This is the live blog coverage for Major Dad: How Military Life Shapes and Challenges Our Parenting.
The order and discipline of military life can be a useful template for the experiences of parenting, in part because it breeds an appreciation for its inherent sacrifice. And the shared experience gives veterans a strong sense of purpose our children absorb. But the sacrifice of service, and the brutality of combat, inflict losses that cannot be recovered. These panelists will discuss how they have reconciled these profound influences – as people, as parents, and as proud providers of the common defense.
Moderator – Michael Moebes (@dadcation)
Panelists – Seth Goldstein (@usmcseth), Major in the USMC , Armin Brott (@mrdad) former Marine, Chris Haynie current Naval Officer, and Jeannette Haynie former Naval Officers.
Seth – Has done 3 deployments as a dad. Has recently taken
Armin – Was in the USMC for 7 years. Wrote a book (Military Father) talking about how military members could be a well connected parent.
Chris – Infantry officer. Started a family with fellow panelist Jeannette while not even in the same state. I don’t feel like the military is very friendly to families, or raising kids.
Jeanette – I switched to the reserves because I was either going to crash the helicopter I was flying or the car I was driving with my kids in it.
Seth – The challenge for me is that you don’t get the same discipline at home that you do at work. I had to get use to splitting the two worlds. I am use to going in to work and telling people what to do, and they do it. At home it just doesn’t it work like that.
Chris- The idea that routine is good, but the manner that you achieve those results is much different. In a way, you want your kids to have a healthy disrespect to authority.
Jeannette – How can I take all these Marines to Iraq and no one gets hurt, but I can’t seem to wrangle 19 girl scouts?
Armin – I’m curious how the military is working to change the idea of, “If we wanted you to have a family, we would have issued you one.”
Chris – You have to provide young soldiers with a network of people to talk to. You also have to provide them with some leeway.
Seth – We try and include families where we can when it comes to unit functions.
Jeannette – We’ve seen some response by DOD leadership that the archaic mindset of families is no longer going to last.
Chris – The military is a big echo-chamber. The outside influences of society will seep down into the military and force them to reflect.
Jeannette – The first question I was asked when I became pregnant was, “Ok, I guess you’re getting out.” Men aren’t asked that.
Armin – Soldiers don’t understand that you can’t just show up after being gone for 12-15 months and start ordering people around. They have to, in a way, earn their way back in.
Seth – I never once emailed my wife after flying out on missions. My wife never watched the news. She wanted to believed everything was ok, and if it wasn’t, she’d find out the proper way.
Seth – What people don’t realize is that when a soldier gets back from deployment, they and their spouse no longer know each other anymore. It’s like going on a first date with someone you’ve been dating for 10 years.
Chris – It’s so much harder for the person who isn’t deploying.
Seth – The tempo of deployments have definitely slowed down. There are more junior Marines now, that have never been deployed, than have been.
Chris – The worse thing the military can do for soldiers when it comes to dealing with their PTSD is to just drop them back into the family role, or push them out of the military.
Chris – You have to be ok with not being good at everything. You can’t expect to be great in the military AND have a great family life. You have to commit to one for the other.
Jeannette – Our children are growing up knowing the level of sacrifice that is a great thing in this country.