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Oct. 31, 2022

Emotional Kids...what do you say when daddy is gone again?

Emotional Kids...what do you say when daddy is gone again?

Today I am getting really raw with you guys. I recorded todays episode in real time after an incredibly emotional morning with my daughter missing her daddy.

I share with you the tools we have and do use to help her cope, how sometimes just talking about it doesn't help.

How to have grace with yourself as a parent to navigate these emotional eruptions while still managing your own emotions and responsibilities while single parenting.

Finally I share with you the next steps we are going to try to help our military kid cope with lots of separations.

Here are links to the tools I talked about in the show:

Zenimals: A mindfulness mediation tool for kids

The Big Life Journal for kids

To learn more about EFT tapping check out free resources at The Tapping Solution

Daddy or Mommy dolls at Hug A Hero

If you have any resources or tips to share on helping our kids cope with deployments and separations, please share! Either on IG @themilspousepodcast or email me! 

As always, thank you so much for listening! If you have a second, I would be so grateful if you could leave a written podcast review!! 


[00:00:00] All right. So I said that we were gonna keep a reel on this podcast. And and I even said in the intro some of the things that we're gonna talk about on the show, and one of 'em is, what do you say to your kids? When they're crying because daddy's not home again. And that is my life right now. So Michael doesn't deploy anymore, which is really good.

[00:00:24] So he was on surface ships for the first half of our career and then he switched over to engineering when we had our girls, just because the op tempo. , I just couldn't see how we could have a quality family life with the op tempo that the ship had. I just couldn't see it. So and he was, Man, it's just, it's just hard.

[00:00:47] It's hard on, it's hard on everybody. When they're, when they're attached to attached to units, attached to boats when they're deploying and workups and everything else, it's just, it's hard. It's hard. So he switched over to engineering. . What that look like for us is that he doesn't deploy anymore.

[00:01:02] However, he travels an unbelievable amount, and sometimes it's better than others. He traveled a ton when we were stationed in Florida and then when we were stationed in Washington, he didn't travel at all, but he worked insane hours. I mean, like he would be at work for 20 hours a day. Sometimes we wouldn't see him for days at a time.

[00:01:24] So that was kind of crazy. And then now that we're here in Colorado, his travel schedule is bananas again. He's gone probably two weeks, at least out of every month. Sometimes it's a little bit less sometimes it's a little bit worse. And our oldest daughter, Savannah, is just, she's having such a hard time.

[00:01:46] She is she's 10. And She is a daddy's girl for sure. But man, it is just the, the emotions that just swing outta control when daddy's gone. Like, I mean, she just goes from like zero to raging, angry and upset at like the blink of an eye. And I know that part of that is, , where she's at developmentally, , she's in that tween stage.

[00:02:12] , it , everything is gonna start to get, , a little crazy with the hormones and everything else. And, and I, and I get that. So I don't know if that's pairing with this or not, but man, I am just . It's, it is so hard. So I thought that I would, I thought I would make an episode about what we are actively going through as a family right now.

[00:02:37] And I'm sure there's other, there's other. middle spouses out there that can relate. And even, you know, even non-military spouses who maybe they have a partner who is gone a lot on travel, and so they're, they're kind of in the same boat in that regard. But so I thought I would share with you some of the things that we've tried that have been that have been effective for her.

[00:02:57] And we talked a about a couple of these resources last season when we did our so April's the month of the military child, and we did. . I did a series on kids essentially for that month, and I interviewed one of my yoga mentors Shay Mullen Dyke. And she is just, she's such a wealth of knowledge, especially with trauma and with kids especially.

[00:03:19] So we shared a lot of these, a lot of these things in there. But some of the things that I've done is We, so we, we talk a lot, and this is the part cuss is the part that's so exhausting to me is we have conversation after conversation after conversation where she's like, I don't understand. It's not fair.

[00:03:38] Why does my daddy have to go? Why does my daddy always have to leave? And it's not fair. It's not fair. It's not fair. And. You know, I try to explain to her, , , I understand that you're upset, but this is part of Daddy's job and , I, I know that you're you. She says, she says all the time, I don't wanna be a military kid anymore,

[00:04:00] And I get it . I don't wanna be a mill spouse sometimes too, but, you know, here we are and . So we've had conversations where it's like, , I know that this is really hard, but this is part of Daddy's job. , , he's part of a unit that is, has multiple detachments in different places across the United States, and he's gotta go spend time at each one.

[00:04:20] And it's just part of his job. And, and then I even get into the, You know, there's some kids whose parents are not in the military and their parents travel all the time for work too. It's just the nature of the work and and that doesn't really go over very well. And then, , we try the tack of.

[00:04:36] do you see all the things that we have that, , the nice car that we drive and the beautiful house that we live in, and the food that you want to eat and the toys that you wanna have. And we've gone on this trip and we did this, and we did that. We can't do that stuff unless Daddy goes to work and earns the money for us to be able to do these things.

[00:04:56] So we try to draw that parallel and. And then he, we had the opportunity, he just got promoted, which is really fantastic for him. And the promotion ceremony was held in one of the production facilities where they put together one of the missiles and. and it, what was cool about it is that to see the size of these things is absolutely crazy.

[00:05:21] But it was cool to see it kind of taken apart in all of the different aspects of it and this, you know, all the different tubes that are going here and this box and this light and dah, dah, dah. And so I'm like, Oh man, , this is a really great teachable moment, right? Like, I. You know, super parent here.

[00:05:36] And I'm like, So Savannah, , Do you see this stuff? And Michael's pointing out to her, he's like, Yeah, do you see this, this, this, this, this? Well these are made here and then this, this, this, this, this, this is made here and da da da da da. And I'm like, So you see, you know, this is what Daddy does. And all of these different parts are all in different places.

[00:05:52] And so that's why Daddy has to go and do all these and do all this stuff. And like trying to give her like the big picture, right? Thinking, man, this is gonna make. so much easier when he's gone and she seems to understand it at the time, . And then of course we go to take daddy to the airport for his next trip and she just loses her mind again.

[00:06:15] So it's, it's very, very, very frustrating. So we've, we've had the talks tried reasoning and explaining and, , and I try to, very empathetic and I try to be very, , open and understanding with her and not just like, This is the way it is. Suck it up. Cuz that's just not helpful when you're a kid.

[00:06:36] Right? So I really do try very hard to be that way with her, but it gets to the point where I'm. I just can't do it anymore, right? Like she's just sitting in the shit and she doesn't seem to wanna get out of it. And I'm like, there are other ways to be, There are other tools that we have to help us cope with this stuff.

[00:06:55] And so some of the things that we've done for her, for, for both of the girls, although Savannah definitely seems to struggle with this more than Sophia does is we have, so meditation, I'm, you know, I'm a yogi. I have spent a lot of time in personal development and in the yoic world, and meditation is an amazing tool that you can use to help reduce stress, reduce anxiety.

[00:07:19] Things. And so I show her those techniques. So there's a, there's a little thing called actually my girlfriend told me about this. It's called, they're called animals. And I'll link it in the show notes. But there are these little they're essentially like little speakers that have pre-programmed meditations.

[00:07:36] Designed specifically for kids and the speakers are in the shapes of animals, just to, again, make it more accessible for kids, , make it something that they recognize and understand. And so I, both of the girls have, we got them the turtles. So we both, they both have meditation turtles, and there's these pre-programmed meditations in there.

[00:07:54] They're like five to 10 minutes long. They're guided. and it's mostly just breathing, guiding them through nice deep breaths and visualization and things like that. And they do like those. So that's a tool. They both have those in their bed. And I'm like, , why don't you do a meditation and then, , go to sleep.

[00:08:10] And that works sometimes. And then . Another method that is, is along the lines of meditation is EFT tapping, which is emotional freedom technique is what EFT stands for, but tapping it's, there's meridian points along your face and your chest and then under your arm that are, you know, you have nerve bundles.

[00:08:28] If you look at your body neurologically, there are bundles of nerves and those, if you can, if you tap on those, a lot of them are around your face, in your head. They can. Again, reduce stress, reduce anxiety. So if you have not heard of tapping I highly, highly recommend that you look into that because it is just like I can, when I tap, , I can just feel the stress melting away from me.

[00:08:50] And I've shown the technique to Savannah and I've done the technique with her and. . And it does seem to help because , when you do it and your body starts to kind of let that stuff go, a lot of times you'll yawn a lot, and that's kind of an indicator that your body's letting crap go. And so when I'm doing it with Savannah, She'll she'll yawn a lot and I'm like, Okay.

[00:09:12] So she, she is getting something out of it, but I don't think that she does that on her own. I have to do it with her. And again, mommy's tired. . Mommy's tired. It's, and you know, you know when she tends to go high and write with her emotions is when it's time for. and when it's time for school, those are the two times where she seems to spin off the worst, and I'm like, It's the end of the day, especially at night.

[00:09:42] At night's the worst. It's the end of the day. I'm tired. They're tired, and for me to spend 20, 30 minutes with her trying to help her through her emotional crisis. Again, That's the hard part. It's like the same God. I'm like, We just keep doing this over and over again and it's freaking exhausting. And then at school, like on the way to school, it's what she did this morning.

[00:10:05] She's like, she's freaking out and she get, and I felt, kind of felt so bad. She, and, and like last night, she totally like freaked out and I'm trying to talk to her and I'm trying to help her and she's just, not having it. She's just not having it, and I finally had to walk away. I'm like, I can't stand here.

[00:10:25] Like what I, I don't know what to do, You know what I mean? Like, I don't know what to do. So I walk away and then of course I feel like crap after that. But she, I went up and checked on her a little bit later and she was asleep. So I was like, Okay. And then this morning she's in a pissy mood and I probably should have, Just grabbed her and hugged her for a while cuz she's a very I think that's one of her love languages is physical touch because she definitely likes to cuddle.

[00:10:51] Both of my girls like to cuddle, but I think Savannah really likes that emotional reassurance. So I probably should have taken the time to. To give her some good cuddles this morning. But again, it's like I've got, I'm here by myself, right? I've got dogs to feed. I've got lunches to make, snacks to make.

[00:11:10] Make sure you have your water bottle everything in your backpack. Make a something for me for breakfast. Everybody had your breakfast? Okay. Shoes. Si everybody Brush your tea. I mean, it's like, it's like add more stuff on to the crazy routine of trying to get everybody out the door and on to school on time.

[00:11:26] Oh my word, you guys, it is just sometimes it's like, Oh my God. And then I'm the only one here. So , I'm the one that's having, having to deal with all this crap and it's just, man, it's just exhausting. So again, so I've given her the, the talked a ton. Tried to reason with her, explained to her given her the meditation turtle another, and showed her tapping.

[00:11:53] Another thing that we've done that's helped is it's called the Big Life Journal, I think is what it's called. But it's a, it's a journal that's specifically designed for kids, and I will, again, I'll link it in the show notes, but specifically designed for kids with prompts, , this is how I'm feeling.

[00:12:09] Like, and they can draw it. Like it's got a bunch of different, and the girls really do like that too. They both have one of those in their beds as well that they can work on which I think is helpful and , what else have we done to try and help her cope with stuff? Well, and then the other part of it too is that, you know, it's not like he's inaccessible.

[00:12:27] We FaceTime with him and talk to him every day. We talked to him this morning on the way to school, and it did not help made it worse. It's like, you know, . I don't know what's easier or what's harder or, I mean, I guess we don't really need to compare, but it's like, you know when you've experienced deployment and then you experience a travel, a heavy travel schedule, it's like, I don't know, is it easier for them to just be gone and then you can kind of get into your routine as opposed to their in and out, in and out and in and out.

[00:12:57] I don't know. , I almost feel like the travel is harder than deployment and. That's another thing, Michael, you know I called Michael after I dropped the girls off cuz I was so upset and I was like, Oh my God, this is like, what are we gonna do? This is crazy. I can't, I can't keep doing this.

[00:13:10] Like she's, it's emotionally exhausting. It's just because like, it's not , it's like, I already have a totally full plate of stuff to do, right? Like this podcast takes a lot of time to do and taking care of the house and the groceries and the dogs, and the get everybody to their activities and the finances and the, and I'm on my own a lot and it's, that's enough.

[00:13:37] Like, that's enough as it is. and then you add on the emotional turmoil. That is my 10 year old right now, and I'm like, Oh my God. Like what? When does it break? Because like, I feel like we're, we're approaching that point and and it sucks because, you know, you Monday morning quarterback all the time as a parent, right?

[00:14:03] I shouldn't have said this, or I could have handled this better. And you know, I know that we have to give ourselves grace, right? We have to let ourselves be human. Right?

[00:14:17] And that means that you're not always gonna make the right choice. You're not always gonna say the right thing. You're not always gonna respond in the right manner, and you're not always gonna be in the head space where you can be the parent that your kid seems to need you to be in that time. And we have to give ourselves space for and grace to not be a hundred percent all the time.

[00:14:40] Right? But it's still really freaking hard.

[00:14:43] I hated this morning dropping Savannah off essentially into your at school. Like what? That's just nobody wants to do that. and I just, I don't, but, but at the same time, if I would've parked the car, you know, pull out a car loop and park the car to talk, talk to her, talking to her doesn't seem to make a difference.

[00:15:06] Right. Explaining Daddy's gonna be home in two days. It's like, he'll be home tomorrow night, like, , why are you freaking out? He'll be home tomorrow night. It's not even like he's gone for that long. Like this is a short trip. God, It's just, it's so much. So what I'm gonna do, what I've been thinking about is, is the, what are they called?

[00:15:30] They're the daddy dolls. Or the hero dolls, but , they're like stuffies cuz my girls love them. The stuffed animal that has a picture of the service member on. . So Savannah loves, both of my girls love stuffies, so I was thinking about having that made for her. Of course, I'll often make one for Sophia too and letting you know, maybe that will help her with the comfort part of it.

[00:15:53] I don't know. So I'm gonna try that. And then the other thing I'm gonna try is I was telling, when I was talking to Michael this morning, I was like, I feel like we need to get her into counseling or something. I, I don't know. So my first step is I'm gonna, I'm sending an email today to the guidance counselor at their school.

[00:16:08] Their guidance counselor is really, really, really engaged in the, in the classroom. I mean, , they have they have a mindful, they do something every Wednesday where they have like Move. They move and , they do deep breathing and , almost yoga stuff. Every class does it.

[00:16:23] And then once a month she'll go into the class and talk about different feelings and like, what is your brain doing? And things like that. And they always come home and tell me about it. And they're super excited about it. So they, I mean she, they're in a really. Cool spot in that regard. I think that's very progressive for you know, I don't, not every school that we've been in has had anything like that, so I'm gonna reach out to her and let her know what our situation is.

[00:16:47] And and I, she knows that we're a military family, but. Just see if she's got, , if she can talk to her or I don't know. So I'm gonna try that first. Just reach out to her. This is what's going on. This is what we're experiencing. I've tried a lot of different things and it's not, I mean, sometimes it helps, but a lot of times it doesn't help.

[00:17:05] What can we do? And then my next step after that is going to be to try and find a counselor for her. So I just wanted to come on and share that this is the stuff that I think a lot of people don't think about, , and you thank your service member, which rightfully so, they're putting themselves a lot of times, putting themselves right in harm's.

[00:17:30] but the, the backlash to that is the families that are left behind, right? The kids and the spouses that are dealing with all of this emotional shit and the, and the. , you know, on top of single parenting and not having your partner for a lot of the time. You have the amplified emotions of your family that you have to help navigate through that as while you're navigating your own stuff, you know, and it's just, man, whew.

[00:18:02] It's a lot. So, I just wanted to come on and share some of the , the struggles that we're having. Cause I'm sure there's other spouses that are struggling as well. And some of the things, the tools that we have used that do help and then what we're going to do moving forward. So I'll link all of the things that I talked about.

[00:18:20] The tools that we've done so far in the show notes. So if you're looking for some tools to help with your kids, if your kids are struggling as well and then, you know, if this resonates with you, if you feel this, if you have found something that has helped your kid, a similar situation, please, please share.

[00:18:38] By all means, share. So, all right, I'll keep you updated. Talk to you soon.