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From the Mailbag: A Military Stepfamily Faces Their First Deployment

FS has a lot on her plate. She’s a fairly new stepmother and military spouse. In addition to navigating the stepmother waters, her husband will soon deploy. This leaves FS as the sole parent in the household while he’s away. The challenge of simultaneously attempting to meld a family together, deal with her husband’s absence and help the children through the deployment seems overwhelming.

I just recently found Spouse Buzz and I can’t tell you how at home I feel reading the blogs. Thank you for providing this service! I am merely a National Guard wife about to go through her first deployment and I can relate to so many of the blogs already. I was wondering if you are aware of and could point me into the direction of any resources about step families and deployment?

I have two step children that live with us full time. Their mom is in the picture but has given up custody of the children because she has seen how much better the kids are living with us full time. We have been married for 3 years. It has been written that it takes a step family an average of seven years to really blend together, and I believe that! Being a parent has it’s own challenges. I have found that there are days that being a step parent is like a huge mountain that I will never be able to climb successfully. I am constantly trying to adjust my parenting style and trying to puzzle out how I can get my step children to listen, love and to respect me the way that they do their father.

Now, we are facing the fact that their father will be deploying in a couple of months. These aren’t young kids. My step daughter is a teenager and my step son will soon be one. This is such a wonderful age to begin with (yes, I’m being sarcastic) let alone adding the stress of a parent’s deployment and dealing with a step mom on top of it. I feel like I need to find help on how to prepare myself and the kids for this. What should I expect? How do we communicate with them that the little dramas that we may have as a parent & teenager need to stay between us instead of running to daddy on Skype to stress him out about it? I just feel so lost and overwhelmed when I think about missing my husband—but then attempting to be a step mother on top of it? Forget about it!

I have no experience with step-children, but I’m willing to bet some of you do. If so, I’m sure FS could benefit from hearing about your experiences.

About Andi

Andi is married to an active-duty soldier and is the founder and former editor of SpouseBUZZ.

She is the founder of the Annual MilBlog Conference. The MilBlog Conference is the premiere event of the year for military bloggers. President George W. Bush, U.S. Representative Adam Smith, GEN David Petraeus, LTG Mike Oates, LTG William Caldwell, RADM Mark Fox, MG Kevin Bergner, MG David Hogg and The Honorable Pete Geren have addressed previous conferences.

While living in Washington, DC, Andi was the Ambassador to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for Sew Much Comfort, a non-profit organization which makes and delivers, free of charge, special adaptive clothing for wounded service members. Andi has worked with several non-profits to help our wounded heroes and their families. She finds that work to be the most rewarding and meaningful of all.

Andi strives to find humor in the good, bad and ugly of life and is a firm believer that laughter has the ability to cure most ills.