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.
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.
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.
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
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.