The role of a military wife can feel lonely at times, but there’s also a strong sense of pride and duty to know that the husband is doing something heroic for the country. Patriotism and pride are essential to the lives of military couples, but so is frustration, fear and sometimes disappointment.
More than 2 million children of military families will experience one deployment in their lifetime. These children also move around more than civilian kids do, up to three times more frequently.
Some children have never had a chance to know what life was like without being a ‘military brat’. I knew one family of five where all three children graduated from a different state and each one had attended schools in Italy, Iowa, California, and Florida during their parents’ dual-military marriage serving in the Navy. One woman I know gave birth to her son while her husband was deployed to Afghanistan. On his second deployment, she found out their son, who was often a handful, was special needs. His service to country strained their marriage. They were both young and an adjustment period had to pass before both could see how resilient they both were, as well as their love.
One obvious similarity that can be noted about families who survive the complexities of active duty military service while raising kids is how they handle the day-to-day. They put together a system that’s almost military-like in itself, and the focus is on graduation from deployment to being back together as a unit.
The parent who is holding the fort at home is someone that the children view as a competent leader. The parent views themselves as part of a team and their role is to keep the family home in order.
The parent at home often sets a routine that is flexible with humor included. There are times when things will not go as planned, and so they laugh it off and move on to the next step.
There’s an air of pride in what is taking place. One mother posted a picture of Christmas lights that she used to decorate the house in the way she wanted to do. She tagged her husband’s Facebook, saying, “See, I told you I could do it.” with a smiley face. Another woman kept her husband up to date with everything their little son soldier at home was doing, and posted pics of his activities on daddy’s wall.
These were encouraging ways to acknowledge how being a military spouse during deployment time not ever easy, but that both parents are serving their country as one.