A thoughtful look into life overseas as a new mom and Air Force wife.

Lynn 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?

Most families probably feel that it’s important for the parent who is away to feel as included as possible on these occasions, despite the distance. There are so many ways to share a big day with a deployed parent.

- If your partner has access to the Internet, set up a video call during the celebration.
- Be sure to capture the big and little moments in photos and video to share by email or in a care package.
- Pre-record a video message from the parent who is away, or send ahead a gift, to share with the kids on the big day.

Above all, I believe it’s important to have these celebrations so that our children understand that our lives aren’t put on hold because their father is away for work. Perhaps I feel this way because of the nature of my husband’s job, which has him deploying and traveling frequently now and for years to come. Of course, there is nothing wrong with delaying a celebration for a parent to return, if that is what works for your family. We military spouses know that flexibility is an essential trait to our lifestyle.

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

Living thousands of miles from home has taught me that, no matter where you are, you need your “village” to raise a child. To recreate that network of support with every move is challenging, but it’s essential to living a healthy, balanced life. This may mean you must overcome a fear of burdening new acquaintances with requests for help. Perhaps you need to tap into on-base resources that you haven’t previously considered. But one thing is universal: no one is expected to raise a child alone and people are generally very willing to lend a hand.

What are your best tips for traveling with kids?

First and foremost: just go! Don’t be afraid of traveling with children. Easier said than done, of course, but children benefit from exploring new places and cultures as much as adults. And if you overthink it, you’ll never go!

That said, my second tip is to be prepared. You don’t need to plan for every contingency, but packing snacks and supplies (diapers, changes of clothes, entertainment) to get you through key legs of travel will make your trip more enjoyable. Identify the places you want to be sure to see each day with realistic expectations of your kids’ endurance.

We’ve found that apartment-style accommodations work best for us as we travel with small children. That way we’re afforded the flexibility of preparing meals in a timely fashion, in addition to being able to hang out in a living area while the kids go to sleep at an early enough hour to keep us all sane.

I also encourage parents to alternate afternoons of childcare duty so that you’re each allowed time to explore a new place without the distraction of your children. This is also a great way to sneak in that museum trip that your partner is dreading. Spending the time apart gives you fodder for great conversation at the end of the day, too!