We are now a few weeks into this deployment and I am surprisingly surviving. Even when my husband first mentioned joining the military, all I imagined was raising babies alone. That sounded awful. Welp – here I am! Raising those babies alone, and guess what… IT’S NOT AWFUL! I am actually enjoying the extra cuddles and attitude pouring out of our almost infant – it kinda makes him look more like meeeee. Today I wanted to share five ways we have been able to help our 10 month old infant transition to having a single parent.
Routines / Schedules
Having a routines established before this deployment helped our son know that even though mom was doing bath time, it still meant bedtime was coming. For most of his life, he had one parent doing the same thing daily, so I can imagine how confusing for him it would be to change the person AND the action.
Something New Daily
While staying home and relaxing is nice, our son thrives in new environments. It could be simply being in a new store or going to an unfamiliar park. Just this week he went to church, a birthday party, a park, a splash pad, Home Goods, to work with me on the beach, a resort pool with visiting family, a new office building, etc. All of these places gave him chances to learn from other people – the way they greet him maybe different or the age of the kids he play with are different. Every day he comes home from his new experience showing ways he had learned SOMETHING.
Facetime If Possible
I know this may not be possible for many (and it will be okay!) There’s this misconception that babies simply don’t care or aren’t aware someone is gone. That isn’t true! Babies are so smart and observant, and a majority of their world is their immediate household. Our son can point out the difference in our dogs, so he for sure knows who his dad is, what he sounds like, what he looks like, what he smells like – everything. His favorite part of the day used to be when the dogs barked because that usually meant dad’s Jeep just pulled into the driveway. Now his favorite sound is the notification sound of a video call coming in because that usually means dad’s face, voice, and praise is on the other side. Even from across the world, he still wants to hear his dad say, “hi / good job/ i love you/ bye-bye”.
This purchase has been hands down the best purchase we have made going into this season (no this is not sponsored – we just love it so much.) It seems innocent and sweet, but our baby sleeps with this doll every night and will give him to me so I can give him “kisses” from his dad. What started as a borderline joke became a favorite immediately, and I would recommend this to anyone who has a military child!
React To Your Baby’s Needs, Not The Worlds
I said this in a previous post about traveling with a baby, but the same goes for being a solo parent: react to your baby’s needs, NOT to other people. If your baby needs to be held, stop whatever you are doing and hold them tighter then normal. You are their only comforter right now (seeing as most of us don’t live by family, friends, or use childcare.) They are not trying to purposely stress you out, they just need your love and to for you to be fully present! It’s okay to ask the bagger to take your groceries out to the car so you can hold your baby instead. It’s okay to bail on a friend because your baby is having a hard day. It’s okay to not pick up your phone for anyone because you need to be on the floor building blocks. It’s okay even when the other leader in your home is halfway across the world, because your baby was blessed with you.
I hope these help someone out there and their babies get through the long months of deployment or separations that this military life throws our way! What has helped your baby through major life changes?