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How To Cope with Deployment: Military Mom's Guide

How To Cope with Deployment: Military Mom's Guide

Deployment can be a difficult time for military families, especially military moms.

Whether it's your first deployment or your tenth, it can be hard to say goodbye to your loved one and adjust to the changes that come with their absence. As a military mother, it's important to take care of yourself and know that you're not alone. Below are a few tips to help you cope with your service member's deployment.

Stay Informed

It's important to stay informed about the deployment schedule and what to expect. This will help you prepare and make necessary arrangements for the upcoming months. Knowing the deployment schedule can also help you plan for when you'll be able to communicate with your loved one.

To stay informed, you can stay in touch with the family readiness officer or point of contact of your child's unit, regularly check the unit's website for updates, check the Defense Finance and Accounting Service website for information about pay and benefits, take advantage of the resources provided by the military such as counseling or therapy, and use social media groups specifically for military families.

It's important to stay informed but also to remember that schedule can change and regular check-ins with the unit and their website are needed to stay updated with the newest information.

Find Support

Military Mom Groups

One of the best ways to cope with deployment is to seek out other military families or groups that understand what you're going through. They can provide emotional support and practical advice. They can also share their experiences and help you navigate the deployment process. Whether it's joining a support group, reaching out to a military mom or even online groups and forums, you will find many people that can relate to your feelings and share same experiences.

Below are some resources that can help military parents going through deployment:

  • Military OneSource: A program that provides confidential counseling, information, and support to service members and their families.
  • Military Family Support Groups: Support groups offered at military bases led by trained facilitators that offer a sense of community and understanding.
  • Online Support Groups: Support groups found on social media, websites and forums that connect military families and offer support and advice.
  • Military and Family Support Center (MFSC): A program that offers a wide range of services, including counseling, financial assistance, child care, and more.
  • Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC): this organization focuses on providing support to the children of military families, including counseling services and educational programs.
  • National Military Family Association (NMFA): this organization focuses on supporting families of active-duty and retired service members, through programs and advocacy efforts.
  • Blue Star Families: this organization focuses on supporting military families and providing them with resources, including counseling and financial assistance.

Stay Connected

Staying connected with your loved one during deployment is an important way to cope with the distance and separation. But with technology, it's easier than ever to stay connected. From letter writing, to phone calls, video chats, or social media, there are many ways to stay in touch.

It's important to remember that communication may be limited during deployment, due to things like limited internet or poor cell phone reception. Be flexible and understanding if plans for communication need to be changed. The important thing is to make an effort to stay connected, even when it's difficult.

Take Care of Yourself

Military Mom Reading Books

During deployment, it can be easy to neglect your own needs when you keep worrying about your child and the deployment, but it's important to remember that taking care of yourself will also help you better support them. Engage in activities that make you feel good, whether it's eating healthy, get enough sleep, going for a walk, practicing yoga, or spending time with friends and family.

Taking care of yourself may be hard but it's essential for your own well-being, and it's a good way to be in a better position to support your child. Remember, a healthy and well-rested caregiver is better equipped to provide the support and care that their loved one needs during deployment.

Reach Out for Professional Help

Deployment is a loss, and it's important to allow yourself time to grieve. Feelings of sadness and worry are normal, but if it becomes overwhelming, it might be a good idea to reach out to a professional. Counseling or therapy can be a great way to process your feelings and learn coping strategies.

There are resources available specifically for military families, such as the Military OneSource program, counseling services on base, Veterans Affairs, private counseling and therapy, support groups, or Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Remember, You're Not Alone

Deployment can be a difficult time for military moms and families, but with support, self-care, and the right resources, you can get through it. Remember, you're not alone, and it's okay to reach out for help when you need it.

What Is OPSEC For Military Moms And Why It's Important?

What Is OPSEC For Military Moms And Why It's Important?

If you raised a military hero, you may have heard of OPSEC.  Operations Security (OPSEC) is a way to secure information that can be used against us by enemies.

As a military mom, it's easy to fall into the habit of sharing details about our service member on social media, like photos with our son's name showing, deployment dates, or even countdowns until they come home without realizing the potential consequences.

It is important to remember that once information is posted online, it can be accessed by anyone, including adversaries. As a result, our service members may be put in danger.

What is OPSEC actually?

OPSEC is the process of protecting sensitive information from being accessed by unauthorized individuals. In the military, this is especially important as it can affect the success of operations and the safety of our service members.

Why you should never post deployment information online?

Why you should never post deployment information online?

Posting deployment dates online can put your child in danger by potentially giving away information to adversaries and exposing them to hostile actions.

There have been cases where deployment dates have had to be changed due to too many people posting the original date online. This not only puts that information in front of adversaries but also causes frustration, uncertainty, and extra stress to your child and your family as well.

How to OPSEC on Social Media

When it comes to social media and OPSEC, it is crucial to be cautious about what information you share online. Even if you are posting in a private FB group or on a secured network, there will still be a risk that the information could be accessed by adversaries who wish to use it against you and your soldier.

To lower the risks when posting information about your child on social media, you should consider the following tips

  • Avoid posting identifying information, such as name, rank, and unit information
  • Be cautious about sharing location-based information, such as check-ins, geotags, and travel plans
  • Be mindful of the details you share about upcoming deployments and return dates
  • Be careful about sharing sensitive information, such as unit movements, mission details, and other classified information

What is PERSEC?

In addition to OPSEC, it's also important for us military moms to be aware of, which is PERSEC. PERSEC refers to the protection of personal information, such as social security numbers, addresses, and phone numbers, from being accessed or used by unauthorized individuals. This is especially important in the age of the internet, where personal information can be easily accessed and exploited.

Resources for Military Moms to Learn More about OPSEC and PERSEC

Below are some resources to learn more about OPSEC, PERSEC, and how they can affect our military members, and what you should keep in mind to practice daily

Conclusion

By prioritizing both OPSEC and PERSEC in our daily life, you can help protect your military and family from potential threats and maintain your privacy from adversaries. It's a small but really important aspect of being a military mom, so that you could support your child and the military as a whole.

What's Next After Military Basic Training: A Guide for Military Moms

What's Next After Military Basic Training: A Guide for Military Moms

As a military mom, sending our child off to Basic Combat Training (BCT) was an emotional rollercoaster. 

First of all, let us congratulations on your child for completing military basic training. You must be so proud of them!

We know firsthand how tough it can be to navigate military life, especially as a mom. You couldn't wait for those training weeks to be over so you could see them again and feel the joy of their hug. But as any military parent knows, the journey doesn't end there.

Now that your kid has made it through their basic training, you may be wondering what's next. Don't worry, we have outlined some of the key things for you to keep in mind as they move forward in their military career.

Prepare for Advanced Training

So, depending on our children's military occupation, they may need to attend additional training to hone their skills and learn more specialized tasks. This could include technical training or leadership development courses. These types of training are designed to prepare them for more advanced roles and responsibilities within the military.

It can be tough to juggle training and family life, but it's definitely worth it in the long run. Encourage them to take advantage of these opportunities to grow and develop in their career.

Ready for Assignments and Duty Stations

After completing basic training, your soldier will be assigned to a unit and a duty station. This could be anywhere in the world, so be prepared for the possibility of deployment. It's important for them and you to be flexible and adaptable as they move to their new assignment.

We know it can be tough to be apart them, but stay in touch with them and offer support as they adjust to their new surroundings.

Be Aware of Their Career Development

What's Next After Military Basic Training: A Guide for Military Moms

The military offers a wide range of opportunities for career advancement, including education and training programs, leadership positions, and promotions.

Encourage your soldier to take advantage of these opportunities to grow and develop in their career. Whether they are interested in advancing to a higher rank, or pursuing additional education or training, there are many paths they can take to achieve their career goals. It's never too late to set new goals and work towards them.

You Are Not Alone

As a military mom, you are not alone. There are many resources available to support you, including child care, counseling, and financial assistance. If you are facing any challenges or difficulties, don't hesitate to reach out for help.

It's important to take care of yourselves and your family as you navigate military life. Remember to make time for each other and prioritize your relationships.

Don't Forget To Take Care Of Yourself

In the demanding environment of military mom life, it's important to prioritize your well-being and that of your kid. Encourage both of you to engage in activities that nourish your minds, bodies, and spirits. This could include exercise, hobbies, and self-care routines.

Taking care of yourselves will help you both stay healthy and resilient as you face the challenges of military life. Don't forget to take some time for yourself and do things that bring you joy and relaxation.

Conclusion

In conclusion, completing military basic training is a significant accomplishment and the beginning of our children's military journey. Encourage them to embrace the challenges and opportunities that come their way, and don't forget to take care of yourselves and your family along the way. With the right support and self-care, you can all thrive in military life.

What does yellow ribbon mean for military?

What does yellow ribbon mean for military?

The yellow ribbon is a well-known symbol with a long history. It can be worn as a symbol, displayed on a vehicle, or tied around a tree to represent a variety of meanings and causes.

These days, one of the most common uses of yellow ribbons is for us military moms to show support for our military heroes, who are serving overseas. As a way to express this support, many of our customers display yellow ribbon stickers on their cars to demonstrate their support for the troops.

Anyone who “Supports Our Troops” can display a yellow ribbon

During the Gulf War, when the U.S. deployed a large number of military troops abroad, yellow ribbons became more visible throughout the nation as a way to show support for them.

The yellow ribbon was a significant symbol representing the bond between loved ones, and was often worn or displayed by women as a way to remember and honor the men in their lives who were serving overseas.

History of the Yellow Ribbon

The use of yellow ribbons as a display of support and solidarity dates back hundreds of years, long before the Gulf War.

Yellow Ribbon Meaning

Yellow Ribbon Songs

The song "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" has a long history dating back to the 17th century. It was revised by George A. Norton in 1917 and again by Leroy Parker and M. Ottner in 1949. Many other musicians have also recorded versions of the song over the years.

The lyrics of the original song tell the story of a woman who is thinking about her lover who has gone off to war. She thinks about him every day and a verse in the song repeats the line:

  • “Round her neck she wears a yeller ribbon. She wears it in the Winter and the Summer so they say If you ask her, “Why the decoration?” She’ll say, “It’s fur my lover who is fur, fur away”


You might also be familiar with the song "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree" which was written by Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown in the 1970s. This song gained popularity during the end of the Vietnam War as many troops were returning home.

According to L. Russell Brown, the inspiration for the song came from an old folk tale about a Union prisoner of war who wrote to his girlfriend that he was coming home from a Confederate POW camp in Georgia.

Iran Hostage Crisis and Yellow Ribbons

The Iran hostage crisis in the 1980s prompted Suzan E. Garret of the Jaycees ladies service to start a campaign in support of the American hostages by encouraging people to tie yellow ribbons around trees in public places. Penelope Laingen, the wife of one of the hostages, Bruce Laingen, tied a yellow ribbon around a tree in front of her home as a symbol of support for the hostages and to celebrate their safe return home when they were released in 1981

The Gulf War and Yellow Ribbons

In the 1990s, yellow ribbons reappeared during the Gulf War with the phrase "Support Our Troops" written on them.

These yellow ribbons continued to be used as a symbol of support during the 2003 Iraq invasion and the deployment of troops to Afghanistan and other countries

In Conclusion

Yellow ribbons remain a symbol of support for military troops today. They can be displayed by those waiting for a loved one to return from military service (eg. military families) or by anyone who wants to show their support for the troops.

Deployed Troops Wishlist for Care Packages

Deployed Troops Wishlist for Care Packages

What Deployed Troops Really Want in Their Care Packages

As a show of appreciation and support for the men and women serving in the military, many people choose to send care packages to deployed troops. These packages can include a variety of items, ranging from non-perishable food and snacks to personal care products and entertainment.

But what do deployed troops really want in their care packages? According to a recent article from Veterans United, there are a few key items that tend to be highly sought after by those serving overseas.

Personal and Practical Items 

Practical Items

First and foremost, deployed troops appreciate practical items that can make their daily lives a little easier. This includes things like:

  • High-quality socks (I have to put this first, because some high-quality socks will make the toughest soldier smile with delight)
  • Soap (shampoo, body wash, face wash, etc.)
  • Toothpaste, toothbrush and floss
  • Deodorant (travel size/non-aerosol)
  • Lip balm
  • Foot powder
  • Baby wipes
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pain-relieving topical cream (not a necessity, but can be a real luxury)
  • Vicks VapoRub
  • Hand Warmers
  • Sewing kits
  • Lens cleaning cloths

These items may seem small, but they can make a big difference in the harsh conditions that many deployed troops face on a daily basis.

Food and Snacks

Food & Snacks

Deployed troops also appreciate food items that are easy to store and don't require refrigeration.Non-perishable snack items like jerky, nuts, and energy bars are always popular, as are instant coffee and tea packets. Items like:

  • Hot sauce (a great commodity to have around, and the convenience of Taco Bell sauce packets are great to have in the field)
  • Water flavoring packets (many places we are deployed are very hot, and we need to constantly remain hydrated)
  • Beef jerky
  • Slim Jims
  • Protein bars
  • Gum
  • Sunflower seeds

Downtime Activities

Games

Entertainment items are also welcome additions to care packages. Books, magazines, and movies can provide a much-needed distraction from the stresses of deployment. Games and puzzles can also be a welcome break from the daily routine.

Some items to consider include:

  • Reading material (magazines, books or an e-reader like a Kindle)
  • Handheld video games
  • Board games
  • Decks of cards
  • iPod or thumb drives with movies, music and pictures
  • Puzzles
  • Plastic model kits
  • Baseball gloves/baseballs
  • Batteries (AAs and AAAs)
  • Pencils
  • 3M wall hooks

 

Not everything is suitable for a care package

What not to send

It's important to keep in mind that deployed troops often have limited space and resources, so it's best to stick with smaller, lightweight items when possible. And be sure to check with the specific guidelines for care package contents, as there may be restrictions on certain items. Here’s a few things to avoid:

  • DON’T send adult entertainment, alcohol or drugs (these items are illegal and can get the soldier in trouble)
  • DON’T send aerosols or pressurized products
  • DON'T send firearms or ammunition (we're already armed and this is illegal)
  • DON’T send perishable foods
  • DON’T send an entire box of the same thing unless requested (variety is a good thing)

Overall, the most important thing is to show deployed troops that they are not forgotten and that their service is appreciated. A care package filled with practical, enjoyable items can go a long way in boosting morale and providing a little bit of home while they are serving overseas.