Coping with your child’s military deployment can be challenging. I connected with Keiko and loved the 5 ways that she is staying grounded and balanced during her son’s deployment. Here are her tips!
It feels like yesterday that our son told he wanted to join the Army. That was 8 years ago. It’s been a quite a journey since.
Honestly, I didn’t want him to join the military, especially since our country was still actively fighting in the Middle East. He is my son, he is my baby, and my own selfishness wanted to keep him home.
I slowly realized that it’s his life after all and wanted him to be happy and feel fulfilled. I kept it cool outside, but inside there was this inner turmoil. My leveled headed husband said to me “It’s okay. He’ll be fine. There is danger in everything in life. Not only the physical, but the emotional regrets of not following a passion. It’s what he wants to do.”
I was thinking “Sure, true. But no guarantee that he will be safe.”
The fact of matter is that there is no guarantee no matter what he does in life. So I took a deep breath and told myself to trust this process and support his goals and dreams.
Eight years later, we heard the dreaded word that we had been praying that we wouldn’t hear, “Deployment,” A.K.A. , the ”D” word. Our son told us during a routine video chat and I could feel he delivered the news as lightly and gently as he could.
In that instant, I felt my mind spinning a mile a minute and my heart sunk. The instinctive word “ Oh No!” was right at the tip of my tongue. But then something stopped me and even to my surprise, these words came out instead “ Oh, wow, what an opportunity that will be!”
My husband chimed in saying “ Hey, go see the world, you’ll have great stories to tell your kids and theirs as well!”
In that instant, I made a conscious decision to stay positive and optimistic no matter what, and to keep myself very busy. I also made a decision to select carefully whom I would share my feelings and comments with.
People mean well but often do not know what to say. I don’t mean to be funny, but it wouldn’t hurt to avoid “downers.” Life is all about the perspective for most part. “The half full glass“ mantra should be the anchor to all the parents and spouses of deployed soldiers.
Tips to Stay Positive and Calm During Deployments
Here are five of my methods that are helping me tremendously to cope as I wait for my son to come home.
- Five to ten minutes of meditation every day. Staying grounded is very important and a short guided meditation helps to achieve that. I particularly like a “gratitude” themed meditation.
- Stay physically active! In month one of my son’s deployment, I joined a local gym. I set reachable goals that I’m sticking to. I like fun group exercises, because they allow me to be social as well. Being cooped up in a house is probably the worst thing to do.
- Find a support group. For me, finding the Facebook support Page , Army Mom Strong was truly a gift from the universe. I say this as I truly believe in the Universal Laws of Attraction. I stumbled upon the Army Mom Strong Facebook Page and website on the same day that had I pledged to stay positive and optimistic. I love this community because we are all there purely to support each other. Be mindful, however when you are selecting a support group. Stay away from pages with political agendas and hateful comments. Let’s all remember this is not about US, it’s all about our SOLDIERS.
- Keep our conversations with our soldiers precious. Keep your drama and overly “concerned” thoughts at bay. This doesn’t mean that we only tell them what they want to hear and life at home is all unicorns and rainbows. Keep it real, light and supportive. We have NO idea what’s like to be out there for them, and there is no need to add any burden.
- Stay connected with them via social media (if available), free phone chat apps, and make a list of all the care packages that you will be sending them.
I sincerely hope that my tips for coping during deployment help other parents and spouses. Everyone is so different but we all have the common goals of making our loved ones feel supported while they are away.
I just simply chose to have a faith, stay grounded and grateful. My wish is for all of our solders to stay protected and return home safely.