This isn’t our first time doing a deployment, but it’s the first with kids. And I am here to tell you that there is a big dang difference y’all.
My husband went to Afghanistan just 3 months after we started dating. It wasn’t fun by any means, but I was working full time and had friends to hang out with so it really went pretty quickly. We weren’t living together or anything so my life stayed pretty much normal.
Fast forward seven ish years and we are doing it again. But this time it looks wildly different. Because the path to us becoming a military family was a little unconventional, we never did a deployment with just one child. Instead we jumped into a nine ish month separation with a toddler and a baby due to be born while my husband was gone. Throw in a global pandemic for a bonus and we are having a grand time.
My Biggest Challenge
The absolute hardest part for me is the fact that I am “mom” 100% of the time.
Full disclosure, I moved home with my mom for this deployment and having her help has been absolutely priceless.
But when my husband is home, I can walk away and say the kids aren’t my problem right now. (And if you think you would never say that, you’re a better person than me. But come spend a day with my very very strong willed child before you judge me too much.) Since my husband has been gone, the kids have been “my problem.” All the time.
There is always another want, need, scream, cry, bodily fluid to deal with. And I feel like I spend almost all my time running in circles trying to keep my kids taken care of.
Anything I want to do for myself usually needs to be done in five minute chunks Or while holding a child…for example I finally have time to write a blog post because Eloise is in a funk and wants to nap on me all day so I’m typing this on my phone while she sleeps.
It’s a lot. And it’s all the time.
The Silver Lining
My kids are too young to really “get” what’s going on. Eloise obviously hasn’t even met her dad yet, so this is all she’s ever known.
Oliver is having so much fun playing outside and spending time with my mom that I don’t think it’s really registered with him. He gets really excited when he gets to FaceTime his dad…but he hasn’t had any big missing dad meltdowns. And I am forever and ever thankful for that.
While older kids are probably more independent, they would be more reactive to the change. So I am counting that as a major blessing!
This deployment has tested every ounce of patience I have and then some. There have been more times than I care to admit that I’ve just wanted to run away and find somewhere to hide where no small people were screaming and wanting something from me. But we are hopefully getting closer to the end. I’ve been able to spend time home with my family. And we are stronger for the experience.
But mostly I’m just glad it’s almost over.
Have you done a deployment with kids? What was the hardest part for you?