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Supporting Military Moms during Deployment

I live really close to a military base, so I have several friends with spouses that are deployed overseas. I've never known very much about military life, so I asked my friend Elizabeth (military wife and mother) to coach me through how to support women whose husbands are deployed. She gave me some great advice, and said that I could share it with you.
  • First, I would recommend that she get a free video that Sesame Street produced for her kids if she doesn't already have it; the first link should take you to a site where you can order it.
  • Make sure that she knows that she can call you whenever for whatever. We have a neighbor whose husband is in Korea for a year; she knows that she can come ask for whatever help she might need, even if it's getting a bird out of her house or watching her kids while she unloads groceries. You might offer to watch her kids sometimes so that she can have a little time for herself.
  • Don't take it personally if she doesn't want to talk at times or totally breaks down for no apparent reason; deployment is hard and it's hard to predict what emotions may be there at any given time. For example, if someone knocks on her door when she isn't expecting it, it may really throw her off for the rest of the day. There were a few times that someone knocked on my door while Kevin was deployed; it causes a horrible knot to form in your stomach. A knock on the door is how the military notifies you if your soldier has been killed. On that same note, always call before you stop by!
  • If she's expecting to hear from her husband and he doesn't contact her, it will ruin her day. It's probably just because there is a communication blackout and he's probably fine, but you don't feel better until you hear for sure that everything is ok. When Kevin was deployed, a communication blackout would go into effect if a soldier in his brigade was hurt or killed; it gives the military time to properly notify the soldier's family instead of them hearing the news through rumors. There's no set length of time; it lasts until the family has been notified.
  • I would recommend that she get involved with the Family Readiness Group (FRG) for her husband's unit; it's a great resource and good place to find friends who are going through the same thing you are.
  • Basically, just be there for her, listen if she wants to talk, and keep reaching out even if she's not reaching back. Do whatever you can to take her mind off things, which may or may not be possible depending on the day.
  • Call her and call often just to check in.

Websites that families with deployed soldiers might appreciate:
My Army Life Too
Deployment Kids
Military Spouse Resource Center
Military Avenue

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