Right now we are in the midst of a very big transition for our family. You would think that as a military wife I would be used to transitions. Unfortunately I’m still not a pro when it comes to this type of life. The difference between this post and my first When Your Spouse Is Gone A lot post , is now I have 3 little ones, and this is the longest my husband has had to travel away since Honey Bee was little.
I pride myself on being an independent person, I guess that is why God chose me to be a military spouse. However, as the time got closer to my husband leaving, panic began to set in. Each day when I looked at his packed army bags my heart grew heavy. I had to talk myself up with daily affirmations “you can do this”. My biggest concern wasn’t myself, it was how I was going to handle the kids all alone.
I must admit we didn’t do a great job a preparing them for his departure. I thought that if I made it a big deal that it may cause them to worry. Surprisingly Honey Bee (my oldest daughter) handled it the best and Bumble Bee (my 2 year old son) has taken it pretty hard. Everyday he ask where is daddy and ask to call him. It is difficult to explain to him that daddy will be away for awhile. So if you are going through this here are a few things that I’m doing and wish I had did to prepare my kids.
Dealing With Your Children When Your Spouse is Gone A lot
- Talk To Them In Advance (if they are old enough to understand) – I really didn’t start talking to my kids until the day before my husband left because like I said above. I didn’t want them to worry. I think doing this will prepare older children for this type of transition. I highly suggest getting a calendar to mark off the days. This will provide a visual to help them better understand the concept of time.
- Have A Support System in Place – I’ve done a terrible job as a military spouse at building a support system. Luckily, I do have my friends a MOPS who have been so helpful. I’m very thankful for such a wonderful group of ladies. Now, if you are a military spouse who feels as if you don’t have a village, I encourage you to try to create one. It can be difficult if you are a independent person (like myself), but there is a time to put the pride aside and call on help.
- Schedule/routine – I can’t emphasize having a schedule enough. The first week my husband was gone was hard because our routine was off a bit. It definitely showed in my children’s behavior. So in order to gain order in my home again I created a visual schedule, chore chart and behavior chart for my kids. It seemed to help give them structure in such a chaotic time. Before my husband left we loosely followed a schedule and chore chart, but I found they thrive much better when having these tools. I posted them on their walls, and they follow along as the day goes by. If their chores are done and behavior is in good standing they get a treat.
Here are the printables :
- Activities – I don’t believe in filling a child’s schedule with a lot of activities, but I try to make it a point to get 1-2 outings week. We usually do the mall play area or gymnastics open gym (since it is winter). This allows the kids to let off some steam and gives me much needed free time.
- Reading Encouraging Books – The Bible is my biggest source of encouragement. Sometimes I feel alone with no family here to help, but I understand God can and will give me the strength to be a great parent while my husband is gone. When he first left I really felt like a failure because I wasn’t for sure I could parent without him. However, overtime I realized that I have to and I can be great while parenting alone. I also like reading other blogs and watching Youtube videos of moms because it encourages me to stay strong and keeping going. Knowing that I’m not alone in my experience helps me tremendously.
- Cry- Yes I said it! A good cry can do wonders for the soul! LOL. I had so much bottled up sadness (because I miss my husband and the kids were going crazy). So eventually, I let it out and I let myself feel the emotions that had been so deeply rooted in my heart. Afterwards I felt good! I felt like my kids could sense the release of my sadness because I could tell by how their behavior shifted.
If you are a parent (or a military spouse) going through this right now, I would like to remind you that this is only for a moment. It won’t last forever. You can get through this season. If there is ever a time that you feel alone just come back to this post. I’m here and I’m going through the exact same thing.