The Military Parents section is dedicated to parents who are raising children in one of the most challenging environments possible- the military transitional environment. This section will help you create a home no matter where you go and keep it "real."
Taking Good Care!
The military lifestyle is a challenging one. It is full of stressers above and beyond those of "normal" daily life. Whether you are a single person in the military or have a huge family, it takes a lot of work to keep healthy under the demands of this critical profession.
The following is a checklist developed by eMilitary to help you remember that before you can take care of anyone else, you have to take care of yourself first.
(1) Simplify your life. As a military member or family member, your life already means that your candle is burning at both ends. Learn to say "NO" and be sure to establish realistic goals and expectations for yourself. Take time to write down what you "absolutely need to do" each day, know it is ok to let the other things go when you are not up to completing tasks. Forgive yourself and pat yourself on the back!
(2) Don't worry about making everyone happy. It will never happen anyway. From our collective military experience here at eMilitary, we know that there are plenty of individuals out there who have opinions on what is best for you. Take some time, mental time, to think about what you know is best, then give yourself permission to do it. Do not feel bad about not living up to someone else's expectations. Remember that they do not wake up in your shoes, so they are not the expert on your life. You are!
(3) Understand and anticipate bad days. They are going to happen. We know that they do. Remember it is only that day. Simplify your goals and move on to the next day. Get to bed early. Get plenty of sleep. Rest does wonders!
(4) Depression happens. Paranoia and wild imaginative behaviors can and do occur. Have you heard from your spouse in ____many days? Where is he/she, what is she/he doing? We have all been there. Separation is hard, it is hard to be alone (for you and that military member!) The best thing is to keep yourself busy with things that renew your spirit and refresh your soul. This might be in the church community (do you like the choir?) or reading some really good books! Whatever it is, know that you will have your moments, the goal is to make them as few as possible and limit the potential stress caused by them.
(5) For the suddenly single parent- nothing, absolutely nothing replaces having time to yourself. Volunteering (when they pay for childcare) to give yourself a break and helping out the community or simply finding a babysitter for occasional care is a must! Do not underestimate the benefits of having time away from the responsibility of child rearing. This is especially important if you have a bout where the kids have been sick, you have been sick, it has been a while since a deployment...its called respite care and you deserve it! Do not feel guilty.
Isn't it amazing that at the times when life is hardest it seems that the universe puts the most difficult people around you just to challenge you even more. Have you ever noticed that when you have been sick or when you are separated from your spouse and dealing with about a billion things, there seem to be more individuals around you who are just plain difficult?
Here are some tips on how to deal with them and take care of yourself too!
1. Change your thinking.
Be kind to unkind people -- they probably need it the most. Treat others the way you'd like to be treated.
2. Prepare ahead for confrontations.
Practice taking deep breaths, smiling, and keeping your voice steady, slow, and low whenever you're feeling anxious. These things can focus your mind and put you in control.
3. Be direct.
Face the person, communicate your feelings using 'I' phrases (I feel really afraid whenever this happens), and offer a possible solution.
4. Involve the other person.
Listen to the person without interrupting. Repeat back what you heard, without adding any of your own opinions ('What I heard you say was that you feel angry because I'm often late; is that right?'). Acknowledge the other person's point of view. Empathize with it. Then state your case.
5. Think 'solution.'
Rise above the emotional content of the other person's arguments, and concentrate on finding and agreeing on a solution to the problem.
If you're red hot angry, say nothing -- simply leave. Or say, 'Let's discuss this tomorrow when we've both had a chance to calm down and think about it.'
7. Use humor.
Saying something funny can totally disarm another person's anger -- especially if it's acknowledgment of your mistake or shortcomings ('My mother always told me I was behind the barn door when the brains were passed out').
8. Request privacy.
Tell the other person that you'd rather not discuss the situation in front of other people, but you'd love to discuss the situation in private.