Military Parent Field Manual

iowans, 3neus

Photo by 3neus

Here’s the thing.

Military spouses are the most flexible people on the planet. We’re married, but prepared to function like single parents at a moment’s notice. We’re counted on to be in charge, but expected to relinquish that control for parental balance as dynamics (and deployments) come and go. We are frequently outnumbered, but we are most definitely not outwitted. We are military spouses with come and go partners and we ride this rollercoaster of transition like superchamps.

But it does leave you dizzy sometimes, doesn’t it?

On more than one occasion I’ve been helplessly reduced to a stranger I like to call the Crazy-Eyed Slobber-Slingin’ Momma. She’s the alter-ego who screams and yells about sickness and tiredness and selling her children to the Gypsies. In desperation one summer I bought the book a teacher friend recommended. If she could manage three young boys and an equally immature husband, I had to give it a shot. This book changed my life. I was shocked at the peace and freedom it gave me. I won’t go on about all that again, so if you want to know the basics, you can read my lusty post from yesterday.

On this deployment I felt the needed to get back into my Love & Logicness to regain control. I was pleasantly surprised to learn they had just launched an MP3 download called “Love and Logic for Heroes.” It’s a great addition to my parenting arsenal. I will say, it uses jargon and lessons from the book, so it’s probably not intended to be a stand-alone product. You may be left thinking it sounds pretty crazy if you don’t have the basic foundation from the original book. But what Dr. Fay is brilliant (you pronounce that “breeliant”) about in this particular recording is outlining the backup catch-all plan. *Ooooh. Shivers.*

Look, every parenting book I’ve ever studied (and trust me, The Preschooler has single-handedly kept Barnes and Noble’s self-help aisle financed), sounds great in theory but often fails in application for one simple reason: my kid always seems to be just one step ahead of me. I may be marginally more mature, but he’s smarter than I am. If a scenario plays out that wasn’t in the book, I end up frozen, unable to figure out how to deal with it. Me, a lawyer, reduced to a pile of blubbering rubble, over a four-year old’s decision not to eat. I mean seriously, you can’t physically force their jaws to open and close. You can’t. I’ve tried.

Love and Logic solves this dilemma by giving you something to fall back on. For example, in “Heroes” and other materials, they wonderfully explain the need for a Plan B based on anticipated possibilities when the natural consequence really doesn’t cut the mustard. And even more than that, they give you the specific catch-all responses you need to avoid looking like a rookie. The audio tells the story of one woman who decides to handle two unruly and demanding teenagers with the phrase “I’m happy to do special things for you when I feel respected.” It also tells the story of a fretting father waiting for his teenager to return home, who utilizes the phrase (weeks later) “you can go when I feel like I won’t have to worry about you.” The endings to these stories are classics, and I won’t ruin them for you. It’s worth the time I invested to hear them to conclusion.

 By the way, this “worry/trust” concept also works great on my five-year old and his very sad inability to attend birthday parties after he goes Rambo on his sister for eating the last orange. Kids who hit other kids just can’t be trusted. “I’m happy to let you go to a party when I can trust you not to hurt other children.”

These lessons in sanity are so important during long absences! I’m pleased to fulfill yesterday’s promise … I got an email from one of the folks over at Love & Logic letting me know that spouses of currently deployed servicemembers get this material for free. They’ve given me a graphic link (you’ll see it way down at the bottom of the page) to get the download information. If you call them and let them know of your military status, they will send you the audio download link via email, free of charge.

If you are a milspouse blogger or anyone else and you want to include this offer on your page, please see my “Milspouse” tab at the top of the page for instructions.

On a final note, 100% of profits from sales go to the Wounded Warrior Project. So even if you’re an educator or family services worker who interacts with children, but you don’t qualify for the free copy, you can still click on the link below and purchase a copy knowing the proceeds will go to a good cause.

If you do get the download, come back and tell us what you think!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The DAD
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 05:16:59

    To all the companions of the Super-Champ-Moms who may be fortunate enough to read these posts, you might do well to remember (as I do) the endearing admonition I once received upon my return as the fearless warrior: “GET THOSE DAMN GREASY FLIGHT BOOTS OFF MY CLEAN KITCHEN FLOOR!”

    They may not be completely ready for a Change of Command upon your return – not on the first day.


  2. DogBoy
    Nov 10, 2010 @ 08:08:58

    I know the crazy-eyed slobber momma.


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