Reader Military Wife writes,
Today I am struggling. I am struggling with being a 19 year old military wife to an amazing soldier and husband and a mother of two beautiful children. Why am I struggling, you ask? Because my husband is gone. Not for too long, he will be back in a month or so… But today I am struggling. My heart is aching. I’m having difficulty finding the ‘want’ to be involved in cleaning my house, caring for my kiddos with 100% attention, and tending to myself. May I ask you…to ask your readers on how to realistically handle the day to day life of being a military man’s spouse? Thank you so much for your time. Keep on keepin on.
Well, MW, I seriously have no idea how you do it. When I was 19 I was either drunk or studying. I didn’t even take care of a plant, never mind two children and a house. Wait, I did take care of a plant, but it was bamboo which basically doesn’t even need dirt. So, kudos to you. And I think a month is definitely a long time to be on your own with two kids. So are other, smaller, chunks of time, like an hour. Here is my advice to you:
- Make sure you have a lot of social support. Where I live, in Annapolis, there are lots of military wives, and even if they don’t live on base, they seem to have a network where they support one another, watch each other’s kids sometimes, and so forth. Can you get involved in this? You should make a goal of talking to a friend in person every single day. It can’t just be you and the kids or you’ll go nuts. Don’t have super high criteria for friends, either. If they are nice, bam, they’re a friend. You can be pickier later in life. Now, you just need nice people around.
- Do not kill yourself over keeping a spotless house. Nobody really cares or notices except you. If you vacuum once a week that’s good. I don’t know how old your kids are but get them picking up their own toys sooner than later. Never make your bed or do anything that is a total waste of time. If nobody sees it, don’t clean it. Conserve your energy. If anyone criticizes your home, ask them to clean it if they care that much.
- Get your kids out of the house at least once a day. Don’t have any homebound days because those are depressing and isolating. Even if it’s just a trip to the store, or the park, get out.
- Do not sweat the small stuff. If your kids watch a little too much TV, oh well. Remember my motto: SCREEN TIME SHOULD MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER. Read more of my tips on making mornings less of a catastrophe here, and use the tips all day long.
- If there are any child discipline problems making your life more difficult, nip those in the bud too. There are ways to get your two year old and three year old to behave, and if your kids are older than that, they are probably less of a pain in the rear anyway.
- Do a little something for yourself every day. Whether this is having a piece of chocolate (I keep secret good chocolate that I do not share with the children. Is that pathological?), listening to your music in the car instead of whatever crap the kids want to hear, watching a movie when they are in bed, getting a manicure, getting a Starbucks drink that is 100% sugar but is delicious, whatever. You’re a person too, not just the kids’ caretaker.
- Keep a blank email up to jot down notes for your husband. Then at the end of the day you can edit it and send him the most important things that happened that day, or what’s most important to you that he responds to. I’m sure he has limited time, if any time, but at least if you send him emails you can feel connected. And one day you can look back at them together and remember this time in your lives and how strong it made you as a couple.
Good luck. Thanks to your husband for his service, and to you and the other military wives for making their service possible.
Till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Complains When My Husband Goes Away For One Night, So I Think You’re Awesome.
If you have a question for DrPsychMom – please email her at DrPsychMom@modernmom.com.