How to Get Through a Deployment With Toddlers
Deployment #2, my husband left, and it was just me, my two-year-old, and my four-year-old. A deployment with two toddlers.
If you have ever had a toddler, you know how much work they can be. Toddlers are a handful, even the easy ones. And here I was home with two of them, with my husband too many miles away.
I was a SAHM and didn’t have a spouse coming home at the end of the day. I didn’t have a spouse who could watch the kids for 15 minutes so that I could take a shower. A spouse that could help pick up the house after the kids went to bed. A spouse who I could have adult conversations with after the kids went to bed.
During a deployment, I didn’t have him to be home with the boys so I could go out for a few hours by myself. I didn’t have him to be home when I went out to dinner with my friends. And that part of solo parenting just made life with a toddler a little more complicated.
Whether you are a stay at home mom, with the kids at home during the day, or a working mom, whose kids go to daycare, going through a deployment with toddlers is going to be a challenge.
You will have days that drain you, and days you feel like you got this.
You will have days where you wonder how you will get through, and you will have days when you know that you can. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are going through a deployment with toddlers:
- Find some good friends you can have playdates with. Find people you can vent to about what your kids are doing that is stressing you out. Find people who understand when you are having a bad day and just need something extra to help you smile.
- Find fun activities you can do with your kids. See if you receive any free hours at hourly care. Hourly care will be your lifesaver. You can also trade babysitting with friends. Find a way to have some time to yourself, even if you spend it grocery shopping.
- Remember, things will not always be this way. You won’t always be the only adult in the house. You won’t be the only one to be able to keep up with the cleaning. You won’t be the only one who is there to take care of the kids.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is hard, especially when you are surrounded by other moms solo parenting their kids too. This is when trading things like babysitting or even cooking meals can be a good idea. Get creative and find ways to help one another out.
- Don’t feel you like you have to do everything people want you to do. Family will want you to come visit, if you think traveling solo with toddlers is too much, ask if someone can come see you instead. Maybe an after deployment trip with all of you would be better. On the other hand, going home for an extended visit with your kids can allow you to have a bit of a break while your family can help you. Weigh the pros and cons and figure out what will work for you.
Deployments with kids can be difficult, no matter the age. Having a toddler is just simply tiring and being the only parent during that stage can make things more complicated. Find ways to stay busy, connect with other people, and take each day as it comes.
What helps you the most if you are going through a deployment with toddlers? What tips could you offer other moms?