For those lucky military parents starting the new year with a new baby, life turned into a wild ride with the turn of the calendar.
Life in the military always puts a twist on our version of normal, but life in the military with a baby can twist into all sorts of strange and wonderful scenarios.
For all you sleep deprived moms and stroller savvy dads, here's a top ten list of why military babies have a bit more fun than you ever dreamed of:
Terrific teething toys. First prize goes to dog tags: always readily available and shiny too! They fit perfectly into little hands, and might even distract an infant long enough for retreat to finish playing.
Props for newborn photo shoots. Something military families are never short on? Swag. Epic amounts. Boots. Hats. Helmets. Flags. It’s too easy! Really, it’s almost unfair to civilian families.
Handy distractions. Need to answer an important call? Reply to a pressing email? Hand over a patch. Loud, ripping Velcro! They stick to things! So colorful! Some of them can even be educational at times.
Possibility of a free lunch. Thanks to our rich heritage of do-gooder spouses, the concept of a meal train still runs strong in many circles. You may stand to benefit from one – or more! – meal trains from spouse groups, group leadership, your First Shirt or Chaplain’s group.
Double takes. There’s something about our loved one in their uniform, no doubt. Now, add a tiny baby into those warrior arms? Different stratosphere of awesome. Even if it’s just looking in the mirror on your way off to muster-and-daycare.
Patriotism is catchy. All those Yankee Doddle banner tunes make their way into your lullabies and baby playlists. Oh Say Can You See By the Dawn’s Early Light? Oh yes, you will. Because that’s when the next feeding is.
Proof. Living, breathing, crying pooping proof of what we’re fighting for. For so many of us, a baby brings the meaning of our lives and values into sharp, intense focus.
The village. Realizing that your child doesn’t just belong to your biological family, but also to the greater military family. Besides all the insider privileges that come with DEERS and Tricare enrollement, there’s a good chance that your frequent faces like babysitters, playmates and dearest friends will all be military-related.
Your base’s Yard Sale Page. Can we get a shout-out to the administrators of the base yard sale page on Facebook? Because it’s thanks to them that we can score insane deals on everything kid related: toys, clothes, furniture, bedding, maternity clothes, the list is endless.
Joy. Little red, white and blue socks. Yes, they fall off all the time, but they cover up the most precious bit of all . . . those happy little American toes.
Sarah Chen is a freelance writer and spouse of an active duty Air Force pilot. She writes on raising Jewish kids, military family life and interfaith marriage. Her idea of perfection is reading in a hammock, eating breakfast tacos and walking her dog.