May 13, 2008,
A.K. asks from Saint Paul, MN on April 26, 2008
Ideas for Helping a Family While Husband/Daddy Is Deployed
We have friends who will be sending their daddy to Iraq for a year. I am hoping to hear from others who have had a spouse/parent deployed. What help would you have appreciated or what do you wish friends knew would help you out to get through the deployment period?
1 mom found this helpful
J.M. answers from St. Cloud on April 28, 2008
My sister in law loved all the help with the kids while my brother was deployed. What she also found helpful was when I set up a babysitter and the two of us hung out for a day. It was a nice break for her, and she was able to get some adult time in as well.
J.S. answers from Omaha on April 27, 2008
My sisters husband just got back from Iraq a month ago. What helped her and their three kids ages 13, 10, and 3 get along for the year he was gone is making stuff for their dad and picking stuff out from the store to send to him. The best was having a computer with a camera hooked up so they could see him over their and wave to him while they were talking to him. Other than that they kept busy. They loved his phone calls and talking to him on the computer, and the stuff he would send back to them.
S.S. answers from Minneapolis on April 26, 2008
When the husband of one of the moms in our MOMS Club was deployed for almost 2 years, we established a support group we called "team (fill in name)." The team was made up of anyone who wanted to help on a regular basis. Each week, it would be someone else's "turn" to provide support--make a meal or two, babysit the kids, help out with yard care, etc. Most of the time, there were anywhere from 5-8 women on the team, each person had a turn every couple of months or so. All it took was someone to be the coordinator to e-mail every couple of months and set the schedule, and be the phone contact if people needed to switch weeks.
J.C. answers from Duluth on April 27, 2008
Listen. Offer to watch the kids, help them make cards to send to Daddy. Ask if she needs help with the car, the yard, etc. Help the family make care packages--help buy items, make cookies, and assemble the package, get it in the mail. Once a month is usually about right for care packages. Include a phone card, but ask which kinds (AT&T global, etc) actually work for where Daddy is.
B.J. answers from Rapid City on April 27, 2008
start with call them! ask how you can help. When my dh was deployed it seemed like i had fallen off the face of the planet. Call them, offer to babysit so mom can get a haircut or even just do the grocery shopping with out the kids at least once in a while. Does she need help with the yard? If it snows, can you shovel the walks? Do they have boys that need someone to play catch with? Do the girls need a day away from mom? (my dd is a dadddy's girl-when dad is gone she and i fight more) Dont take daddy's place...just be an extra set of hands that is willing and available to help. B.(one who's been there)
S.M. answers from Fargo on April 28, 2008
Hi im glad u are doing this for your friend! I am currently going thru this and at the end of the year in about 2 months. I found out i was pregnant 5 days after he left. I would have loved for someone to come and watch my two kids so i could go shopping alone. Take me to a movie, bring dinner over so i could just talk and cry if needed. Go out of town for a girls trip. Take my car to get it serviced or check it out. Have someone check on me for other things like light bulbs that need to be changed, show shoveled, lawn mowed, ect. Think about what your husband does around the house. That is about what we miss and need. I mean even just a dinner invite means the world. It is amazing how empty a house feels when your best friend is gone!! I hope this helps!!! Offer to help pack a box to send to him! Bake with her for the unit!!!
C.C. answers from Minneapolis on April 27, 2008
My husband is not deployed, but he is gone a lot w/ work and play. I keep busy during the week, but the weekends get lonely because everyone else is doing the family thing. I think it would be nice to include your friend in some of your family time. This could be anything from a zoo trip, a day at the beach, or maybe even a camping vacation. :) Even if she declines a time or two I'd keep offering invitations until something appeals to her. Babysitting for her to go clothes shopping ocassionally since this is virtually impossible with kids in tow.
I think what you are doing for your friend is a really good thing and you will figure it out as you go. :)
M.K. answers from Bismarck on April 27, 2008
My husband was deployed for 18 months. The best thing that my friends and family did for me was prepare meals for me. With 3 kids, I had more than enough to keep me busy. They arranged it so that every Tuesday someone delivered a hot meal. Plus our parents would make up other meals to put in the freezer that I could pull out when needed. It was such a huge help!
P.K. answers from Appleton on April 27, 2008
My husband was deployed for 18 months and at that time, I had an 8 year old, a 5 year old and a 3 year old. I was all alone with no family in town. What really helped me was a friend would bring me supper about once a month. She would call me up a few days ahead of time and just tell me she was doing this (she must have known I don't like asking for help). Those were the best tasteing meals I've ever had! Meals was such a huge help to me. Also, if she doesn't like to ask for help, just tell her what you want to do for her. Like a neighbor of mine just showed up one day to mow the lawn, as mowing with 3 kids is very hard to do. Maybe you or your husband can make this a weekly chore for her-She's love it. Also, if your husband goes out of town for a week on business, please don't compare your husband being gone to her husband being gone and say you understand. I had a friend that did that all the time and it made me upset. So I would say to her, well can you call your husband while he's gone on business and she'd say "yes" and then I'd say, well I can't call mine. I think she started understanding a little bit, so be careful and senitive to her feelings. You are such a wonderful friend for asking others for advice on how to help her, you're already a great support system for her! Please also thank her, and her husband for their sacifices they are making for our country.
L.M. answers from Green Bay on April 27, 2008
Speaking as the mother of a young child whose father was deployed for 9 months and a former regular army wife, I would say offer to babysit once in a while, and also be patient. She may not be interested in going out, or even talking, but your presence is appreciated and will help remind her she isn't alone.
Remember when events happen like lunches, parties, etc...that she might want to go, but will need help with the children. The hardest part is always trying to keep up some semblance of normality for the children and herself while husband/daddy is gone. Whatever you can do to help retain that normalcy will be a boon indeed.
Offer, too, if you have the time, to help with some of the daily routine. While getting out once in a while is nice, it's the daily routine and grind that drags down a mom in this situation. Sometimes just some help with cleaning the house or the laundry or chauffeuring kids or running errands is the biggest help you can give to relieve some of the stress and pressure. Especially keep an eye on her in case she gets sick (flu, cold, etc..) while he's gone; during those times she'll need all the extra help she can get and she'll appreciate it a lot to have someone to help her get through those tough periods.
Some wives like to talk about it, some don't. Just play it by ear and give her that ear/shoulder if she needs it but don't push it. I know I preferred not to give voice to my concerns because if I did, I'd end up breaking down and I hate breaking down.