When Mom Really Does Wear Combat Boots

Dear Mr. Dad: You’ve written a lot about dads in the military, but I’m in the opposite situation—my wife is a deployed Marine, and I’m at home with the kids. I’m feeling completely overwhelmed. What can I do to support her and keep myself—and the kids–sane?

A: First of all, thank you both for your service. With women making up about 11 percent of deployed servicememebers, you’re not alone. Here are a few ideas that may help.

  • Don’t fill your e-mails or phone calls with complaints or tell her about problems she can’t do anything to resolve. You’ll just frustrate her. But don’t paint an overly rosy picture either—she’ll get suspicious that you’re covering something up.
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Keeping memories alive

Dear Mr. Dad: My father died when I was a teenager and now that I’m a dad myself, I find myself missing him more and more. Of course, my children never met him, but is there a way to include him in their lives, to keep his memory and the wonderful lessons he taught me, even though he’s not here anymore?

A: For many of us, our own parents can be a constant source of advice, and without that sounding board—even if we swore we’d never be the kind of parents they were—it’s easy to feel lost.

Your dad may be physically gone, but there are lots of ways to keep his memory alive. The best is to talk about him often with your children. If you have an important memento, display it in your house and tell your kids why it was special to Grandpa.
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