This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of 1 Natural Way, a TRICARE breast pump provider. All opinions are entirely my own.
We’ve PCSed a couple times with infants. That’s interesting. There’s so much stuff to travel with – in case of any scenario.
Military life definitely has its challenges.
Our first deployment was when our son was only nine months old.
We PCSed to Utah in August and my husband deployed in January.
I had never lived through a real winter. I had always lived in mild, warm climates. And I had four kids under 10.
Being a mom is often hard.
Being a single mom can be quite difficult. I did that with one child for four years.
Being a military wife with a deployed husband and four kids is an adventure.
First deployments are really hard. There are so many unknowns. We’re up for our second deployment later this year and I feel more prepared.
If you know a mom whose spouse is deployed…take some time to help or just listen during this lonely and hard time.
You’ve seen and checked off all the deployment checklists. You’ve gotten the POA and all the right paperwork.
You’ve said your goodbyes at the airport gate.
The house is quieter. There is so much less laundry to do. Why are there so many leftovers at dinner?
You wake up sprawled in the middle of the bed instead of on your side.
You don’t think you’re gonna make it through these next few months.
I’m here to tell you that you’re gonna make it. You’re gonna be just fine.
How to Navigate Motherhood When Your Spouse is Deployed
I ran my household like clockwork. I was efficient. I was prepared.
As a homeschool mom, I could have just allowed our lives to run into chaos.
But I set a strict schedule and kept to it. Meals, schoolwork, some fun activities, indoor and outdoor playtimes, chores, baths, bedtime.
With four kids under 10, I had to rely on them a lot and we all learned to be interdependent and help each other. It’s amazing what kids can and will do – if you just let them.
I anticipated disaster.
Then our basement flooded and disrupted all my best intentions.
But the routine held and life went on.
Deployment may not be the best time to go back to school or haul the kids to a gazillion summer or after school extracurricular activities.
While routines and schedules are great for sanity…don’t lose heart or get discouraged if it slips. Don’t be legalistic about it.
Holidays and special events can really suck during deployments. Do something special but don’t stress and worry over it being perfect. It won’t be. Do your best. It’s good enough.
Give yourself a little break and realize there’s only one of you.
There are no good or bad emotions. Feel. Let your kids see you. Lean into it. Comfort each other. Discuss your feelings. Validate the sadness and anger but don’t live there.
Learn who your key spouse or the equivalent is within your organization. Get connected to other deployed spouses.
Ask for contacts at church in case of emergency.
Join a moms group. Or a homeschool group. Or a book club. Find a friend somewhere.
Inform neighbors or HOA so they are aware and can assist if needed.
Family visits can be a hassle or a blessing during deployment. You know what’s best for you and yours.
Ask for help.
This is a hard one.
I’ve never liked asking for help.
Our church pretty much ignored us during deployment and that (among other issues) prompted us to find a new one.
My husband’s group commander’s wife came and shoveled snow out of our driveway and it made me so uncomfortable. She also watched my kids a couple times for me to go out but I had nowhere to go and nothing to do. It just wasn’t what I wanted or needed.
Decide what you don’t want or like to do. It may be snow shoveling or mowing the lawn. Find a neighborhood teen to pay to do those tasks.
It helps to know what you want and need – and how and whom to ask.
My neighbors rallied together to help me with our flooded basement and that was an amazing experience. I wouldn’t have known where to start.
If you or your child needs to talk to someone, TRICARE covers at least 3 preliminary mental health appointments with family health care providers and can refer you for more with a therapist if necessary. Don’t hesitate to make those appointments. Be honest with yourself. No shame. Do what you must for the health of you and your family.
This is hard for many moms.
I do better now taking care of myself than I did when my kids were really little.
Eating well and getting enough sleep are challenges for moms of little ones and also for moms whose spouses are deployed.
Set small goals like getting a daily shower and getting dressed in clean clothes.
You’re living your life in three-hour increments as you’re nursing, caring for little ones, surviving.
I keep some quick meal items in the freezer and pantry for when I don’t feel well.
Deployment can a great time to get active, lose weight, get healthier, reset, and refocus. I find it easier to cook and eat what I like when I’m alone. The kids help me stay active.
Set a schedule that works for you and your family. That could mean putting the kids to bed earlier or later for your sanity.
Do something new.
Create a little list of some new and different activities to keep busy.
Ask the kids what they’d like to do and try to do some of their list too. Distractions are good when they miss their parent.
Don’t get overwhelmed, but it’s nice and often necessary to keep your mind busy during those lonely months. Bonus if it’s something you can do with the kids!
Lots of museums are free during summer and National Parks offer free or discounted passes to military families.
Some fun ideas:
- jewelry making
- yoga or pilates
- online classes
- charity work
- church activities
Know your benefits and privileges as a military spouse.
Many military installations offer events for deployed spouses – Give Parents a Break program, free family meals, free tickets, portrait ops, and more.
Get lots of free stuff here for deployed families.
Make sure you’re on email lists for deployed spouses or check social media for your options. Take advantage of the events offered and make new friends too.
I wish these breast pump benefits had been available when my babies were little and nursing!
1 Natural Way offers the popular Medela, Spectra and Kiinde brands. In addition to breast pumps, 1 Natural Way also offers breast pump accessories, compression socks and postpartum care supplies – covered under your Tricare insurance plan at no out of pocket expense to you.
The following five simple steps will take less than 5 minutes, and your breast pump through Tricare will be on its way:
Step 1: Fill out our insurance information form found below
Step 2: Select your breast pump model (Tricare covers all models we offer)
Step 3: Enroll in our Monthly breastfeeding accessories program (called Resupply)
Step 4: Provide us with a prescription or your doctor’s information, and we will obtain one for you
Step 5: Your pump and supplies will ship right to your front door via UPS or USPS
1 Natural Way handles contacting both your health insurance provider and your physician on your behalf. They offer the easiest process in the industry-backed by thousands of reviews and testimonials from moms everywhere. They work hard to make it an enjoyable experience to receive your breast pump with minimal or no out of pocket expense to you.
Deployment is always an inconvenience. We’re thankful for our military family and our freedom.
Hang in there.