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He Deployed, Kids Aren't in DEERS

Ask Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,
I am a mother of two. Their father is in the Reserve full time and has been deployed recently.

Unfortunately, he did not complete all the paperwork needed for our children to receive their IDs. He also did not do what was needed for their TRICARE enrollment to be moved from his state to mine since I have custody of the children.

What can I do to expedite this? Also what do our children rate when it comes to military privileges on their ID card/ i.e. exchange, commissary and recreation.

Thanks!
Confused and helpless

Dear Confused,
I regret that you were left with a feeling of helplessness. However, you can be given a power of attorney to have the children’s ID cards issued or their father can complete the necessary form to have the children added.

The information will be added in DEERS and all you would have to do is go to a location/base and have the ID cards made.

The ID cards will give the children access to military bases, commissaries and PX. They could also participate in on post youth sports and other activities. You should contact DEERS. It stands for Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System at 1-800-538-9552. DEERS is the ID card section. I hope this helps.

Keep in touch and take care of yourself.
Ms. Vicki 

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Dear Ms. Vicki,
My husband and I are halfway through our first deployment. It's approximately an eight-month cruise.

My husband is very unhappy with his job. I think we still love each other, but all of the sudden I don't feel like I want him to come home. I think I am just dreading having such a negative influence in the house with me because I am very sensitive to the feelings of others around me.

I generally derive a lot of happiness by making the people around me happy but with him it feels like nothing can make him happy. I am very anxious and it’s still another four months away. Can you give me any advice on how to cope?

I know I need to accept him and not expect him to feel a certain way, but I am dreading having to deal with that every day and unsure about the future.

I am fairly independent and try to keep a positive outlook despite whatever circumstances occur. I just don't know who to talk to about this. I live and work on base and feel like talking to someone affiliated with the base or another spouse is just a little too close to home. My family cares, but they can't really understand.
Sincerely,
Anxiously Waiting

Dear Anxious,
I totally understand. During deployments, we can get into our own rhythms, adjust to our own schedules and establish new roles, etc.

In many ways, we become more independent and learn to listen to ourselves more. When your husband complains, you feel helpless and don’t know what to do or what to say. As a result, it brings you down in the dumps.

Yes, you will be glad when he is home from deployment, but you won’t be ready for any negativity. I think you should let your husband know how you feel. Tell him you want to be there to support him but when he complains you don’t know what to do.

He has to realize it’s his career and he must become assertive and empowered enough to change the situation as much as he can because there is nothing you will be able to do about his job or working conditions. It’s not your role to change his work environment.

However, you can be supportive and be a part of his cheering crowd. Ask your husband to get a sheet of paper and on one side make a list of things he would like to see change. On the other side, he should list what he can do to change each situation. Most importantly, beside each he should give the date or time for him to start changing the situation. This will let you know if he is serious and motivated about change or simply moping around about his problems.

On the other hand, he could be tired of the deployment and ready to come home. As a result, everything and everyone is getting on his last nerve. This is normal too.

I’m glad that you have a positive outlook on your situation. Continue to take care of yourself. Thank you for reading the column and for taking the time to write to me.
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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