Operating as a Single Parent
On Your Own
While your partner is deployed, you may find yourself operating as a single parent. Being a military spouse, or partner to someone in the military, especially sharing a child/children with that person is no simple task. This all requires a lot of patience, grace, and resilience, and while independence may be thrilling sometimes, it’s a lot of responsibility.
Preparing in advance for a deployment can help immensely, but what about after? What about once you’re alone with your child(ren), and looking at months of running the household alone?
Taking Care of You, The Single Parent
The importance of establishing and maintaining a sense of community cannot be overstated. Whether you find community with other military spouses/partners at functions, you attend spiritual/religious services, you join a club, go to school, work or volunteer, establish a community.
Have a place and a group of people who expect you regularly, who can invest their care in you, and let them. No one does anything alone, and this is no different.
Making sure you have meaningful interpersonal relationships outside of the home is important too; meet with friends, family, and peers. The effort will pay off, and you won’t feel so alone when deployments and detachments roll around.
Keep ahead of yourself; meal prep, keep an updated calendar of school/work events, holidays, and schedule Mental Health Days for yourself!
If you don’t allow yourself rest, recuperation, and care, you’ll find yourself running on Empty before you know it.
Caring for yourself is paramount, so make sure you’re taking time for joy, peace, and decompression.
Being a Present Parent
Children can’t have enough positive, parental attention, and while this demands a lot of you, try to be as present and positive as you can be. Keeping love and positivity at the forefront in the household will help ease anxiety in children and teens, and they’ll be hurting for extra attention with their other caregiver absent.
Keep an open, honest line of communication with your child(ren); what and how much you tell them about your partner’s deployment is really up to your discretion. Talk to your children with your unique judgments about what they can handle. Only you can know how much your unique child should know and how much needs to be said, how much they need to hear. While staying honest, try to stay equally positive to subdue any mounting worries.
Keep kids busy, and keep them social; just as community will be significant for you, the same goes for the child(ren). They will thrive when they have a sense of belonging, appropriate degrees of independence, and responsibilities of their own.
While your partner is deployed, single parenthood is a stressful challenge, but it’s not something you need to do without help or resources.
Remember too that therapy is a great avenue for helping to maintain interpersonal relationships of all kinds, so if you’d like to schedule individual therapy, family therapy, or therapy for your child(ren), call our team in Benton or North Little Rock to schedule an appointment.