Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Surviving Separation with Kids

Alright ya'll I'm back. Or I'm trying to be. I can't lie my motivation to do much of anything lately has become nonexistent since Tim left but I'm going to try my best to be more present, just bare with me.  Just saying that makes me feel bad. I mean its not like I'm laying in bed all day long crying my eyes out. The thing is I don't have time to cry, heck I hardly have time to think anymore. Why? Because since the middle of October I have felt what its like to be a single mom, and lets just say my hat goes off to those women who are.

To put all the pieces together for you in case your a little confused by what I'm talking about Tim is now stationed in Cuba while Ethan and I had to stay behind here in the states because of finances. It stinks but we have slowly started to get our groove back and I decided I would try to impart some military spouse wisdom on you.  Now Tim and I have done this whole military separation thing before but this time is different. Why? Because before I could come and go as I please and was able to distract myself with girls nights, movies, etc. I would throw myself into keeping busy. But now we have Ethan, and this is the first separation with him.

He has been taking it pretty well most days now but in the beginning he wasn't having any of this Daddy being gone business. He rebelled, his potty training regressed and he became a defiant little monster who some days I wondered if he hated me. There have been days where he would bring me to tears and it would be all I could do to walk away and cry in private because I didn't want him to see me like that. As time has gone by he has grown accustom to the change, and I have grown a back bone of steel which I realize I didn't have before.

That's probably my first tip to surviving with a child. Don't give in just because Daddy ( or Mommy) is gone. It does not good for either of you if you start bending the rules that had previously been in place, and it makes it a lot harder to try and enforce them when you realize this. Keep your routine as normal as possible. Case and point the first week or so after Tim left I let Ethan sleep in my room with me. Why? Because he missed his daddy and I hated to see his little heart breaking. It has taken me a month to get him back in his room and countless hours of sleep lost.

Don't care what others think. This is true to parenting in general but sometimes you can't just leave the store or the restaurant because your kid his having a meltdown and come back later when they are with your significant other. If you waited on that then you'd be waiting a heck of a long time. Its just you. And sometimes things have to get done, whether they want them too or not.

Make videos! Do this before your significant other leaves and during. Have them read stories, sing songs, and even remind your kid to behave. Those videos are probably my biggest lifesavers. The ones of Tim reminding Ethan to " tell mommy when you need to potty" or " remember we don't hit". Because it gives me a break from having to say it and it gives Ethan a break from having to hear me drill it into him. He responds better when he is having a rough day and I pull out the "Daddy Videos"

Now when I say you're doing it on your own yes sometimes you are. 100%, but sometimes if your lucky like me you have friends and family that are there to help. Because we are in somewhat of a financial crunch and we are trying to pay off debt we took a friend up on her offer to babysit for free, but to try and ease the burden my mom who lives near by also watches Ethan as much as she can. They don't just watch him so I can work, they give me free time, me time, something I have needed and appreciated so much.

Speaking of free time, I think its a must. No matter how much you want and need to be there for your child you have to set some time aside for yourself. Time to read a book, time to do lunch with friends, time to go to the grocery store without feeling you have to rush. Just time.

Then of course your try to stay as connected with your other half as you can. You Skype, your face time, you make phone calls and send packages, you do what it takes to feel connected no matter how big or small.  We talk to Tim on average about twice a week, one time on the phone and the other we try to face time.

Most importantly remember that it doesn't matter where your are, or how many miles seperate you, you are still a team. Always. Don't be afraid to talk to your spouse about issues, rough days, good days, or any other type of days. If you're always rainbows and butterflies they know it. Be real, be honest, be the team you always have been.

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