|How to Help a Mom During Deployment|
by Athena Goldinger Hall
When soldiers are deployed for extended periods of time, their spouses and families need extra support. Here are some things I’ve experienced during my husband’s deployments with suggestions on how you can help a military family.
I don’t want to cook. Too often the kids get macaroni and cheese, and I have a bowl of cereal in front of the T.V. for dinner.
TIP: Taking the time to prepare and deliver a meal means a lot. Even better, mobilize your MOPS group to deliver one meal each week.
I need space. As much as I love my kids, I really could use a few hours alone.
TIP: Watching a mom’s kids for a few hours a month (or week) will give her a much-needed break.
I need another adult to talk to. I can’t handle being in an empty house tonight.
TIP: Schedule a girls’ night out once a month and go to a movie or get pedicures. Help take her mind off of everything for a little while.
Your husband did what? Well I haven’t talked to mine in three weeks.
TIP: Some things are better not said. Please don’t complain that all your husband does is watch football on the weekends or is going away on a hunting trip for two whole days. Your weekend alone doesn’t compare to 18 months of deployment.
Thanksgiving was great! Just me and the kids and some turkey bologna …
TIP: Holidays are hard and can be depressing during a deployment. Invite them to join you when you watch fireworks on the 4th of July or go tree hunting for Christmas.
I am fine … no, really.
TIP: Pride can make it difficult to ask for help or even accept it. If you keep getting told that everything is under control, help anyway. Show up on a Saturday and mow the lawn. Bring over a chick flick and some ice cream to enjoy once the kids are in bed.
Everyone wants to help now, but it won’t last. They’ll all forget after three months.
TIP: Sometimes offers of support are overwhelming in the beginning, but deployments can last over a year and the offers disappear. Check in on a regular basis, even if that means putting it on your calendar.
He may be home … but I still need friends!
TIP: When a solider returns home, it’s exciting and overwhelming. Your friend will want to spend time with her soldier, but she still needs you. Offer babysitting, a meal or just let her talk about all the emotions she’s feeling. Adjusting is hard, not just for the soldier, but for the family too.
Athena Goldinger Hall is a military mom and an Area Director for MOPS International Area 6 — Alaska, Montana and Wyoming.