Listen VERY closely… Do you hear that?
It’s my own personal internal tick-tock clock as I anxiously wait for this New Tiny Human to be born. (I am writing this post a little bit in advance, because hopefully, by the time this post is published in late February, this kiddo will have been evicted and settling into the “real world” in our arms.)
You may recall that last month, I wrote a post about how pregnancy is like being a military spouse. Well, my love for analogies hasn’t stopped, so today I would like to share 6 Ways Parenting a Newborn is like Being a Military Spouse.
(Sidenote: The kid we are preparing to birth is our second Tiny Human… so I am also tapping into all the things we learned in Round #1 a few years ago.)
Let’s hop to it.
1. Both parenting a newborn and being a milspouse are MESSY jobs.
And I mean that very literally. Those of you who have ever had a newborn in your home are probably picking up what I am laying down. The amount of laundry that results from the bodily fluids that just seem to ooze out of someone so tiny are almost mind blowing.
And sometimes, bless my dear husband, I think the same about him! The sand tracked in on his boots. The smell of unwashed ruck-marching feet and B.O. Random pieces of TA-50 scattered in every room, every vehicle, every nook and cranny of our abode. Yes, both are physically messy… but they can both be emotionally messy too.
2. Each experience can bring “sleep deprivation” and “emotional exhaustion” to a whole new level.
Holy cannoli–I remember when our daughter was born, I had never in my life been so tired (and stressed out) before. My transition into motherhood was not like those sweet diaper commercials of bath time, snuggles, and gentle nighttime kisses. (I did all of that, but was too tired/stressed to enjoy it.)
Toss in the fact that we were facing a 4,000 mile PCS when Tiny Human numero uno was 3 months old, and I felt like I was trying to land a 737 in a snowstorm (and let’s just say I did not graduate from aviation school!)
I recall feeling similarly with my husband when I first became a milspouse. I was worried. I was stressed. I would wake up at o’dark thirty when he left and struggled to go back to sleep. Middle of the night phone calls, text messages, and Skype convos were the norm.
Now, several years later, my sleep habits in both parenting and milspousing (can that be a verb?) have greatly improved. And I am hopeful that when this next kiddo makes his/her debut, he/she will be a champion sleeper. (Hey, a mama can dream, can’t she?)
3. Newborns and military wife life both involve a lot of packing lists and supplies.
I remember one of the first trips we took with our daughter. Don’t get me started on the massive amount of stuff we shoved into our car for the cross-country PCS with a 3-month-old. This particular trip was just a couple hours away, and it was just for a single night. I had lists upon lists for our high-maintenance, non-sleeping kiddo. I joked with my husband that I felt like we were planning to invade the beach at Normandy. He cracked back with, “They probably took less stuff.”
But seriously. Babies and service members have SO much stuff and traveling supplies. Clothes, gear, bags just filled with all kinds of bells and whistles. And, if you are a creative parent like us, both experiences can use 550 cord and 100 mph tape for a variety of occasions. #KiddingNotKidding
4. No two experiences with Tiny Humans or days-in-the-life-of-a-milspouse are the same.
In this control-freak brain of mine, I would love to say that I can adequately predict each day and how things will shake down. But that’s a lie. And last I checked, lying is not OK. No two babies are alike (again, hoping this new kid is a non-cry-puking, good-food-eating, champion sleeper) and no two deployments, TDY’s, PCS’s or chains of command are the same in the military.
Both drastically require us to live by the motto, Semper Gumby… Always Flexible.
5. Most of the time, both of these life experiences find us “making it up as we go.”
This point is directly related to item #4. Because we can’t predict what will happen next with either our newborns or our military wife life, we are usually just making things up as we go. Sure, we can read the books, get advice from others who have “been there, done that” and tap into a variety of great resources, both online and in person.
But when the rubber meets the road, we most often end up winging it, doing the best we can with what we’ve got, and celebrating the smallest victories. Seriously– if the kids are fed and alive at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if I never made it out of my PJ’s. Winning is winning, folks.
6. And, of course, even amid all the challenges, messes, uncertainty… we wouldn’t trade either of these experiences for ANYTHING.
I admit, there have been (short) moments in both my journey as a mother and a milspouse when I didn’t think I could do it. I was overwhelmed on all sides and wanted to quit. Obviously, those feelings were short-lived.
Whether it is a solid meal, a hot shower, a practically life-changing nap, a short prayer whispered in a moment of desperation, or a good “ugly” cry, we get through it. Then we can start to see the joy that comes with bringing a tiny life into this world. We can tap into the numerous occasions that make us proud to be a milspouse.
And in those precious moments, in every frustration, tear, stretch mark, or temporary see-ya-later, we know parenting a newborn AND being a military wife are worth it, every time.
Dear readers, can you relate to this post? In what ways? I would love to hear all about. Jump in and leave a comment below or share how YOU think parenting a newborn is like being a milspouse.