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Should She Bring The Baby For His 4-Day Pass?

Here is the question, Guys:  If you only have a four day pass before you deploy downrange, should your wife visit with the baby or without the baby?

Paige wrote this week hoping that our experienced SpouseBuzz readers would give her a little advice:

Should I take our 8-month-old baby across the US or should I just go by myself? Would it be okay if I went by myself? His concern is that other guys wives are bringing their kids and it would look bad if ours was not there.

At one time or another, I think all of us have been right at that decision point. When Brad and I were young parents trying to make this same kind of decision, I could not sleep at night for worrying about getting it wrong.

I went to my dad and ask what he would have liked when he was in the service.  My dad took a long time to answer.  He said, “Ideally, first I would have your mother by herself first.  Then a week later I would have you kids come.”

That made me laugh.  I know my dad loves his five children dearly.  But his sun rises and sets on my mom. I went to visit Brad alone.  Here are the questions Paige and her husband might want to ask themselves:

1. Why are we doing this?  When you think about these four days, what is your intention?  Is this a time to have a lot of sex and talk and laugh and go out to eat?  Is this a time when your servicemember is exhausted and needs to sleep a lot?  Or is this a time to be a family together?  If you are honest about your intentions, the visit will go better.

2. What is best for our baby? Babies are babies.  They are who they are.  They do what they do.  Most babies are not great cross-country travelers.  They often don’t sleep well in a new place.  They can make a hard situation harder.  Leaving your baby for a few days with a trusted caregiver does NOT make you a bad mommy.

3.  Is it easier for the servicemember to come home? Even though you might miss the ceremony, sometimes it is easier to have the servicemember come home if that is allowed.  Ask yourselves the 10-10-10 question:  Will the ceremony matter in ten days? In ten months? In ten years?  See Question #1.

4. How will you handle predeployment moodiness?  You might be thinking that this will be a time of beautiful memory making.  Instead, most couples report that predeployment is a time of pulling away.  Your servicemember is likely to be a little edgy or grumpy. You are likely to be carrying a lot of emotion right there in your chest. It’s part of getting ready to deploy.  Will you handle that better with the baby around or not?

5. What’s right for us? Early in your military life you gotta learn that your peer group is a great gauge of what other people are doing.  That’s all.  Their relationship is not your relationship.  Their kids are not your kids.  Their needs/wants/joys/values/resources are not yours.  Resolve to only do what is best for your little family.  Trust your gut.

 What else does Paige need to know, Readers?  How did you handle this situation?  Would you have done anything differently?

About Jacey Eckhart

Jacey Eckhart is the Director of Spouse and Family Programs for Military.com. Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan?? Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times. Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom.