Perfect timing, stomach bug.
Not only had we just moved OCONUS, but I was laid low with something nasty while my 2 year old ran amok. Oh, and it was my husband’s first day back at work. Did I mention I was also pregnant?
There were only so many movies I could get her to sit through. Going outside wasn’t even a remote possibility.
I could think of a million options, if only we were still stateside on leave or at out last duty station. We were tens of thousands of miles from every single person I knew.
It would have been easy to lose my mind, break down or call my service member in tears. Instead, I called in my village.
Anytime I need something I can phone a friend in my military spouse village.
Why Raising My Child In My Military Spouse Village Is Awesome
Having a baby in the military? No worries, mama! Your friends have totally got your back. Whether you need breastfeeding advice or something more, there is probably someone in your network who can help you.
When I was a nervous new mother, I phoned a girlfriend who already had 3 children. She offered me moral support and advice about bottle feeding and swaddling. She talked me down during more than one very late night feeding.
My friend’s husband deployed a few months before her due date. She was all alone, with their older child, when the time came. Except, she wasn’t really alone. Immediately military spouse friends swooped in. They took care of her son, stocked her fridge and finished the nursery set-up. A few extra close friends held her hand during labor and delivery.
These things aren’t uncommon in the military community. It’s standard practice for military spouses who depend on each other for almost everything.
Travel With Kids
Anyone who has ever boarded a plane with small children knows it’s, let’s say, interesting. Anything can and will happen during travel with kids. From illness to injury to destructive boredom, one of your military mom friends has probably experienced it.
Next time you plan to travel, ask around. Your friends will be able to offer the best driving routes or sage advice about navigating airport security. Your village can set you up with essential travel items too.
For our last trip, there wasn’t a crib for our infant. Instead of rushing out to buy one, I phoned a friend. She has an awesome travel bassinet that fits into a suitcase. Problem solved. Plus, she’s borrowing our high chair right now.
Raising children is tough. Between navigating screen time and dealing with a toddler tantrum, it’s easy to be at your limit ultra fast. When your spouse is gone a lot or you’re far from home, building support networks are vital to keeping your sanity.
Military families have almost built-in groups to turn to in times of trouble. Whether it’s the other parents in your on-base neighborhood, the pals you met at Stroller Warriors or someone from the base chapel, there are people for you to lean on.
Where we currently live, all the kids are around the same age and 3 of them have birthdays within 6 months of each other. Our spouses are in and out constantly. We team up for dinners, play dates and all pitch in to watch the kids outside. Having other parents to call on when I’m at my breaking point is life-saving.
It’s not just local friends, either. My virtual village is equally important. My support network stretches around the globe, so someone is always awake when I need to vent or want advice. By connecting online with people I’ve met, and those I know virtually, I have access to countless experts in education, psychology and parenting.
My daughter woke up with a rash the other day. I had literally no idea what it was. My treatment choice was limited to the military ER because it was Sunday. There was no way that I was going to drag 2 kids down there for hours for a rash.
Instead, I video-chatted with my friend who is a physician assistant. She checked out the rash, talked to my kiddo and gave me some basic treatment options until the clinic opened on Monday.
In your many travels, you probably have a few friends in the medical profession too. Knowing that I have friends with medical knowledge in my village is so comforting. I know that no matter where I go or what my in-person options are, I can get the best advice from my friends.
My military spouse village makes raising my children easier.
When I was sick, I could have cried and dissolved into a helpless puddle. Instead, I picked up the phone. I had luckily gotten the contact information for a few of my new neighbors. They swooped in and entertained my child all day long, brought me Gatorade and found me a babysitter to help the next day.
We had known each other for just a few days, but they didn’t hesitate to help when I needed it most. It’s just what happens in the military spouse village. We all step up to help each other.
This military life can be tough, especially with kids. Having a military spouse village to support and help you makes raising children so much easier.