This weekend was Mother’s Day in the United States. It’s a day for celebrating motherhood, family, and togetherness. But for many military families with deployed family members, it’s more difficult. Mother’s Day, and other holidays, take on a different form when a parent is deployed overseas.
“For day-to-day operations, it doesn’t feel like the impact has been as great. I’m trying to keep everyone on the same routine,” said military spouse Lynn Were.
Lynn’s husband Mike deployed to Southwest Asia two weeks ago for a three-month deployment. Mike is an Intelligence Officer in the Air Force and has been on extended deployments before, which has had an impact on the family.
“My best friend is gone,” said Lynn.
For many military families, deployments can result in emotional, academic, or physical problems for children at home. And while there is substantial evidence documenting this, there is not much research into the homes and lifestyles of veterans.
Some veterans miss the adventure of their military career and become “adrenaline junkies”. For families, this results in the veteran choosing a career that can be high-risk and include prolonged travel.
“Off-shore (oil rigs) they are gone six weeks, that’s their time. So it would be, again, less time with the family,” said Shanna Morin. Shanna’s husband Justin is a US Army veteran and self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie. Since separating from the military, Justin has been a firefighter, worked on oil rigs, miner, and is now attending a commercial diving school.
Military spouses like Lynn expect when their husband separates from the military that they will have a normal life without the separation caused by deployments. “It will be nice to be stable,” Lynn said.
But as Shanna points out, this doesn’t always happen for veterans. “You have that dream of it, but you soon learn that that dream is not a reality.”