About Kara & her Blog
Kara is a winner of Top 25 Military Moms - 2012
What do you love about being a military mom?
I am a military mom, but I'm still a regular mom. The thing I love most though, is being able to give my children the experiences they've had. We currently live overseas in Japan. How many kids get to visit a foreign country, let alone live in one? I'm doing my best to make the most of our time here. I'm always looking for fun, new places to take the kids. They are seeing how other people live, eat, and that there are completely different people in the world. They've seen things that most people only see pictures of. The experience alone is well worth it sometimes.
What advice would you give to moms on how to build a new support circle after a move?
After moving to a new base, get yourself out there! After this last move, I found myself striking up conversations with women in line at the PX and wondering if they would be my friend. How exactly do you ask someone that as an adult?
Go to unit functions. We all know they can be a drag at times, but you may just meet a great spouse. Even if you don't make a new best friend, you'll be familiar with a few women who you can then call in an emergency when the guys are gone.
Search for any groups that are into something you like. For example, running groups, moms of toddlers, or moms of multiples. The internet and even Facebook can be a big help with this.
The internet is a wondrous thing. It's easy to find message boards that you can hook up with someone local (just be careful). I've found that the blogging world has introduced me to a good number of people I would have never met otherwise. Since we've been at this duty station, I've met 4 (soon to be 5) women that I first knew through there blogs. Some I've become really good friends with, while others I'm more really good acquaintances. Either way, it worked out.
I found that volunteering was my lifesaver. I started volunteering just to get out of the house. It gave me the much needed adult time. I have since grown to love the actual work, but I've also made some wonderful friends.
However you manage to do it, just get yourself out there. You (and your spouse) will be thankful for it in the long run.
What's a tip for helping kids cope with a parent's absence?
I think the best way to help kids cope is to keep them involved. Let them know what is going on.
During our last deployment, my kids were 3 and 6. I sat my 6 year old down and explained to him where Dad was going. It happened to be right around the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and we had been watching things on TV about it. He saw the footage, so I explained to him what happened and that Dad was going to find the bad guys who did that. He understood. Not every kid is ready for a detailed explanation at that age, but he was and he was fine with it. We got maps out and showed him where Afghanistan was and how far away from home it was. My 3 year old was simply told that Daddy was at work. She accepted that.
To keep in touch, we skyped as much as possible and if he called, I let the kids talk to him. They made him cards and pictures and I tried to include them on the care packages. One thing we didn't do was a countdown, but I only knew an approximate time when he would be back.