It’s Ok To Be A Mess – Coping with My Husband’s Deployment


Coping with my Husband's DeploymentA few months ago my husband got home from a seven month deployment. Yup, I spent seven months solo parenting a three year old and an infant who wouldn’t to sleep. This wasn’t my first rodeo, either. When I had my son, my husband made his way home from a deployment for my delivery only to promptly leave two weeks after he was born. Knowing (sort of) what to expect I put my head down and powered through — coping with my husband’s deployment was something I knew how to do. We all made it out alive but not without a few things to reflect on. These words I’m about to type have weighed heavy for some time now. Every mom needs to hear this, and hear it over and over again.

It’s ok to be a mess.

We often make light of “mom life” but the truth is: sometimes being a mom is really hard.

It’s easy to poke fun at how many cups of coffee we need to survive or how much dry shampoo we go though. At the same time, we need to be talking about how “mom life” can be a lot harder than we expected. It’s tough to see what an honest picture of motherhood looks like these days. 

I lived completely and fully in the trenches of motherhood for months. The deep, deep, deep trenches. It was powerful and liberating. I learned a lot about myself and how capable I am to do anything. It also wasn’t very pretty. There were days I looked like I had aged 10 years overnight. I was tired and nearly out of patience, clarity, and energy.

No one likes to talk about how you can lose yourself in motherhood. There was a point where I decided to be a bit more truthful about my situation and live in the mess. So rather than trying to convince myself that I was ok, I let myself be a mess. I let myself be tired, I let myself cry, and I also reminded myself that it wouldn’t last forever. When I did that it meant letting go of a few things.

So excuse me while I bare my soul here for a minute…

I learned to cry more, yell, and be really vulnerable.

Coping with my husband’s deployment sometimes meant not coping well at all. I hate to cry, yell, or be too vulnerable in front of my children (or anyone), but I did a lot more of this. It didn’t feel great but it was sometimes the only thing I could do to make it through. The mom guilt was never ending and as soon as my kiddos would be fast asleep I would have to fight the urge not to wake them up and tell them how sorry I was. On the flip side, this new found vulnerability taught me to apologize to my children, to teach forgiveness, and to be honest about why I was upset or sad. It opened a few emotional doors that would have stayed closed otherwise. 

I let go of some rules and a schedule.

I’m not a schedule type of person but let’s be honest, with kids you have to have some sort of routine. But in the depths of winter solo parenting, I let go of any sort of schedule or rule. Oh you want chicken nuggets for breakfast? Sure! You want to wear shorts in December? OK! You never want to nap again? We can make that work! It wasn’t easy but I didn’t have the energy to fight about anything so I let it go.

We don’t have a TV in our house so screen time is never my go to BUT I found myself turning to the iPad. By 5pm I was itching for everyone to go to bed. So instead of crazy early bedtimes, I would pop on a movie and let my toddler totally zone out. This allowed me some time to get my mind right and prepare to get an infant to sleep for a few hours.


If you were to visit us unexpectedly during these seven months you would have been worried. If there was no reason to get dressed or shower than none of us did. There were days spent in PJs {me included} and multiple times I had to really think about the last time I showered. Don’t even get me started on cleaning toilets and vacuuming. We weren’t in total shambles but pretty close. I’m not proud of this, it actually makes me question my ability to parent as I type it. But its my truth and this is what it meant for me to stop pretending and live in the mess.


I would get so anxious once the sun went down. It would be in a constant loop of worry.  I would would worry hat no one would sleep, that my toddler would wake the baby, that one of these kids would inevitable fall down the stairs, or make figure out how to open the front door while I was sleeping. The worry and anxiety at night could be crippling, especially knowing that I was the only one responsible for these children. There was no one else that would wake up if they heard something, no one, and no one else to commiserate with about the lack of sleep or the worry.

Things That Helped When Coping with My Husband’s Deployment

There were some things that helped and became nonnegotiable. 

Getting out of the house with and without the kids

I made sure I did things with the kids out of the house. Our favorites became yoga classes at ChildLight Yoga, swimming in the pool at The Works and visiting The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. These helped us get dressed, get some energy out, and mingle with the real world.

I also made it a point to get out of the house WITHOUT the kids. When I had childcare I would make sure I took full advantage. Just working out, having a cup of coffee, or running errands alone made me a much better person and mother. I also made sure I worked a little. As yoga instructor I can control my schedule and its pretty flexible. I made sure I taught a few classes a week to keep my sanity.

Taking ALL the Help

When someone offered to take the kids I would happily say YES! We have family nearby that were wonderful about watching the kids and like I said I would take full advantage. I also utilized things like Hannaford To Go and ordering things on Amazon or Target, rather than trying to wrestle two kids into a shopping cart. There are a lot of ways to outsource some of the things we moms think we have to do!


Though it sounds like I was in the depths of despair during these months, I wasn’t. I definitely had my moments but I also laughed a lot. Even with a everything going on, I made sure not to take myself too seriously. I also laughed with my kids. They needed to see me happy and joyful. So whatever it take,s laugh at yourself and laugh with your kids!

After coping with my husband's deployment - family photo
So great to have him back!

Your circumstances might not be seven months of coping with a military spouse deployment. But maybe you’re a single mom, or you’re having a bad week, or even a bad day. It doesn’t matter what season you’re in, allow yourself to sit in it rather than putting on a happy face. I’m not here to tell you quick fixes on how to look like you got eight hours of sleep. I’m just here to give you permission to live in the mess and to be there with no excuses. Let’s be real honest here – trying to convince the world that you’re super mom is exhausting and no mama has time for that.

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Hello, I'm Rachel! I was born and raised in a small town in Southern Maine. Now I live in Seacoast New Hampshire with my ruggedly handsome husband, our sweet son, dog, and two cats. I received my degree in Marine Biology from Hawai'i Pacific University and soon after graduating I moved to Boston and began working in animal medicine. A few years after getting married, my husband and I found ourselves moving to New Hampshire and expecting our son. Now you can find me teaching yoga classes throughout Seacoast New Hampshire. I have traveled a bunch, LOVE the ocean, I always have a thousand "projects" happening at once, love a good workout, and have found the perfect balance between lazy weekends and having adventures.