The Struggles of Being a Single Parent in The Military
I never thought of being in the military, and I didn’t expect to be married and then divorced. Well, both happened! Joining the military was a spur of a moment reaction that resulted in one of my best life decision. And as a child just like you, I imagine being married and having children. My thoughts as a kid included me being married with five kids. I did get married, but I stopped at two kids which is more than enough for me.
When you have a partner who is there to help you balance life is wonderful. As a military member, it’s the icing on top of the cake. You always have someone who will be there to fill in when you’re deployed to another country to support the United States missions, someone to counter birthdays, school events, summer breaks and holidays. So, your children still have that feeling of being at home and not in a close friend or family members home.
After twelve years of that dependency, reliability, and consistency of knowing that my kids had their dad and they did not have to transition to other family members home or to a different state or country all changed when I became a single parent.
My entire life had to be adjusted, I ‘ve worked with other military people who were single parents and I saw struggles and issues that they experienced. And I too came to experience those same struggles as a newly single parent.
Here are four struggles that I faced as a newly single military mom:
Work Schedule– Being married, I had the luxury of arriving early or staying late at work to get caught up on tasks. I didn’t have to rush because my kids had had their dad to pick them up and get them situated for the next day.Now that I’, a single parent I couldn’t just stay at the job because I wanted to, I stayed because I had to and I either had to find a friend to watch my kids or they were with me at the job until late in the evenings.
Childcare– Depends on where you are located and the population of the military base will determine your availability to have child care for your children on base. I’ve experienced this struggle in 2017 when I decided to file for divorce and was selected to transition to the United Kingdom for my job. I thought acquiring childcare was going to be quick and easy, well I was wrong, and it took over a year until I received a call to accept a slot, but at this time I was deployed. So I couldn’t accept the slot and I had to start the process all over again. Talk about timing and being a single parent and needing child care, it’s crucial and it’s frustrating.
Deployments- These are great to go on when you have a partner or your single because you have nothing to worry about. You know your children will be safe and comfortable in their own home. That’s what I’ve experienced in the past. Now that I’m a single mom, I had to make plans to relocate my kids from one country to the next. I had to decide which sibling would be best suited to take care of my kids, additional financial obligations, new schools system, new pediatrician etc. Now every time I deployed I will have to relocate my kids.
Family Care Plan– This is extremely important because it lets your leadership know who will be responsible for taking care of your children if you have to leave for training or deployment and sometimes you will get a short notification. My struggle with this was deciding who was available, willing, and reliable (AWR) to take care of my kids in my absence. In addition, I had to find short and long-term care and I couldn’t have another military as my long-term care so that was a struggle in itself as well as being overseas added to my struggles.
These are only four things that I struggled with and I had to adjust. I know there are other struggles that military and nonmilitary single parents deal with. The struggle is real! But when you do find that balance and support system you will be fine. Your kids will have an extended family and you will know which friends and family members you can trust and rely upon.
I’ve found my rhythm and there will always be struggles in life, but how you handle them will make your life and situations easier. You will find your rhythm and being a part of the military is my extended family and there are people whom I know I can rely on!
Question: What struggles have you faced as a single parent?
“Motivation Accountability Change”