The Only Girl Among Boys

Rocking out our 4th deployment with our 4 little boys, trying to find the humor in the ups and downs, but never afraid to explore the not-so-funny side of our crazy, post-wounded, wonderful military life.

Rebecca is a winner of Top 25 Military Moms - 2013

What's a tip for celebrating a holiday or milestone with your kids when your partner isn't able to be there?

Holidays can be rough without our spouses to share in that joy. We do our best to bring him in wherever we can, sending Christmas trees/ornaments/gifts ahead of time, and sending up a little prayer that we'll get to skype the day of so he can be apart of our celebration. If we can't skype, then I'm always on the camera and video recorder, snagging every minute I can to upload to Jason.

We also tend to carry around a tiny sign that says, "We miss you Daddy!" so when something big happens, we throw the sign in the picture and he knows we're thinking about him.

But, these events are also tough on the kids when he's away. I do my best to validate their feelings, and give them an outlet like letters or email to keep that communication open with their dad. And they love packing up care packages in anticipation!

What have you learned about parenting from living in different places?

Parenting across the world from one another can be TOUGH! The first thing I learned was that I never say "Wait until your dad gets home" when they misbehave. Even if it's a short TDY, I never want them dreading their dad coming home. I handle whatever comes up!

We've learned to keep communication open, and we don't candy-coat anything. if the kids are rough, then their dad knows it. If he needs to have a Man-to-Man, then he's on skype, parenting from Afghanistan. We're not single-mothers, ladies, we're just sole-caretakers while our husbands are away. I lean on my husband just as much during deployment for our kids, because it doesn't matter if he's here in NY, on TDY, or deployed: he's still my partner and their father. So when there's poop on the walls? Yeah, he knows it. But he also knows when they're awesome, and they love to make him proud.

The biggest thing we've learned is to stay separate only in distance, never in heart or family.

What are your best tips for traveling with kids?

Okay, no laughing. Pack outfits in ziploc bags!!! When we travel, whether it's home for the holidays or to Boston for the 4th of July, we write down names and dates on each bag, then stuff them with outfits, down to socks and undies. That way during the morning rush, it's toss a boy a bag, and they're dressed! It's especially helpful when we think of the random events they might have planned, so it's already bagged, and we don't forget anything for the trip. Plus, the bags are great to throw back in any dirty item!

If we're road-tripping, then we love to pre-pack sugar-free snacks, and keep water bottles with their names on them. We avoid sugar at all costs when the boys are strapped into car seats for miles at a time! This policy also applies to airplanes. We feed our boys protein, good fats, minimal carbs and sugar. After all, a hyped-up four year-old is difficult at 30,000 feet! And we're always sure to pack that special "lovey" or blanket for the trip!

Keep Calm and Travel On. ;)