Deployed Husband = Bring the Kids = UGH!


We've all seen those moms. You know…the ones whose kids are wreaking havoc in the commissary store aisles screaming and crying while the mom is saying, “I’m going to count to three…” for like the thirtieth time. Yeah, that was me today. My child was the one crying and throwing the beginnings of a VERY large tantrum. And he’s seven. I think I counted to three at least a hundred times.

The tables were now turned; I was the one getting the disapproving looks. Or even worse, the pity looks. One lady even stopped to tell me, “It’s OK. We've all been there.” OK, thanks lady. Doesn't make it any better, or stop my child from making a public spectacle of himself…and me. At this point, I wished I had a sign that said in large, bold letters, “My husband is in Iraq, so give me a break, or take these kids with you!” It’s times like these that I waiver between really missing my husband and silently cursing him, the Army, and this agonizingly long deployment. Heck, by this point I was even cursing the little girl sitting perfectly quiet in the shopping cart at the end of the aisle whose mom was giving me a look of relief that it was not her child coming unglued in the middle of the cereal aisle.

And unglued is an understatement – you’d think I had just given his puppy away to his worst enemy, rather than said “no” to the package of dinosaurs that “magically” grow when placed in water, which I might add were strategically placed at his eye level in the cereal aisle by some sadistic marketing team whose sole purpose is to drive moms to the breaking point where they give in and buy the darn thing just to get herself and the kids out of the store alive (yes, I realize that was VERY long run-on sentence…too bad). But I digress…

While there are many jobs that I've had to take on while my husband is away, grocery shopping is definitely my least favorite. When he’s home we tag team to get the job done together. Or I can at least take only one child (the one who tells me that she will just put the “magic” dinos on her Christmas list) and leave the public spectacle (aka my son) at home. Normally he is very well behaved, respectful little boy, but there is something about the grocery store that flips a switch in him. I’d love to find the “off” switch…

I've definitely learned a few things from this lovely trip. First of all, next time I will go to the store at a time when we all have a LOT of patience and not after school or when we are hungry. Second, the next time I see a child throwing a tantrum in the store I certainly won’t give a look of relief that it’s not me or think they need to get their child under control. I totally understand now! I’m pretty sure this same situation has happened to just about every mom at least once. I’m also pretty sure that this won’t be the last time it happens to me. That being said, the biggest thing that I came away from this experience with…next time, hire a babysitter!

What are some of your most challenging kid-moments while your spouse is deployed? What are some good suggestions you have to avoid the public meltdowns?

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