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. 

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