One of my Facebook followers, and fellow step mom, recently asked me about how it works with the possibility of deployment and juggling the kids’ between birth parents and the step parent. I will say, up front, that this is something I have not yet dealt with. Fort Leavenworth is the only Army life I’ve known so far, and I joined this family well into my husband’s career as an Officer.
My husband has full custody of his kids. Right now, even if he were to deploy, the kids’ birth mother isn’t in a position to take them. I would shoulder the 5 of them on my own. No matter how stoic or capable I may seem, I do not want that to happen. On one hand, I still don’t even really think of myself as a parent – much less a single parent to five. And, on the other hand, I really love my husband, and I can’t bear the thought of him being gone for an extended period of time. I need the comfort of his hugs at the end of long days.
The selfish part of me thinks that there are other families who haven’t been through what ours has that could endure that hardship better than we could. But, that’s not my call to make, and I certainly don’t mean to imply that I wish that upon anyone else. At the end of the day, I hope the Army sends the right soldiers for the right jobs.
In my limited time though, I’ve learned two very important things.
1. A soldier’s legal house needs to be in order at all times and especially before deployment.
2. The Army, and I’m sure other branches also, have come a long way in providing support and resources to soldiers and their family members.
Each family will find their own solution. Each divorce court and custody/ visitation decision will be different. Here are a couple of resources I would direct anyone with these kind of issues or questions to:
National Stepfamily Resource Center
Have any of you had experience with this? Tell us about it in the comment section below or on my Facebook page via the icon to the right.