14 answers

How to Deal with a Spouse Leaving for 5 Months

My husband leaves monday to go to boot camp for the army. We have been waiting for this day for almost a year. How do you prepare yourself let alone a 2 year old for what is ahead. He is used to Daddy coming home at the same time everyday. Now I have to explain to him why daddy is not home. any suggestions. My mother lives across the state and my mother in law lives near me right now. but I want them to know that I am going to be just fine. he will be home at the end of july. will my son remember him. I don't want him to forget who daddy is.

What can I do next?

More Answers

Kim,

I understand what you mean. When I married my husband, he was Navy..however he didn't have to go anywhere, except for when I was just 4 months pregnant. He got out in October 2001. Then in Dec 2004 he joined the Army National Guard. He left July 2005 for schooling adn August for training to go to Iraq. It's very hard. My oldest son was 4, my middle son 2 and my youngest was a year old. He come home November last year. But I was a single parent for a year and half. Just tell him that Daddy is doing his job by serving out country so that we have a better life. Sooner or later, he'll be proud to tell people what his daddy does. My oldest son would tell everyone, "My daddy is in Iraq to help us." He just didn't understand when he first left, and it will take an adjustment period. Maybe buy him some camo stuff make him feel kind of like he's in the Army too..Good luck and hollar if you need anything. My emaili is ____@____.com and the scrapbooking Idea is great. I made one while my husband was in Iraq!! Also have your son do "activities" while daddy is gone to send to him while he's gone because they will both love it. Let him carry around pics of him as well. Have your husband record his voice reading books or singing sons to your son. I was afraid Hunter wouldn't know his dad after coming home from Iraq since he was a year, but trust me he does, and he wants his father more than he does me!!

2 moms found this helpful

My answer is... you can't really prepare your heart for the changes that are going to happen, but you will adjust. Keep in mind that the best thing you can do is to support him and write him lots of letters. Having gone through Basic Training myself, allow me to tell you that the drill sergeants try and let everyone know there's a good chance their relationship will not survive the separation. If you intend to see your marriage through, write a lot of letters and let him know you still care. Tell his friends and family to do the same. Mail call is a very lonely time when you don't hear from anyone.

As far as your son, kids are remarkably adaptable. Put a lot of thought into a way to word it that you believe your son will find most easy to understand, but don't say he "went to work" or your hubby will never be able to go to work again without your son feeling anxious. Tell him "Daddy had to leave for a while, but he'll be back," or maybe "Your Daddy has a very important job to do for our country, and it means he won't be home for a while." Something that lets your son know that it will be all right. After a few days, he'll get used to the new routine, and he'll be all right.

My son was only three months old when my husband left for a 1-year deployment, so I can sympathize. If you need to vent, feel free to e-mail anytime.

2 moms found this helpful

K.... huggsss It is very hard to explain to a 2 yr old where their daddy is. When my husband was in iraq, i told my oldest (then 2) that daddy was at work. My kids are ok with daddy going to work now. He has been home exactly 1 yr. My oldest doesn't have a problem with daddy leaving to go to work. It is hard to say what the child understands at that age, but he does not understand time so telling him at work in the morning. he won't remember how long it has been since the last time he asks you. My advice, being a military wife for 9 yrs now, i would tell your son that daddy is at work everytime he asks. when he gets older then he will be able to understand the situation, etc but right now.. i'd have to stick with that. and keep pictures up everywhere. maybe your husband can record himself reading books to the son or other things that they would normally do to help the child remember. but 2 yrs old should remember fairly easy if the separation is only 5 months. If you need any help or a shoulder to lean on.. ____@____.com is my email addy. being a military wife is not easy regardless of the branch

2 moms found this helpful

My husband went to Iraq Jan 2 and will be gone for a year and my son will be 2 in March and I have a newborn. We are going through the same thing and here is what I am doing...

I created a ABC scrapbook with pictures of Daddy and Max ( my son) ( A is for Apache that Daddy flies, B is for baby.. a picture of daddy holding him as a baby etc)we read it every night.

I printed a 8X10 picture of Daddy's face and put it by the changing table and the dinning room table or where ever you go consistently, we include daddy in our prayers and grace at meal times.

We also got a daddy doll (www.daddydolls.com)

Hope this helps.

As for parents, I had to lay boundaries and I told the parents that live close "Max needs you to be grandparents, not care givers, but thank you for your support and love during this time"

N.

1 mom found this helpful

I wouldn't try to explain in detail to your son. Just that his Daddy took a trip and will be back soon. Keep photo's where he can see them every day. My family lives in illinois, and I live in alabama so I made a big calage and hung it in her room. We talk about the pictures every day. If you have time, and a video camera you could get your husband to read a story or just leave a little messege, mabe saying good night or something. Let him watch it everyday.

As for yourself I don't think you can prepare yourself. But, you'll have your little boy to keep you busy.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello, I married a military man and he was deployed during the pregnancy and birth. He didn't see our son until he was three months old. I still have military friends and babysit for them. While Daddy is gone some have ways of counting down the days till he comes home, they have pictures out so the kids can see him when they want. It's not easy but the best advice I ever received was to take it one day at a time and remember it's just as hard on Daddy as it is on you. If you don't already learn to lean on other family members. They can help make it easier on you and your son. I hope this has been some help.

1 mom found this helpful

First of all, I have been there and my husband did the same thing. The only difference, my husband left the day after my second daughter was born; and my oldest daughter was just shy of two years old. It will seem very difficult at first and there will be a lot of sleepless nights, but you need to remember one important thing...No matter how bad you feel he feels worse. He will be in a place with no friends, no family, no child to kiss when he is feeling down. You have to be strong for you, your child, and your husband. If his training is like my husband's prepare yourself not to speak to him very ofton and be prepared to write a ton of letters. Make sure you have a camera, pictures will mean the world to him. Your child will remember his father and everything will be just fine; just show him pictures and try not to let your child see you down. If he sees your crying he might get angry toward his father, so be as strong as possible. There are also some great military support groups, check with the family readiness division at your husband's home base. Good Luck and may God bless your family.

1 mom found this helpful

K.,
My Dad was in the Air Force and much of my childhood he was active duty somewhere.... Guam, Viet Nam, etc, etc
My Dad would leave us (my siblings and I) books on tape. He would read our favorite books onto tape (reel to reel at that time) and we could listen to him at bedtime or anytime we got lonely for him. It was great!
With technology the way it is today, there are so many more ways he can leave a piece at home for you and your son.
If you can splurge on a couple of web cams, you may even be able to schedule time together online.
Micro cassettes are handy, too and can be easily mailed with new messages or stories.
I hope this helps,
L. G
PS: I never forgot who my Dad was and I was always very excited to see him come home again. :)

1 mom found this helpful

Sesame Street has a great DVD that deal with a parent leaving for a time. It's free too.

1 mom found this helpful

My husband left for Iraq for a year, a month after my son turned 2. It was very hard for him to comprehend that Daddy wasn't coming home for awhile but I would just have to keep telling him that it was getting closer to the time when he would be home. I kept a lot of pictures out of his Dad and one right by his bed that he would say good night to and give a kiss every night. I don't think that you have to worry about your two year old remembering his Daddy. I was also afraid of this and when my son saw his dad get off the airplane he knew exactly which one he was.

1 mom found this helpful

I kow how you feel. My husband left in March of 2004 to go over sea's for 18 months. Our daughter was only nine months old and he was terrified that she would forget him. He made her a video message before he left and I played that for her. We also had lots of pictures around the house of him in uniform. She kisssed his picture everynight. She talked to him on the phone. He returned home on emergency leave in Feb. of 2005 when she was diagnosed with Leukemia, and he's been home ever since. Now he is getting ready to leave for over sea's again. She's almost four now and I tell her that Daddy has to go play soldier for a while and she accepts that for now. He will make a new video message before he leave's. I think that would be a great idea for you. If you need anything please let me know. ____@____.com

www.myspace.com/c_rose2000
www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelarose

My husband deployed for 7 months right after my daughter turned 2, so we understand exactly what you are feeling. We talked ALL the time about daddy while he was gone. Daddy was included in all of our conversations, plus we had pictures of him around the house and in her room. At night, we said goodnight to daddy. We read books at bedtime and one of them is a childrens atlas so I could point out where her daddy was living. We also made a video of him reading books to her- so she could "read" with her daddy. He sent us pictures from Iraq too- so she could see her "Army daddy" Now all of this sounds extreme, but he was very sad to be missing out, and was afraid of her not recognizing him. Well, whatever we did seemed to work. He got off of that plane and she flew into his arms, and didn't miss a beat.
Hope this helps- and good luck.

I love the scrapbook idea. My husband travels too, and while he isn't gone as long as 5 months, we do a few things to keep my almost 2 year old son thinking about Dad.

You can record your husband reading your son's favorite books so he can read along with Daddy before he goes to bed at night. Also if your husband usually sings silly songs to your son he could record those too and have a CD of Daddy songs for the car. I have lots of photos of my husband and son together as the screensaver on my computer and my son is fascinated watching it. He loves talking to his Dad on the phone, and coloring greeting cards to send him while he's away. Your son will definitely remember him, but may be shy or seem uninterested when he first sees his Dad again in person after 5 months. But give them time and a little space and he'll warm up quickly!

K.,
Last May my reservist husband was called to active duty and deployed to Iraq. We have a seven year old daughter. In some ways it will be much easier on your two year old. Does he understand now that daddy "goes to work" every day? It may help to tell him that daddy has gone to work and will be back soon - and let that be it. Don't try to overexplain. I was amazed at how quickly my daughter adapted to my husband not being here, even tho she is older than your son and has always been a daddy's girl. I also visited www.daddydolls.com and had a doll made for her of my husband in uniform. She sleeps with it and takes it everywhere with her and I don't worry about her forgetting what daddy looks like. I hope this helps some. Keep your chin up and be strong. Being a military wife is like no other job in the world. It's ok to cry and ok to get mad and ok to be frustrated. It's also ok to be proud and know that you will come through on the other side an even better mom and wife. Good luck.

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