This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of 1 Natural Way, a TRICARE breast pump provider. All opinions are entirely my own.
Pregnancy and parenting is a challenge in itself, but take into account the military lifestyle and you’ve got your hands full! It’s one thing to handle separations, moves, and deployments as a couple and a whole other ballgame adding kids into the mix. It can seem scary and overwhelming but these tips can help you feel more at ease about becoming a military mom!
Decide Where You Will Deliver
Do you know what Tricare coverage you have? There are different options as to where you can give birth depending on where you’re stationed. If you’re on an instillation with a hospital, you likely have Tricare Prime and can choose to deliver there, or switch your insurance to Tricare Select and choose a civilian provider. If your installation doesn’t have a hospital or you’re not near an instillation, you’ll have Tricare Select and choose a hospital that accepts Tricare to deliver. When I gave birth to my first son, my husband was commanding a recruiting unit and the nearest Army instillation was 8 hours away. Thus, our insurance was Tricare Select and we had the freedom to choose which local hospital to deliver. Whatever option you choose, make sure to do your research to ensure you’re getting the best care possible for you and baby. This is especially important to consider if you have a high-risk pregnancy or if an emergency occurs. For instance, I’m currently stationed at a post with no hospital, but near two local hospitals where I’m able to deliver. One is ten minutes outside the gate and the other is 45 minutes away. I chose to give birth at the one farther away due to its expertise and because it’s located right next to a top-ranked NICU if any complications arose. Thankfully, my birth went phenomenally, but it’s always wise to prepare. You want to make sure the facility you choose is fully equipped to handle emergencies or is close to another hospital that is, for any complications that may arise.
Have a Backup Plan for Your Backup Plan
As you probably already know, the military dictates much of our lives. Because of this, planning anything proves extremely difficult. When it comes to planning your birth, you have to be flexible. Make a game plan for any scenario that may arise. Who will take you to the hospital? If it’s your spouse, have a backup person (or two) in case he can’t make it due to duty. What happens if you have to PCS in the middle of your pregnancy? Do you know how to transfer care? (Hint: Make sure you collect your records at your last OB visit prior to PCSing to hand deliver to your new provider. Also try to make an appointment at your new duty station before you leave your last one. It makes for a smoother transition.) What if the military springs a deployment for your spouse? Will they be able to Skype or FaceTime for the birth? If your spouse isn’t there, who will you have to depend on during labor? Make sure your support system is in place well before you deliver to alleviate any extra stress and worry So you can focus on a happy birthing experience!
Always Accept Help
I’ve fallen into the trap of feeling like I’m burdening others, but have learned that accepting help is not a sign of weakness by any means. Caring for children is no walk in the park. Newborns are hard work and require a lot of attention which may complicate things if you have older children or your spouse is away, or both! If you have a friend, neighbor or family member who offers to cook you a meal, vacuum your house, or take the older children off your hands for a couple of hours, take them up on it! With my first pregnancy, I was exhausted and didn’t have the patience or energy to navigate the beast that is Tricare. Thankfully, my husband stepped up and helped with all the details, including getting me a Tricare breast pump. After my son was born, we PCSed when he was a month old and less than two weeks later, my husband went on an extended TDY. So, there I was, a first-time mom, far from family, in a place where I knew no one. I found the neighborhood group page on Facebook and introduced myself. Soon, I met neighbors who were life savers and offered to cook, clean and lend a hand any way they could. I can’t even begin to express how grateful I was. I quickly learned how military friends become family. With my second son, they cooked meals for us for an entire week as well as made quick errand runs when I couldn’t get out of the house. My typical newborn mom exhaustion was coupled with stress of trying to help my older son adjust to his new sibling and their help gave me one less thing to worry about. Knowing your limits and caring for yourself is essential. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup!
Shake off the Mom Guilt
Motherhood is rewarding but oh so challenging! Everyone has an opinion about what you should or shouldn’t be doing with your children. Don’t fall victim to mom shaming. If you have a gut feeling, trust it. Mommy instincts are there for a reason and they are usually spot-on. Also remember that everyone has off days, even moms. We lose our temper, question our choices, become overwhelmed, and sometimes we’re just a heap of hormonal mush. But you know what? It’s okay to not be okay all the time. Trust in your abilities and shake off the mom guilt. Right now, in this moment, you are exactly the person your child needs you to be and you are a wise, loving and capable mother. You’ve got this!
Utilize Resources for Military Families
There are a slew of resources available for expectant and new military moms. I will only touch on a few because there are so many that listing all of them would make this post much too long.
Websites such as Tricare and Postpartum Support International can give you a wealth of information. These sites are jam-packed with resources and articles relating to everything from insurance questions to freebies such as a Tricare breast pump, newborn care, registering your baby in DEERS, childcare, breastfeeding support, mental health services and so much more!
If you’re located on or near a military instillation, you can contact your PCM or MWR/MCCS for services such as free breastfeeding and parenting classes as well.
1 Natural Way is a fantastic resource for all of your breastfeeding supplies! They carry the most popular brands including Medela, Spectra (my fav) and Kiinde. You can also get breast pump accessories, compression socks and postpartum care supplies and all the breast pump models are covered by Tricare at no out of pocket expense to you. This includes the Medela Freestyle and the Spectra S1 Breast Pump, and the Medela Pump in Style Tote/Backpack. This is awesome because those suckers are expensive!
Another major perk of using 1 Natural Way is that they contact your health insurance provider AND your physician on your behalf. That means you don’t have to hassle with Tricare! YAAASSS!
I really hope these tips help you on your motherhood journey! If you have any tips that helped you become an awesome military mom, share them in the comments!
Social media is one of the outlets that is fundamental for me keeping my sanity. Literally.
As most of you know, I suffer from depression, anxiety and PTSD that at times can be extremely crippling. This makes it difficult for me to get out and about and socialize as much as I’d like. Thus, social media provides an avenue for me to connect and communicate with family and friends from afar and new ones as well.
I enjoy scrolling through and “liking” others’ joyful moments and milestones, but rarely do I see or hear the “real life” nitty gritty moments – the dirty house, kids behaving like tiny terrors, sleepless nights, wanting to strangle your coworkers, relationship woes, struggles with mental health issues, etc. If you’ve ever skimmed my Twitter feed, or read through my blog posts, you’ve probably gathered that I’m pretty much an open book, and a bit of a hot mess. Okay, more than just a bit. Sometimes I’m a flaming hot dumpster fire, but hey, that’s just me and I’m not ashamed in the least.
Life isn’t perfect so why only post about the positives? This isn’t to say air your dirty laundry or entire personal life online, but the same old posts pretending your life is one big happy ending is boring and nobody is buying it. I also understand that it’s easy to feel like you’re putting a damper on someone’s day or bothering them with your problems, because I’ve felt that way too, but you’d be surprised how many of your issues are relatable. That’s mainly why I’m all for sharing both my highs and lows. Maybe someone who has been struggling will view a post or status and think, “Oh thank goodness I’m not the only one!” I know I personally love having those moments. Creating a connection with someone over a shared emotion or interest gives me all the good feels. I mean, the whole point of social media is to be social, right?
So, let’s skip the charade of the perfect spouses or parents and get REAL. Life is so much easier when we can be honest with ourselves and find other weirdos who ride the same crazy train that we do!
I’ve never been one for making New Year’s resolutions because I know myself; I’d either forget what they were (thanks ADHD) or make an excuse not to follow through, then feel guilty for failing. Resolutions are not my thing, but goal-setting is.
In my mind, resolutions are more like things you wish could happen and don’t tend to last very long. Goals on the other hand, are concrete, substantial and consistent. When you have a goal there’s a clear-cut plan to follow it up. And if you can’t tell from my other posts, I’m an annoying stickler for planning.
When it comes to finances, having a plan is a must as you have to stay focused and maintain your progress over a long period of time.
Military families are under constant stress, to include financial pressures. What better way to begin the new year than to ease some of those burdens and kickstart the year with a fresh mindset about your finances? Here are a few goals to help you start off the new year with a clear path to financial freedom.
1. Create a Budget
I know, I know—it sounds tedious but establishing a budget is a crucial first step in controlling your spending. Tracking where your money goes allows you to redirect your finances to where you need them most. Additionally, having a budget allows you to pay off debt, save money and have money left over for the things that are most important to you. An important note, budgets are ever-changing, so make sure you update it regularly as your finances change. If you’ve never created a budget, this is an excellent resource that walks you through it step-by-step.
2. Work on Getting (and Staying) Out of Debt
This is quite the undertaking, but there are some general things you can do to begin. Don’t open any new lines of credit, don’t refinance a home, pay off any cars and student loans and don’t buy anything you can’t pay cash for. My husband and I paid off our debt by organizing each from smallest to largest, then tackling the smallest first. We paid as much as possible towards the smallest balance while continuing to pay the minimum balance on the others. Once the smallest debt was paid off, we continued the process from smallest to largest, until they were all paid off. Doing it this way really helped us feel like we were making traction because we could watch as each debt was being paid off one after another.
3. Save for Retirement
If you haven’t begun saving, start now. I’ve heard people say they don’t have enough money to invest or that they’re going to wait until they get a higher paying job. The fact is, the earlier you start the more time your money has to gain potential. Every dollar makes an impact. The more you invest, the more you’ll make without having to do anything. Your money works for you!
4. Start an Emergency Fund
If living this crazy military life has taught us anything, it’s that emergencies will happen (Murphy’s law of deployment, anyone?) so it’s always wise to be prepared. Experts suggest you have enough money in your emergency fund to cover your living expenses for between three and six months.
What are your financial goals for the new year? Filed under: military life Tagged: advice, army, army family, Army life, army spouse, army wife, budget, budgeting, debt, debt free, deployment, family, Finances, financial management, financial planning, goal setting, goals, investing, Military, military family, military life, military spouse, military wife, milso, money, new year, new years, PCS, Personal finance, planning, promotion, resolutions, saving, saving money, tdy, united states army, united states military
Hello? Is anyone out there? It’s been quite a while since I’ve blogged and oh how life has changed.
We welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world and have transitioned from a family of three to a family of four! I couldn’t be more thrilled! That said, I didn’t anticipate how difficult this transition would be for me. I’ve heard moms say going from one child to two is a piece of cake, but that has not been my experience. I’m not sure of the age difference of their children, but mine are 18 months apart and it’s a challenge for this mama, especially when they both decide to have a meltdown simultaneously. Thank goodness we have understanding neighbors, because it gets loud!
I had grand plans of sharing more about my pregnancy this time around vs last time as well as both boys’ birth stories but I just haven’t been able to find the time or energy to write. Any spare moment I have is either spent recouping sleep, taking a quick shower or cleaning. For my sanity, the blog has taken a backseat. I’d like to say I’ll be back to blogging regularly, but let’s be real, I’ve never blogged regularly. This isn’t a profession. I don’t monetize my blog nor do I have a desire to. This is more of a therapy, a means to interact with others in the military community, and update my family and friends. I will try to make an effort to post more frequently, but don’t hold your breathe.
I am fairly active on Twitter,Instagram and Facebook, so if you want to keep in touch, feel free to follow me on any of those platforms. As always, I’m here for advice, support or just to chat, so even though I may be absent from the blog, we can still connect through social media! Filed under: blogging, military life, motherhood Tagged: blogging, children, facebook, family, instagram, lifestyle blogger, mom blogger, Mom life, mommy blogger, motherhood, parenting, social media, twitter
Happy autumn to you! Though the temperatures here are still in the 80s, I’ve fully embraced the autumn mindset. Sweater weather, changing leaves, apple cider, cozy scarves, pumpkins, warm socks, scented candles, Halloween, and the best part of all, the birth of my second little boy, are all on the horizon to make this autumn a magnificent one!
As for a life update, things have been pretty mellow but joyful around here.
Two weeks ago I took Jack on an impromptu road trip to visit my grandmother who was in the hospital for surgery. He pleasantly surprised me and was a champ in the car! Granted, I planned his nap to be in the car which took care of about half the trip, but he still didn’t whine at all for the next half, which was such a relief! Thankfully, all went well with my grandma and she’s back home recovering with the help of my mom, who, might I add, is a freaking saint. She’s honestly the most selfless person I know and has taken care of my grandma all by herself. It drives me crazy that she overlooks her own self-care and is stubborn as hell and won’t ask for help, but she’s getting better about it. She’s probably going to yell at me when she reads this part. So, hi mom, just remember I’m the baby and you love me!
I returned on Thursday and promptly woke up on Friday with a hellacious head cold. Poor Jack got it too, and we were snot-ridden until around Tuesday of this week I’m glad to report we are now on the up and up!
Today marks my being 31 weeks pregnant! Pregnancy symptoms have been trying to sideline me lately, but I’ve been fighting back because I’m stubborn like my momma. Aside from constipation and heartburn (oh so glamorous tidbits) the most significant issue I’m having is feeling completely wiped out. I’m finding it exceedingly difficult to sleep at night and end up tossing and turning for hours. The fact that my husband is snoring beside me is frustrating and makes me want to wake him from his peaceful slumber with a punch in the face so he can commiserate with me. Kidding… kind of. Needless to say, when morning comes and I wake with Jack, I’m pooped. Speaking of poop, he’s started doing this thing where he poops himself awake at 0500-0530ish, then refuses to go back to sleep after I change him. Like, really kid? I digress. I’ve been occasionally napping with him to try and recoup some rest that way. I wish I could do that every day but then my house would smell like dirty diapers, sweaty PT clothes and we’d be feasting on ramen and cereal with cat hair strewn about. I must admit, my husband has been a huge help when he’s home, especially on the weekends, doing the dad thing and letting me sleep when needed. I’m SO much more productive after a good nap. I definitely don’t take him for granted one bit!
Annnnnd as I was writing this, I received a call from my midwife informing me my labs indicate I’m anemic and that may be the culprit of my fatigue. I’m starting iron supplements stat and am hopeful they will boost my energy. Fingers crossed!
Jack is growing like crazy and is so much fun to be around. He’s so tall but fairly average/thin build! He wears some 18 month bottoms but is mostly in 24 month bottoms and tops and even some 2T tops! I’ve been slacking on teaching him new signs, but he knows milk, hungry, more, please, and thank you. He speaks when he feels like it (note the intergenerational stubborn trait) and can say mama, dada, hi, bye, baby and tries to say cat, but can’t quite get the T sound down. His two lower molars on each side have finally broken through, but aren’t in all the way yet. Molar teething is no joke, you guys. Everything within arms reach that can fit into his mouth is fair game and the !
As of this week, we’re trying one nap a day, usually around noon or so for two to three hours. Again, the biggest obstacle with him staying asleep is pooping himself awake before he’s completely rested, then not going back to sleep. I’ve tried feeding him bananas and other foods that are supposed to back you up a little, to no avail. If you have any advice, please share! I must say, having the morning free has opened up a world of activities. We attended our first playgroup with Parents as Teachers and Jack was over the moon! It’s so rewarding to watch him learn and play. Hopefully we can stick to this nap schedule and attend more morning activities. Another upside with J is that he’s been incredibly cuddly. It seems the more pregnant I am, the more clingy he becomes. He’s never been a super affectionate baby, so I’m soaking up every sweet hug, kiss and snuggle!
Things on the pregnancy front are going well with 2.0. He is extremely active with rolls, nudges, kicks, and hiccups tickling my tummy. My midwife mentioned he is measuring a little ahead. I’m not sure if that means he’s expected to come a tad early or if he’s just a big baby. The latter wouldn’t surprise me as Jack weighed 9lbs 1oz at birth. He is positioned head down (chilling on my bladder 90% of the time) and has a strong heartbeat. My linea negra is becoming more visible, which is just another exciting reminder that I’m that much closer to meeting my new little cutie! I’m so grateful to bring this little baby into the world and the mere thought certainly keeps my spirits high. That and the fact that I’ll finally be able to sleep on my stomach again after I give birth! Yaaaas!
Despite the fact that it’ll be 89° today, I’m going to start decorating for autumn! I say decorate like I have elaborate decor, when in reality I’m switching out the door wreath, garden flag and putting out a wooden sign on the front porch. We’re pretty minimalist, so anything much more is just too much clutter for this momma. I do love seeing others’ super cute home decor though!
I’ve started exploring indoor toddler activities around the area because as the weather cools, Jack is going to need some entertainment outside of the house to burn his seemingly boundless supply of energy. If this new nap time sticks, we’ll have many more options of fun things to do. Thus far, the children’s museum and aquarium have been a huge hit. There’s also one of those indoor play centers with inflatables and such that I want to check out too.
There is a lot of advice floating around about what matters you should discuss before marriage, but many of them do not pertain to military relationships.
I’ve been getting a lot of emails from military girlfriends asking for my “professional” opinion as a therapist on whether they are ready to get married. I can’t give personal advice because I don’t know the specifics about their individual relationships, but I can offer some general advice that will ensure you have a solid foundation for a successful military marriage.
Marriage in general is a life-altering, wonderful, exciting decision. It requires patience, love, compromise and continuous effort from both partners. Marrying into the military presents all of the complexities of a typical marriage, with the unique aspect of the military lifestyle tossed in. Usually if you’re planning on getting married, you already share common interests, friends, and values, but you want to ensure you and your partner are on the same page. This doesn’t mean you have to agree on everything, but you do need to talk and know where one another stand.
Discussing these topics helped me connect with my husband before we got married to develop our relationship and establish a steady foundation for a successful marriage. I hope they work for you too!
Finances. Make sure you know everything about one another’s finances. Finances influence your lives on a daily basis. Learn about each other’s spending habits, if either of you have any outstanding debt, whether you will combine bank accounts and if you have plans for saving for the future. Money issues are one of the leading causes of divorce. The multiple stressors that occur in military marriages (fluctuations in income, separations, frequent moves, deployments, etc.) exacerbate this issue. If you’re both in agreement with finances, it’s one less complication to contend with during these stressful times, and allows you to focus your attention on being emotionally available for each other. We are not particularly religious, but we love Dave Ramsey. I highly recommend visiting his website and learning about his financial perspective. His advice has helped us become and remain debt-free which has eliminated any burden of arguments or conflict around money.
Children. Do you both want children? If so, how many? When do you want to start trying? If you’re unable to conceive naturally, are you open to alternatives like in vitro or adoption? Does Tricare cover these medical expenses? If not, how do you plan on financing these options? What parenting styles do you plan on using? Are you mentally prepared to bring children into your military lifestyle? My husband and I had numerous conversations about these things, to ensure we were ready to start a family. A few more specific topics we discussed were opinions on disciplinary style, circumcision, vaccination, and homeschooling v public education.
Your home. Where do you want to put down your roots after the military? Will you move near your family or your partner’s family? This may be a question to discuss down the line, especially if your partner is career military, but is still important to address. My husband has another 9 years left in the Army, but we still talk about our future after he leaves the service. We discuss things like what transition will be like, what kinds of jobs we want to pursue and where we want to raise our children. We also have a slight obsession with HGTV and imagine the type of home we want our “forever home” (the home we will live in once he gets out of the Army) to resemble. It’s a fun way to spend time together and also opens a channel to discuss our individual expectations and what we are willing to compromise on.
Career goals. How committed are each of you to your careers? Are you prepared to sacrifice putting your career on hold in order to support your partner’s military career? Do you have more schooling to accomplish? There are many resources for military spouses to return to school including transfer of the post-9/11 GI Bill (if your spouse agrees), financial scholarships and grants such as My Career Advancement Account Scholarship (MyCAA), Salute to Spouses, Career Step and various other educational assistance programs for military spouses. If you are climbing the ladder in your current career, how does that affect the dynamic of your relationship? Basically, are your career goals compatible with your life goals? I am a clinical social worker, and love my occupation, but have decided to become a stay at home mother while our children are young. We came to the decision that this is what is best for our growing family. You can see the details of this decision in my previous post about maintaining your identity.
Know each other’s past. Do not have any secrets between the two of you. You don’t need to know every exhaustive detail, but it is important to know someone’s past as it helps you to see how he or she got to the present.
Relationships. Be familiar with each other’s immediate family. You’re not only marrying your partner, you are marrying their family too, and you definitely want to know what you’re getting into. In military life, we tend to be separated often and being close to our partners family may help us feel more connected to our partners, and serves as an additional support network, which we could all use. Knowing the family dynamic is also helpful when envisioning how your partner will interact with you and your future family. This goes for close friends as well. If you don’t get along with the people closest to your partner, how is that going to impact your relationship in the long-term? We both lucked out and get along wonderfully with each other’s families. It’s comforting for us to know we have an extended family to rely on in times of need and in times of joy.
Sex and intimacy. What is important to you in the aspect of a sexual relationship? Are you monogamous? What do you consider infidelity? As you know, military life can have an enormous impact on sexual habits. If you’re away from your partner for a significant amount of time, you will become sexually frustrated. It happens. But how you handle it is the key. Are you both strong enough to remain faithful?
Stress test. How do you each respond to stress? Many couples fail to stay together because they haven’t had to face the “real-world” together. Situations that produce stress and anxiety can be a make it or break it for a relationship. I speak from personal experience when I say this is one particular piece of advice that I strongly suggest you consider. I was struggling with mental health issues that I had not fully sorted out, which I brought into our relationship. We had to practice effective communication and learn to work together to surmount these obstacles. If you’ve never had to deal with a stressful situation, then you’re faced with a serious life complication such as injury, TDY, deployment or death, it’s extremely difficult to interact and push through it if you don’t know the communication style of your partner, or how they react under such circumstances.
Communication. No phones, no e-mails, no texts, just good old-fashioned conversation. Do you find it hard to just sit and talk to each other without technology getting in the way? If so, this may expose underlying issues that reflect general incompatibility. If you can’t communicate in person, there’s no way you’re going to be able to endure time apart and successfully keep the lines of communication open and remain connected to your partner. I recommend reading The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman with your partner to help understand your partner’s love language, that is, how they communicate love. Also, take advantage of military-sponsored couples and family retreats as they’re a free, fun and valuable resource. Each branch should have their own particular program. The Army has a program called Strong Bonds that is phenomenal. We thoroughly enjoy attending their retreats and deepening our relationship. Other communication habits my husband and I practice are eating dinner together at the table and going to bed together. Of course this isn’t always achievable, but we do so whenever possible. We treat these as times to reconnect with no distractions, just the two of us. It helps garner feelings of closeness, increased communication and affection. These benefits also spill over into other aspects of the relationship and thus improve our marriage overall.
Cultural differences and similarities. What cultures do you each come from and what type of culture do you want to create for your family? Do you practice a particular faith? If so, how important is it that your partner share or practice the same faith? If you have children, what faith will you raise them in? Another topic to discuss in this realm is political views. You don’t necessarily have to belong to the same political party, but are you both content with accepting this difference of opinion? Is one of you from a military family and the other not? How does this impact your expectations of your partner to be resilient and flexible within the military lifestyle?
Division of household labor. Does your partner expect you to take care of all the household chores or will it be a shared responsibility? My husband and I split duties equally, and just do what needs to be done. I tend to be anal retentive and like things a certain way, so I usually handle cleaning to avoid nagging his methods. My husband usually helps out wherever possible, and thankfully doesn’t complain if I ask him to do something.
Know each other’s worst qualities. Make sure you enhance the positive and accept the negative. The little things do matter. If there are things about your partner that irk the hell out of you, they will only irk you more when you’re married. Talking while eating, smacking, cracking knuckles, leaving the cap off the toothpaste, putting the toilet paper on the roll the wrong way–things like that. The added stressors of military life make it more likely to develop resentment, so it is important to be cognizant of this possibility.
Learn to fight fair. Arguments are inevitable. The difference is how you argue and ensuring that issues get resolved without being destructive. When issues are resolved properly it reduces the likelihood they will resurface in the future. Some dos and don’ts of fair fighting include: No screaming, cursing, name calling, blaming, generalizations (you always, you never), no emotional abuse, stick to the subject, take turns speaking, do not deliver “low blows”, use a cool off period if needed, but never leave an argument unresolved. Couples counseling is also an excellent resource and safe place to discuss such techniques.
Picture it. You’re a first-time mother out in public with your baby. You’re still in that stage where you’re paranoid you didn’t bring everything in the diaper bag and are wondering if your baby is going to behave or cry up a storm. Then, someone asks you, “Is he/she a good baby?”
This is one of those questions that drives me batty and stirs up an urge inside of me to slap someone.
What kind of question is that? It is said there are no stupid questions, but I assert this is a completely asinine one. Like a mom is going to say, “No, my 3 month old is the worst baby ever!” Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Oh, and If you’re wondering what a good baby is, the answer is that ALL BABIES ARE GOOD BABIES. A baby’s habits, likes or dislikes, or time of milestone achievement doesn’t equate them with being a good baby.
Your baby isn’t fond of strangers? Okay! Your baby is laid back and lets anyone hold them? Alright!
Your baby is breastfed? Yummy! You’ve opted to formula-feed? Tasty!
Your baby sleeps through the night? Great! More rest for you. Your baby doesn’t sleep through the night yet? Great! More squish cuddles for you.
Your baby has rolls? Cute! Your baby is slim? Adorable!
Your baby loves car rides in their car seat? Super! Your baby doesn’t like their car seat at all? No problem!
Your baby learned to walk at 9 months? Good for them! Your baby learned to walk at 16 months? Good for them!
I could list these things all day, but I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.
Every child is unique and learns at a different capacity. Don’t make a new mother feel inadequate and second guess her ability as a parent. Don’t allow her to question if she’s somehow failed at parenting because her baby doesn’t sleep through the night, or doesn’t like strangers holding them. That is their baby’s personality. That is who they are, and that special tiny human should be cherished for their individuality. The mother should be praised for giving life to a precious and remarkable little soul and for being strong and trekking through this crazy journey of motherhood with her head held high.
So, next time you want to break the ice with a new mom, try complimenting her strength as a mother or her child’s bright eyes. A little common courtesy and compassion go a long way in reassuring a first-time mom . Filed under: motherhood, parenting Tagged: advice, mom blogger, Mom life, mommy blogger, motherhood, parenting
I’m writing this post 3 weeks late, but oh well! We’ve celebrated another exciting milestone: Jack had his first swim lesson!
I figured it would be best to get him comfortable with the water early. I inquired about swim lessons on post, but unfortunately they lack instructors, so I reached out to the local YMCA.
I was hesitant to enroll him because he has been going through a lot of separation anxiety. He often cries when I leave his sight and is skittish around strangers to the point that he has a full on meltdown around certain people. I understand this is a normal developmental stage, and I thought swim lessons would be a wonderful outlet to help him work through it. We have a little pool blown up at home and he loves to splash in so I presumed swim lessons would be a good start. My thought process was that easing him into new experiences and getting him comfortable with new people through an activity he likes would be beneficial. I’m not going to lie, I was worried the moment I handed him over to the swim instructor, he’d freak out. I brainstormed ways to reduce the likelihood of a meltdown and concluded I should just lead by example. Children can read our body language and follow our cues. I assumed that if my behavior was natural and enthusiastic, he would follow suit. Once I got him changed into his swim diaper, the instructor introduced herself. I happily exclaimed, “Okay, time to go play with Mrs. Jessica!” and handed him over. He took to her immediately and I was SO RELIEVED!
I cannot praise his instructor enough! She was phenomenal with him. It also helps she’s got three children of her own, and is very easygoing. I’m really looking forward to upcoming lessons and seeing Jack grow and develop, and splash and giggle to his little heart’s content!
We all know bullying is an ongoing problem among children, but don’t be fooled into thinking it stops once you’re an adult. Military spouses can be victims of bullying by civilians, service members and sadly, other military spouses. Military spouse bullying is one of those occurrences that is relevant in the military community, yet very few people talk about it.
With the prevalence of social media, military spouse bullying has escalated to full on spouse shaming. With the onslaught of groups and pages that encourage such behavior, it gives bullies a platform and outlet to brazenly hurt others.
You’d think being military spouses living a lifestyle full of unique challenges, would implore us to have empathy for one another. Alas, this is just not the case.
So, what do you do when you find yourself the victim of bullying? The following tips should help.
DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY
We explain to our children that people bully because they have personal issues and feel the need to hurt others in order to build themselves up. The same principle applies with adult bullies. The behavior the bully is exhibiting has nothing to do with you. Jealousy, insecurity, or attention seeking behavior could all be reasons for their bullying behavior. If you were not the target, they’d find someone else. It isn’t about you. It’s about them and their issues. They’re just projecting them onto you.
CONFRONT YOUR BULLY
This isn’t always possible, but if it’s applicable, do it. If your bully is someone you see on a regular basis, privately speak with them about the situation. This can be tricky in that you don’t want them to feel like they have power over you. Instead of saying, “You hurt my feelings when you said XYZ” you can say, “Your jokes are disruptive and I’d appreciate if you would stop.” Don’t wait until days after the incident to say something. Address the situation as soon as possible. Confront them about the specific comment as stated above, and the behavior will likely end.
DON’T BE THE VICTIM
Research has shown people who exhibit confidence and assertiveness are less likely to be bullied. Bullies are less inclined to tease or pick on you if they know you can defend yourself. If you use firm and assertive communication, it is very hard to intimidate such a personality. Equally, if you ignore them, e.g. avoid them in person or block them on social media, they will eventually lose interest. Bullies prey on weaker individuals they can exercise power over, so don’t give them the impression that you’re one to be easily victimized.
BE PROACTIVE, NO REACTIVE
It is easy to respond in anger or out of impulse, but refrain from doing this. A simple, frustrated comment (especially online) can be the exact response they were seeking, and only fuels the fire. Don’t let them bait you into an argument where you are reciprocating the bullying behavior. They can easily twist your words or even use words spoken out of anger against you, leaving you looking like the bad guy. Don’t fall for this trap! You are better than that.
DON’T SHUT DOWN
When you’re being bullied, it is easy to feel intimidated, helpless and alone. Don’t allow yourself to sink to that level of loneliness. Find someone you can confide in, whether it is a friend, family member, chaplain, or counselor. Express yourself and share your experiences and feelings. Don’t give your bully the power to dictate your emotions.
TALK TO SOMEONE IN AUTHORITY
I should note, this should be a last resort if other things you’ve tried haven’t been successful. In the military community, this could have detrimental effects if you’re talking about going up the chain of command. It is best to try to handle the situation between yourself and the bully rather than bring other people into the situation. However, if the behavior has reached a level that is having a severe impact on your life, or is particularly damaging, you should speak to someone in authority. Have evidence – screenshots of comments, copies of emails and texts, recordings of voicemails. Make sure you document everything and can establish a pattern.
What tips do you have for dealing with a bully? Filed under: military life Tagged: advice, air force, army, Army life, army spouse, army wife, blogging, Bullying, coast guard, marines, Military, military life, military spouse, military wife, milspouse, navy, united states air force, united states army, united states coast guard, united states marine corp, united states military, united states navy
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