The PCSing Spouse

Where Spouses Help Spouses

Category: kids

The Resilient Military Spouse

I see you. I see you taking night classes in silence while your children sleep and your spouse is in the field. I see you spending hours, days, years of your life job hunting. Filling out hundreds of applications only to be told you aren’t the “perfect” fit, or worse getting no response at all. I see you working jobs far below your capabilities, for pay that barely pays your Daycare. I see you biting your nails over your pile of bills as  you wait for a CDC spot to open up at your new duty station. I see you hustling. Desperately pleading with your friends on Facebook to buy the inventory you maxed out your credit card to get. I see you leaving the only career you’ve ever known in the name of student loans and car payments. 

I see you,  because you’re amazing. Sure, sometimes you get down, but then you get up. You always get up. No matter how many jobs you don’t get, how many degrees you can’t use, you keep getting up. I love when people say “well it could be worse” or “this is what you signed up for.” As if you could have passed on the love of your life because they chose an inconvenient profession. I feel sorry for those people because they don’t know what it’s like to love someone so much you’d make any sacrifice to have a life with them. Yes, it could always be worse, but your struggle is real. It’s real, and I see you, because military spouses are the most resilient people I know.

So be kind to each other. When your friends are hawking beauty products on Facebook, buy some. When someone is venting on the spouse page, let them. Offer them kindness and hope instead of judgement. When you’re leaving a great job, try to fill it with a fellow milspouse. Be a part of the solution. See each other, support each other. We are all in this together.

Surviving a Birth During Deployment

I truly believe the hardest thing I have ever done with my life was entering motherhood during a deployment. There wasn’t anything remotely similar in my life beforehand to prepare me for this and I felt as though I was greatly naive about the entire situation. My husband left for pre-deployment training when I was 28 weeks pregnant, came home for 4 days when I was 36 weeks pregnant, and met our daughter 1 week shy of her turning 5 months old.

 

We had a plan, but our plan really only was for birth and a few weeks after birth, it didn’t extend the entire time of that deployment, and that’s where I feel I could have done a lot of things differently. Hindsight is 20/20 right?

 

At my 4 week postpartum check up, I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression and things just went downhill from there. I didn’t allot for appropriate rest time. I didn’t let my body heal- and by attempting to do too much, without help I was in a very hard place emotionally and physically. I was having anxiety attacks daily, migraines, nutrition deficiency, and a ton of other issues.

 

Because of my poor planning, I want to share with you some realistic things for mothers out there who are about to embark on a birth during a deployment to utilize and plan for.

 

  1. Hire a Postpartum Doula- while we had one, I did not use her the way I truly should have. A Postpartum Doula can do everything from help around the house, take care of baby so you can sleep or eat a meal in peace, to helping establish some self care. They can cook meals, do dishes and laundry, and assist with pumping, diaper changes, etc. They truly are a helper just for mom.
  2. Arrange for daycare or a mommy’s helper once a week. Once the first month or so has passed and you’re starting to find your new balance, I highly recommend hiring in a sitter or mommy’s helper to watch the kids to give you some much needed reprieve for you just to do something for YOU- this isn’t meant to help with errands or chores, this is purely so YOU get a break mama- because during a deployment, there is no break- we all know this.
  3. Outsource as much as you can– this means grocery delivery, or grocery pick up, paying for a lawn service, house cleaner, etc. Take the weight of everything off your shoulders but helping you through this transition time so you can truly HEAL physically from labor, but more importantly EMOTIONALLY.
  4. Seek counseling even if you think you are perfectly fine– dealing with a home, a new baby, managing work, the house, budget, keeping up a marriage- it’s hard just during a normal deployment, but during a birth a lot of emotions happen and a lot of thoughts, sometimes it’s just nice to speak with someone who isn’t involved just to make sure at the end of the day you truly are OK. Worst case, they send you away with some better coping mechanisms and validate your feelings. It doesn’t mean you’re crazy, it means you’re being proactive.
  5. Ask for a meal train after the family leaves– we had a ton of people bringing me meals after the baby was born, but I really needed that kind of help after my entire family went home. It was the time after 1 month that I really needed the help with meals. So if someone, or the squadron, or anyone offers to do meals- ask for them after the family is gone.

It’s my hope that sharing my story of planning for birth with a spouse deployed that I can lessen another spouse from having a difficult time. It’s a rush of emotions experiencing a new child whereas the spouse will never know them that small, it’s a hard burden to shoulder that- but making sure you- the new mom is supported and taken care of- should be at the front of any deployment planning in these circumstances.

***Welcome to our newest teammate Lauren Cecora!!!

Lauren is a Postpartum Mentor for women who are desperately overwhelmed and over-scheduled. Through her Sanity Saving Tips, free challenges, and book, she’s here to help you regain balance in your life- while making it all effortless. Meet Lauren and Save Your Sanity at www.laurencecora.com.

Minimalism with Kids

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Having a second kid has really highlighted the fact that I have too much kid stuff (and stuff in general). I find myself constantly picking up a rotation of 700 Shopkins off my floor so that I don’t step on one and die. I needed a change and decided to jump on the minimalist home bandwagon. Now, I would love to go all in and turn my house into some sparse super clean dream home but that’s not realistic with a toddler so I had to tweak the plan and compromise in some areas.

 

First, I decided to tackle the kids clothes. I seriously had 8 tubs of stores baby clothes from Aubrey’s last 3 years which is insane, I know. I had my husband get out all 8 and dumped them all in the living room so I would be forced to do it all at once. Then I went through it one by one and if it was from Walmart or some other replaceable store I put it in the donate bag. Then I went through what was left and asked myself if I loved it (Marie Kondo style). If I didn’t, it also went for donation. I gave myself 1 tub and had to relegate the rest to fit into it. It was difficult to take the “but she wore this when” emotions out of it but it helped to have my husband there to remind me that’s why we took pictures. The feeling after getting everything down to 1 tub was pure joy and relief and it encouraged me to keep going.

 

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Second, the toys. My biggest problem with the toys was the mindset that I paid for these and maybe I will have more kids blah blah blah. I justified this by telling myself that my next kid will want his own toys and it sucks to get nothing but hand me downs. I used the same principle with the toys as with the clothes. If it’s cheap and replaceable it goes unless she currently plays with it a lot. Missing parts? Broken? Been in the bottom of the toy box forever? Gone! I also relegated myself to the toy box. What’s left has to fit. I can’t expect her to clean up her stuff if there is too much to fit in the toy box.

 

These two steps have really helped me pair down my clutter. This means I have less to clean up and more time to play. Don’t get me wrong, it is a constant battle because we are constantly buying new toys and have to remind ourselves that if something comes in, something else must go out. It is, however, worth it to to feel like you are controlling the stuff and it’s not controlling you. My home is officially a much happier place and I wont be hauling all of the junk around as we PCS.

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