in areas where perhaps you have not. Appreciate the abilities you have and grow in the areas where you struggle. (see below)
Take advice with grace.
As mentioned above, appreciate your abilities in the areas you prosper, but also accept that we aren’t perfect. Whether it is solicited or unsolicited parenting advice, try not to take it to heart. I always thank the person then think if their advice would be of help. We aren’t all going to be good at the same thing, so appreciate help along the way.
Don’t let judgement build anxiety.
I know not all advice is meant to be helpful, but don’t let this build anxiety. Focus on your child and the bonds you make daily. As a National Guard family living in a civilian community, many aren’t aware of the extra parenting I have to take on while my husband is away. So instead of piling on the anxiety, I let my community know that while I am not a perfect parent, I do the best I can for my children, especially when my husband is away.
Have something to add? Share with us in the comments below.
Solo Parenting: How to Survive While Your Spouse is Away
About the blogger:
Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, freelance writer, published author and branding expert. Her husband was one of the many soldiers impacted by the unprecedented activation of the National Guard in 2008. In 2010, she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support blog created to assist spouses who do not live near an installation, but also focusing on bridging the gap between National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty spouses. She is also co-founder of SpouseTalks. As a branding and digital influencer, she has created content for A&E, Lifetime Network and PBS. She has an extensive background in Human Resources and Communications, with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Human Resources. Angela resides in the beautiful Garden State of New Jersey with her husband and two children.
240060 - 0317
You must be a registered user to add a comment. If you've already registered, sign in. Otherwise, register and sign in.