Friday, November 27, 2009

Daddy is Deployed - The Other Big "D"

In the next couple of weeks, two of my best friends will be single parents. They’re still married. It’s the other big “D” – deployment.  So, in a nod to them and all the badass mommies who take care of everything, we offer up the following suggestions.

Making the Most of Your Best Friend’s Husband’s Deployment:
1) Offer up free babysitting. From your husband. Tell him it’s his chance to serve his country. Then go to your friend’s house (conveniently free of small children) to drink beer and play Wii.  For hours.

2) Encourage the concept of “breakfast for dinner”. Breakfast defined as: children eating cornflakes at the table while mommy watches tivo’ed episodes of Grey’s Anatomy with a glass of wine in the living room. When your own children become jealous that they don’t get to eat cereal for dinner, generously offer to let them (provided they clean up the playroom and go to bed early).

3) Your friend is going to need a ‘happy place’. A place to go when her kids think she is listening to them, while hauling trash and recycling to the curb, or on every Saturday night, when the middle of the bed looks lonely instead of awesome…  Help her find her happy place. Cut out pictures from UsWeekly and stick them under the windshield wipers of her mini-van. Create a playlist of songs she may have roller-skated to in eighth grade. Get creative. Get stupid. She may find her happy place is skating cross-overs with Robert Pattinson during couples only to “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.

4) Calories. Her husband is getting skinny and buff while he’s deployed. It’s a fact. She will feel the pressure to get even hotter while he’s gone. Like she needs more pressure. It’s your job to remind her of one very important fact. He will not have had relations in six to eighteen months, therefore he will not notice ten pounds. Eat the chocolate. It’s all good.

5) Help her learn to say NO. We know these deployed-spouse mommies are do-ers. They can do anything. It’s your job to turn them into don’t-ers. Don’t clean your own house. I know some one who can scrub your toilets and floors for $75 every other week. Your husband does not need to know. Remind them to be selfish bitches. If the choice is to lead a Girl Scout hike or get her nails done – nails totally win. Should they help out with planning the di—No. Hell no. Get a babysitter and go have drink. Laundry? No no no. “Under the Tuscan Sun” is on cable. Pour another glass.

6) Start a book club to encourage her intellectual stimulation. Ok, so maybe the book club could be more accurately described as a “six women drink four bottles of Pinot while giggling and reading People magazine” club. Make it weekly.

7) When her children start acting out (which they will do) and taking it out on her (which is so not right, but unfortunately inevitable), step in. [Sidebar: at least her kids have an excuse to act like crackheads.] Bring the little sweeties on over to your house. Be cool. Let them eat candy and watch stupid tv. Then bribe them. To act right.  A $30 investment in a DSi game goes a looong way, my friends.

8) Be available for consults.  This can be anything from listening to how much she misses him, to making her giggle as she vents about how much everything sucks, or seeing her through bouts of dealing with The Fear.  By calling them  "consults" instead of "chatting", it confers a degree of importance.  It will make you both feel like you are not wasting copious amounts of time on the phone every day.  And it is important.

9) Get ready for the The Crisis. At some point during his deployment everything will go pear-shaped.  Maybe it's a trip to the ER.  Maybe its the IRS deciding that now is a peachy time for an audit.  It may be big or small, but it's coming.  Do what you gotta do, friend.  Babysit the kids, find a lawyer, call in the big guns if needed.  And always make sure that there is plenty of chinese take-out and wine.
10) When our hero's prospective return from deployment is a couple of weeks away, start reminding her that reacclimation can be hard.  It will be awesome.  At first.  But the reunited-and-it-feels-so-good buzz only lasts a couple of days.  And then he takes up residency on the couch, asserting how he needs to rest (true, but still...).  And he starts having opinions on things like what you buy at the grocery store and how late the kids stay up.  So, as much as she has earned a break, it is not coming.  She is a Mommy.  And there are no breaks in Mommyland.  Sigh...  But at least she'll be off trash duty.

We understand that our recommendations are somewhat diabolical in nature, unashamedly mommy-centric and slightly obnoxious.  But we want to help.  And we know who makes the world go round, who really makes all these deployments possible and who is really in charge.  Like the t-shirt says, "Your rank has nothing to do with my authority."  Rock on, military mommies. 


  1. So true, so true. As the mommy whose husband has been deployed it takes just about everything you've got to get through that year. Everyone works hard - kids too - and tries to squish down The Fear. Friends help so much. Rock on Lydia.

  2. This made me cry . . . countdown to deployment has begun . . .YOU ROCK, FRIEND!

  3. UGH I cried too with a little mixture of laughter - the sad thing is, is that I am always in denial of needing ANY of these things because "I can do it all damnit." My bestie who lives 900 miles away started showing me things from here... I LOVE IT!! Thank you ladies!!

  4. This is great - and so true! I learned many of them the hard way when my own soldier-in-residence was deployed to Aghanistan for 14 months. Thanks so much. I know of a few other Mommies who I'm going to share this with.

  5. That's great. I already went through the hubby deploying and I am in the military myself.
    That was terrible. I did lose weight, because I started going to college. Those were hard times, my friend. Hard, hard times. With a 1 year old. Now we have two kiddos and it's the hubby's turn to wait through a deployment. I get to go early to mid 2011. The schedule is never really set in stone. *sigh* I'm nervous, but I married an awesome man and he will do great...except perhaps at cleaning. Well, actually I know it'll be the worst the house has ever been in, but oh well. As long as my kids are cleaned and fed periodically and happy...we're all good. :)

  6. had to find this again so I can step up for my best friend/sister-from-another mother :) when her hubs leaves again. Thank you!!!!!!

  7. Just saw this and we have our 7th deployment impending...I'm crying in my wine now...Hubs is looking at me like I'm nuts

  8. As a mommy of two boys who has done three deployments in the past five years...thank you. This article is great and the diabolical, unashamedly mommy-centric and slightly obnoxious advice is just what we need some (most) days just to get through. So thanks again!

  9. After 2 deployments I can say that any and all of this would rock and totally make the day of a military spouse!
    In the middle of the last deployment at about month 7 I gave up on trying to do all the cleaning and hired some one to help. It was the best thing I ever did.

  10. This so so awesome - wish I had had someone "help" me this way while my hubby was gone :-)

  11. how many different was can I say yes! this is so awesome!!!!! Send it to a military base for approval to be added to the Family Advocacy program or something...make it official- this is what we need when they are gone- especially the wine! :^) My son was 12 days old when my hubby left the first time- I was still post-pardomy and cried every time he cried. would have loved a friend like this...
    once again you guys have spoken the truth and encouraged millions...okay will you settle for just one worn out mommy? thanks!

  12. I know that I am more than a couple of years late but I just discovered this blog - and I must say that this particular post touched my heart in ways I could not even begin to explain. My husband has been deployed twice since my daughter was born (and she's only three). I also work full time for the Army in Arlington and live in Woodbridge (since you're in Fairfax, I know you're familiar with this horrendous commute). I'm currently expecting #2 and struggling with life in general.

    Thank you for helping me find "my place" amongst all the mommy blogs in the blog-world. Love your site!

  13. This is the best list of helpful ideas for deployment EVER!!!! I know that several things on this list have helped me while my HUbs is deployed! Next time my friends ask what they can do while he's away... I'm directing them HERE!




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