Spouse Calls: Be sure to take sanity breaks
How do I keep from getting resentful when my husband is TDY and I’m home taking care of all the kids?— J., White Sands Missile Range
You are ahead of the game by realizing that resentment is optional. I have certainly struggled with this. When my children were 6, 3 and newborn, and my husband was away on TDY, he would bemoan his loneliness over the phone. With one child wrapped around my knee, another shouting “Come wipe my bottom” from the bathroom and a third spitting up on my shoulder, I admit I had no sympathy.
Hmmm … A quiet hotel room, sole possession of the remote control and all the pillows, room service, vending machines, bubble bath … swimming pools, movie channels. What was he whining about? Granted, some TDYs are more difficult than others — and deployments are in a different category altogether.
However, resentment only made me miserable. I found that one antidote for the TDY blues was finding time for myself, and I highly recommend it. One way to make this happen is to trade baby-sitting time with a friend. Military spouses are good at this. We know that by helping each other we help ourselves. If your budget allows, hire a sitter. Go get a cup of coffee, read a book, see a movie. Even if you just get out to run a few errands, you will benefit from the time alone. Don’t think of it as a luxury. It is an investment in your sanity, with obvious perks for your children. If you can’t manage a sitter, carve out some time after the kids go to bed, or before they get up, if you are a morning person. Reducing your stress will reduce your resentment.
Another treatment: Find things to appreciate about TDY. You can make macaroni and cheese for dinner every night and everyone will be happy! When the kids go to bed, you can watch whatever you want on television. And you can sleep in the middle of the bed and use all the pillows!
As a newcomer, where can I go to meet other Christian moms and wives on post? People need a good support structure away from family.— Rebecca Hartford SHAPE, Belgium
You are absolutely right: When we are far away from our extended families, we need family extended to us. Friendship, support and understanding of those who know how it is to live the military life are invaluable. If you are looking for people on post who share your faith, start at your chapel. Chapels overseas tend to have larger and more widely varied programs than their stateside counterparts. You will find programs for active-duty members, working men and women as well as stay-at-home moms, home-schooling parents, teenagers and younger children. The chapel is a place for people of all faiths, and if they do not have a program for your particular belief, chaplains can often direct you to an appropriate group.
Near many military installations, you will also find civilian places of worship that cater to the American military community and offer many programs.
Since you asked specifically about a Christian women’s group on your installation, the Protestant Women of the Chapel or Catholic Women of the Chapel would be for you.
Terri Barnes is a military spouse and mother of three. She and her family live in Germany, where her husband is stationed at Ramstein, AB. Send questions or comments to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.