Category Archives: Military Deployment

The Resilient Navy Spouse

My best deployment blues fighter: the One Armed Pillow In A Dress Shirt

My best deployment blues fighter: the One Armed Pillow In A Dress Shirt

I have a special group of friends. I’ve written about them time and time again, probably because they are so dear to my heart. They are my fellow Navy wives. Today, though, I’m thinking of a particular set of women in this group… the spouses of my husband’s previous squadron. You see, these good friends of mine are squeaking out the last few hours before they have to send their husbands off on a looooooong deployment aboard the USS Carl Vinson. Bleh. It’s more than “Bleh.” It’s all capital lettered: BLEH…. times 10,000. It’s even worse than that but I don’t think there are words to sufficiently encompass the suckiness of it. So I will have to leave it at “BLEH.”

The thing is, I know these women. While my heart aches for them and my stomach ties into knots for them, I know, without a shadow of doubt, that they are going to be okay. They will make it through the send off moment. They will make it through the walking into their home whose walls will not house their husband for the next several months. They will make it through the waking up the next morning and knowing theirs is the only coffee cup that will be used that morning. They will make it through hugging their kids when they miss their daddy already. They will make it through because they are strong and fierce. They are loyal and loving. They are, perhaps above all, resilient. Continue reading…

Military: A Few Ways to Support Your Military Community

Man in U.s. Marine Corps Uniform Saluting American Flag

Several people have recently asked me, “How can the “average Joe” support the military community? In particular, they want to know the best ways that they can be helpful to a military family whose service-member is deployed. My first thought was buy the spouse a bottle of wine! But then I thought seriously about it and realized it’s kind of a tricky question: while we (military spouses) certainly appreciate and could totally use a helping hand, it’s hard to coordinate. When I am trying to keep the house in working order, keep the cars in working order, keep the kids in –somewhat- working order, figuring out how to let my neighbors be helpful can get kind of overwhelming. And when I’m already overwhelmed, adding another bit of overwhelming-ness isn’t awesome.

So, I decided to sit down and try to come up with things that were/would have been helpful to me while my husband was on his 8-month deployment. They start out easy and get a little more complicated, but even the smallest acts of kindness go a long way… My List starts here…

Motherhood: Happy Labor Day

Today’s Labor Day: the day to rest from your hard work. We’re all out BBQ-ing, relaxing, enjoying the last of summer. I appreciate this holiday, I really do. No, wait, sort of I don’t.  I appreciate that my husband had the day off of work and we were able to spend extra time with him.  However, my “rest from my hard work” was pretty much non-existent.  I still did laundry (yes, if you read a few posts ago, I am back to having constant laundry), I still made lunches, and I still cleaned up after the kids.  Labor Day for Stay-At-Home Moms is hardly a holiday.

In honor of LABOR day... a belly shot of me in 2006. This was my view the night before I had my daughter. Happy Labor Day!

In honor of LABOR day… a belly shot of me in 2006. This was my view the night before I had my daughter. Happy Labor Day!

I don’t write this from a place of cranky bitterness.  This is my 6th Labor Day non-holiday, so my expectations are realistic and I’m fine with that.  I just think it deserves to be put into writing that the one day of the year that is specifically a day to celebrate laborers isn’t much of a celebration for me.

The day is called “Labor Day”… you would think that mothers would get a little extra something special since they are the ones that actually labor. First they grow the little beans into a child… a human child. That’s crazy. But if that wasn’t enough, they also labor… literally labor… to get the human safely into the world.  That deserves a holiday. Okay, so maybe there’s the kid’s birthday and that’s like a holiday, but that doesn’t really count because it’s the child who gets the presents and attention… not the momma who grew and birthed the kid.  Lame.  Oh, right, there’s Mother’s Day too. But, c’mon, Mother’s Day is celebrating the awesome mothers we happen to be after the child is in the world.  Labor Day should be a holiday to celebrate the fact that women bring humans into the world.  Everyone should have the day off of work too, but let’s just acknowledge that mothers earn the right to claim the “labor” for which we celebrate.

I should probably openly admit that I never went into full labor. I had some serious braxton-hicks for weeks (months) and started labor with the first two.  However, my first child ended up being breech so we planned a c-section.  My second pregnancy was in California where they did not allow VBACs, and finally my third pregnancy had to be a c-section since I already had two… plus he ended up being 10 pounds, so I was happy to go ahead with a c-section on that one! So, I didn’t actually labor, only a little bit with all three.  I’m going to claim some rights to Labor Day though because c-section recoveries are no picnic. They are laborious, too.

So, can we agree that Labor Day should really give more credit to the mothers in this country. Good.

Can I address one more thing about Labor Day? Yes, yes I can, it’s my blog.

I’d like to openly and publicly give big props to all the mothers (who labored) who also have a husband on deployment today.  (I also give props to all military spouses who are celebrating this holiday without your loved one, but a special one to the mothers because of the whole “labor” thing.) The military spouses who are home with the kids will be laboring like always; no husband getting up with the kids so she can catch an extra hour of sleep, no husband to wrestle with the kids or throw them in the pool, no husband to give an extra hand doing dinner dishes, no husband to lounge on the couch with during the middle of the day.  Today is a national holiday, but for many military spouses it is just one more day of deployment, pulling double-duty as mom and dad, seeing all those families together doing family things… together.  Of all the people in the world who deserve a day off, it is the military spouses who are holding down the fort at home and trying to entertain the kids on their day off of school.

No matter if your husband is on deployment or just on a short work-up, missing your spouse on a national holiday is an extra blow to your enthusiasm.  The whole country gets the day off of work and if they don’t they are most likely earning extra over-time or some such incentive, except for the military who are deployed. They’re working right through the BBQs.  While they made the choice to serve in the military and that’s what they signed up to do, I would still like to give all those military members – especially mommies who are deployed and away from their kids – a special salute for laboring an extra day this year. 

So, Happy Labor Day to you all…
… especially to all you mommas who labored to bring your beautiful babies into this world.
…. especially to all you mommas who c-sectioned your beautiful babies into this world and labored through recovery.
… extra especially to all you mommas who have a husband on deployment today, thank you for taking one for the team today, ladies.  I’m sure I have a Labor Day without my husband sometime in the next few years, but please know I appreciate the hard work you’ve put in today. Because of you cherished the extra hours I had with my husband today. Cheers to you!

Ode to My Navy Friends

Last night was one of those nights.  A night for a “farewell”… to wish a friend good luck at the next duty station; to laugh at memories made over the last few years, months, weeks, and days; to promise future “girls weekends,” skype dates, and Facebook updates.  Last night was a little extra difficult for me because it wasn’t just a fellow Navy spouse who we were “see you later-ing” it was the farewell dinner for one of my dearest friends – a true Navy sister.

All day today I’ve been thinking of the friendships I have made through the years as a Navy spouse.  They are truly incredible.  I know, for certain, that I am not alone in thinking that friendships made in the military community are some of the most unconditional, loyal, and beautiful friendships.  Tonight, I write for my military friends. You know who you are, near and far…

To the girlfriends of USNA Mids who I met while dating my future husband… thank you for being part of those beginning months of my Navy life.  What a journey it has been since those days of weekend liberty, Ring dance, and graduation.

To the wives I met through Paul’s flight school days… remember how we whined that we never knew what our husband’s schedule would be the next day?! How we waited (impatiently) for the schedule to come out and the instructor wives would roll their eyes and say, “at least they come home every night and aren’t on deployment… just you wait.” Yeah. Those instructor wives knew what they were talking about.

For all you, who lived in Kingsville, TX, with me and become experts in all things ranching, Bunco, and Wal-Mart. Those were the days! Nothing brings a group of ladies together quicker than having nothing better to do than window-shopping at Wal-Mart.  No, but seriously, talk about long-lasting friendships.. that was TEN years ago.

Last but not least… the last days of flight school… when your favorite person in the whole wide world is flying a big ol’ airplane with a big ol’ radar dish on top and has to land (safely!) on a teeny tiny boat in the middle of the ocean.  Nothing like waiting for that phone call to hear he made it.

To the friends I made when I was GIP (a.k.a. “Grumpy In Pax”)…  Well, to you all… first and foremost I apologize. I was kind of grumpy for three years.  Second and secondmost… thank you for being my friend anyway.  Thank you for driving up to Waldorf or Annapolis or DC with me so we could get out of dodge for a few hours. Thank you for showing me new playgrounds to entertain my kids. Thank you for encouraging me when life was hard as a mom of two (and then three) little kids. Thank you for loving me when I was not my most loveable. The Navy is lucky to have ladies like you.

To the friends I found in the fleet… Well, shoot. Moving across country, dealing with the housing office, ever-changing work up schedules, debating which port call to go to, drama in the Spouse Clubs.   It’s all a bit stressful, but it sure did give us lots to laugh and cry about together.  Relationships that may not have ever gone past the point of acquaintance grew into amazing friendships based on commaradrie over not mowing our backyards until Housing mowed our front yards. Or during a long flight to a port call.  Or finding out we hail from the same home state.

Not to mention the friendships that grew and solidified into something more like a sisterhood through deployments.  When half my heart is on a boat on the other side of the world, life can be pretty lonely. When I only get to see my Hub’s face and hear his voice every 6 weeks or so, life can look pretty bleak.  Deployments suck. But with friends like you, I made it through. We became friends over weird only-done-during-deployment traditions…
* We stuffed “cruise boxes.”
* We made calendar squares.
* We planned Halfway dinner.
* We wrote in code regarding portcalls and homecoming dates. (OPSEC, people!)
* We interupted conversations if we thought our husband was calling.
* We made banners and signs professing our love (and creative wittiness, sometimes) when Homecoming day neared.

And we became even better friends doing things that aren’t so weird and more every-day…
* We shared meals often.
* We drank wine often.
* We shopped often
* We literally worked our behinds off at the gym (more than often).
* We danced!

To all of my Navy friends…  We have gone through so much – so many strange life events that are unique to the military life.  Our friendships have been tested with abnormal stresses, incredible heart breaks, and long distances for long periods of time.  Those tests have made me hate the Navy at times, ached to be “normal” and yet I wouldn’t change a single thing because I have been blessed with such amazing friendships.  Thank you for being your awesome selves so I can have such awesome friends!


Military Life: A Deployment Trick “Blue Line Time”

This post is in special honor of all you out there who are single-handedly parenting your children and trying to keep sane. In particular, I’d like to give a shout-out to Emily C. who commented on my last post and mentioned her husband is on a year-long deployment. Yikes. 

Imagine this: It’s meal-making time. You have hot stuff on the stove top. Your oven just beeped telling you it is 350 degrees. You have a sharp knife in your hand. You have already put in a full day of work (either at home or out of the house). You look at the clock and quickly calculate that you have at least 3 more hours in your “work day” (5 minutes of meal prep, 25 minutes of meal cook time, 30 minutes for kids to eat, 1 hour of bath & bed-time routine, 30 minutes of kitchen clean-up, 15 minutes of house clean-up, 15 minutes of of re-tucking kids into bed), and you are already pretty tired.

Now let’s make it interesting….  we’ll add five Lego pieces laying in front of the refrigerator, a Bitty Baby sitting in the very exact middle of the kitchen floor being “fed” by your daughter, and your toddler son sprawled on his belly repeatedly saying “mom mom mom momomomomomomomomomom!!!”

Yeah……. you’re going to lose it.

But you don’t have to!  I got a little trick for you that saved MANY meal-making times during my husband’s 8-month deployment.  And the best part… all you need is some painter’s tape!!! Say what?!


Setting boundaries in the kitchen

Setting boundaries in the kitchen

1. Take a look at your kitchen layout and find a good place where you can make a boundary line. Generally, the entry way(s) will work best.

2. Place a long piece of tape across the floor at the boundary. We have an island, so I have a Blue Line on each side of the island… make as many lines as necessary.

3. Wrangle your kids and tell them to put their toes on the line (outside of the kitchen) while you stand on the opposite side of the line (in the kitchen) and tell them:
“This is the Blue Line. When I say “BLUE LINE TIME” you need to get on your side of the line and I will be on my side of the line. You will need to take all of your toys with you. Please do not leave them on the floor in the kitchen where I can trip on them. It’s not safe for you (or your toys) to be on my side of the line until I tell you BLUE LINE TIME is over. Let’s practice.”

FYI… My kids (ages 5, 4, and 2 at the time) really liked to race across the line and see who could get out the fastest. My kids also stood at the very very edge of the line and would lean over into the space above the line just to see what I would do. Me silently staring back at them like I was confused and had no idea what they were doing usually got them to smile and walk away.

Of course, always make sure you can still keep an eye on your kiddos and that they are safe… use your best judgement. 

4.  You now have personal space while you are cooking and will be able to move freely around your kitchen.

5. If you find yourself calling “BLUE LINE TIME” during non-meal-prep times and sitting on the floor behind your kitchen island just to get a moment of personal space… do not be ashamed. I did that a time or two… or twenty.

We still use Blue Line Time even though deployment is over… it really works. 

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