To The Military Spouse With Toddlers
2007 was a year for me. I had a newborn, two-year-old and a deployed husband. We were in Germany and man, that was quite the challenge. The toddler years are rough for anyone, add in the Military and a deployment, and you can find yourself in a stressful situation.
These days we are just months away from that two-year-old turning 13 and becoming a teenager. My newborn? He will be 11 this year, and his “baby” brother is almost 6.5. Time goes by, and kids grow up. The toddler years, as difficult as they are, go by and soon you find yourself in a different stage of life.
As I look back on those years, the ones where I had two in diapers, the ones that never seemed like they would end, I am reminded of how difficult they were for me and how much I struggled with them. People tell me that the teen years are worse and I pray that isn’t true for us because those toddler years? They just about did me in.
I do wonder what those years would have been like had my husband never deployed. Would I have been more patient? Would those years have been easier? Would I even know how much harder things could have been?
So, to the military spouse with toddlers that is feeling so burned out and frustrated, know that I have been there. I know what that is like.
What it is like…
- To wake up in the morning and wonder how you are going to make it through the day with these kids. To have to find things to do and ways to occupy your time.
- To not have someone coming home later that night to help. To be the only parent in the house. To be the one that does everything when it comes to the kids. To be both mom and dad for months at a time.
- To be the only diaper changer. To change each and every diaper, every day. To be the sole parent when potty training your stubborn boy.
- To wonder what the heck you are going to make for dinner because your toddler only likes chicken nuggets and you hate to cook.
- To be envious of friends who have never had to solo parent more than a day or two.
- To countdown the hours until your husband is home from work, only the hours are weeks and work is Afghanistan.
- To have to figure out how you will get all of your groceries, a baby and a two-year-old up to the third floor in one trip. You realize you can’t possibly do that, so you have to decide who is going to go first.
- To not be the parent you want to be because you can’t seem to figure out how to do it all by yourself and you have to let things go.
- To have to make decisions about your child all by yourself because you simply can’t talk with your spouse for more than five minutes at a time.
- To not have any family nearby to help you out when you could use them.
- To be so tired and exhausted that you can’t possibly imagine going another six months alone, but then you do.
- To fly across the world with just you and the kids. Two in diapers, one still breastfeeding and knowing that you will probably get 500 stares along the way.
So to the Military spouses with toddlers, it’s going to be okay.
You are living some of your hardest years as a parent, and you have to do a lot of that on your own. Sometimes it really sucks, and there isn’t much you can do to change that. You just have to remember that this too shall pass and this stage will be over before you know it.
You have to depend on your friends, have vent sessions, meet for coffee, take the kids to the park and relax when you can. Know that you are doing the best you can with the life you have. Know that kids do grow and things get a little better. Know that as your children get older, life will get a little easier. Know that you won’t always feel like you do right now. Kids grow. They start school. They learn how to use the potty. They learn how to get dressed without you. They learn how to make breakfast.
They do, I promise. And when you get to that stage, you will look back and remember the days when it didn’t seem like all that was possible.