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Parents in the USCG
Last Post 06 Aug 2019 10:46 AM by IronHorse0311. 7 Replies.
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IronHorse0311User is Offline
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IronHorse0311

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04 Aug 2019 11:08 PM
    Before speaking with a recruiter, I want to be as well-informed as possible and absolutely certain about enlisting as a Boatswain's Mate in the Coast Guard Reserve. I have a bunch of questions (already posted in the reserve subcategory), but feel this batch is appropriate for active-duty, reserve, and retired personnel. What persuasive arguments can I use to ease my wife's concerns about deployments and did you ever feel like a crummy parent for temporarily leaving your kids behind to serve the country or pursue adventure?

    Our two kids are under five years old and my wife isn't keen about grandma having to cover for me every time I would be away. They need their father, you'd be missing out on so much, you're being selfish, what if there's an emergency back home or you get injured or killed? I told her I wouldn't be gone ALL the time, we could Skype, this is a dream she's known about before we got married, her mom is retiring soon and could help with the grand babies, and as the little ones got older maybe they'd be excited and proud of their Coastie father, instead of growing up bitter. I read somewhere that some wives actually feel empowered holding down the fort on their own. And before anyone mentions it, I'm not overly concerned about infidelity or the infamous Jody due to childbirth/care obliterating her libido. Lay the truth on my folks, how rocky was it for your marriage and the kids? Hopefully you can share some success stories. Cheers!
    mkellyUser is Offline
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    05 Aug 2019 07:21 AM
    If your wifey isn't on board, it won't work.
    If you're going into the reserves the only time you'll really be gone is boot camp, "A" school, and then when you drill for two weeks once a year. You'll have a weekend of drilling a month and you won't be that far from home. Somebody can correct me if I'm wrong but the chances of you being deployed somewhere as a reserve BM are very very slim! From the way you're writing, it seems like your vision of Coast Guard reserve is like being shipped off to Afghanistan or some foreign war. Its very different than that.
    I think its a bad idea to tell your wife that she will feel empowered when you're gone. Generally not a good idea to ever tell your wife how she will feel. The Coast Guard is great with families but the reality is that you will be gone sometimes. If you both aren't okay with that, its going to be a hard situation no matter who is around to help watch the kids. You will miss out on some things, there is a chance you get injured, there is a chance there is an emergency at home, and heaven forbid, there is a chance you die. Those are things that a lot of people deal with in their jobs, not just the military.
    I love my job, My wife and kids love what I do but I know my wife worries sometimes when I'm gone. Thats the way things go. I try to support her as she supports me.
    Old Guard2User is Offline
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    05 Aug 2019 10:25 AM
    Posted By mkelly on 05 Aug 2019 08:21 AM
    If your wifey isn't on board, it won't work.

    I think its a bad idea to tell your wife that she will feel empowered when you're gone. Generally not a good idea to ever tell your wife how she will feel. 
    Amen MKelly!  There is nothing in this world that will get my feathers in a ruffle faster than Scott telling me "Don't feel that way"  Do not tell me how to feel, I can't help my feelings.  MKelly is also correct in that you will LIKELY not be traveling to foreign lands for indeterminate amounts of time.

    To the OP, I do not know your profession but I am a returns analyst for a pharmaceutical company.  Sounds exciting doesn't it?  I travel a small amount for my job.  If I'm in another time zone for work and there is an emergency at home, well, handle it honey.  My husband has had a myriad of professions after he got out of the Army, all of which have taken him away at different times.  At one point I was living in Texas and he was living in NJ.  We handled what we handled and it was ok.  We were recently living in Wisconsin and he was going to go back to Alaska for a job.  We would have 2 or 3 weeks a year that we would be together.  The job fell apart and he didn't go but we were prepared and it would have been ok.  He was a logger and was heading back in the woods.  One of the worlds most dangerous professions.  Of course there is a possibility he could have died.  We say our I love you's, be careful, I'm always thinking about you... and we get on with our day.  I could die driving to work.  The "you could die" argument holds very little water to me.  We are all going to die and it could be on the job even if you're a ditch digger.  Live your life and enjoy, don't worry about the "what if's"

    As far as Coast Guard life, my first husband was a Coastie.  We have a son, he is now a Coastie.  We made an adventure out of our CG life.  We had maps of where daddy was, we had countdowns til daddy came home.  My son and I had crazy adventures and it was always "Don't tell daddy, he'll be so jealous!"  At the same time when daddy was home, they had fun, went places, did things together and said "Don't tell mommy the fun we had!"  My ex was active duty, we lived everywhere but anywhere close to family.  Blood family that is.  We always had our Coast Guard family near to us.  Again, life is what you make it.  You can live in a bubble and never venture away from a comfort zone and be quite happy.  You can live life on the edge, with your hair on fire and be miserable.  Find the spot that works for you both.  Only you know what that spot is.
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    CCCSDUser is Offline
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    05 Aug 2019 06:01 PM
    Just know that at some point, you will probably end up in a PSU or other unit that will be deployed. While it may not happen, you need to plan for that.
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    05 Aug 2019 07:31 PM
    I am an active duty BM and help manage the reservists at a Station. They come once a month and have their 2 weeks ADT once a year. For the most part, they volunteer to deploy. We don't have a set schedule for them, they try to group their drills so that we don't have different people coming every weekend so that we can maximize training efforts, but they work with SERA to schedule their drills to work for them.

    We do have reservists deployed at the border right now, and they deploy for the hurricanes.

    Maybe to help with your spouse, offer to bring her to a unit and ask questions to someone thats not a recruiter. We can give her a realistic idea of how it is. But I agree with mkelly that a member that doesn't have their significant other's support, it is going to be really hard to make it work. Granted you will pretty much always have cell phone reception, so its not like you are getting underway, but, added stress from family makes it really hard for our members so focus. And with BM, you will without a doubt need to put in your own time studying for crewman and coxswain if you want to advance, at home, outside of drilling.
    Take what you like and leave the rest behind.
    IronHorse0311User is Offline
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    05 Aug 2019 09:49 PM
    Posted By mkelly on 05 Aug 2019 08:21 AM
    Generally not a good idea to ever tell your wife how she will feel. The Coast Guard is great with families but the reality is that you will be gone sometimes. If you both aren't okay with that, its going to be a hard situation no matter who is around to help watch the kids. You will miss out on some things, there is a chance you get injured, there is a chance there is an emergency at home, and heaven forbid, there is a chance you die. Those are things that a lot of people deal with in their jobs, not just the military.
    I love my job, My wife and kids love what I do but I know my wife worries sometimes when I'm gone. Thats the way things go. I try to support her as she supports me.

    Ha, I know better than to tell my wife how to feel, but maybe it wasn't a good idea to tell her to "calm down" and ask whether her craziness was related to her period. Just kidding, just kidding, I did not say either of those things!

    I definitely understand the missing the kids part, but my question was whether you ever felt like bad parents for knowingly choosing a career that involves lengthy periods of separation from your family. I know in my case it would be the Reserve, but the whole point of a Port Security Unit is to train up and deploy, which they actually do on a pretty consistent basis. If I went the Blue Guard route instead, I would absolutely be looking for opportunities to augment stations or cutters around the world for months at a time if that's possible. I think that's part of why my wife considers it "selfish" and potentially detrimental to the kids, because it might appear to them that I am choosing adventure and my Coast Guard family over them. She also has a bit of a "what's in it for me" mentality (i.e. You're working on some boat in the Caribbean, while I'm sitting in traffic after dropping the kids off at school). Ideally, I'd want my wife to be supportive and my kids to think Papa is a badass superhero defending the country and saving lives, but I know that's not guaranteed. I wouldn't consider my wife hostile or intent on sabotaging this dream through threats of divorce and child custody blackmail. I just think she likes our comfortable setup and doesn't want to rock the ship.

    So other than taking her to a unit and speaking with other parents, are there any other helpful suggestions to make her more at ease with such a major lifestyle change? Thanks!
    Old Guard2User is Offline
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    06 Aug 2019 06:16 AM
    I don't there is a day we walk away from our kids and think "Crap, I just want to go to the zoo, eat ice cream, hold their hand for just 5 more minutes today!" In the military, multiply that feeling when you know you are leaving for a few months or longer. At the same time, you know you are doing something good and you know you'll come home to the greatest hugs and kisses and love you daddy's!

    For your bride, there are a lot of different facebook pages out there. There is here... she can log on and ask questions. Be aware with some FB pages, some are brutally honest, almost to the point of being downright cruel. I'm not a fan of those. I've seen people get ripped to shreds for asking a question that seemed logical. But you find a good page, there is a Wives page, she might want to try that to ask questions, and she can learn a lot heading into this adventure.
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    IronHorse0311User is Offline
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    06 Aug 2019 10:46 AM
    Posted By Old Guard2 on 06 Aug 2019 07:16 AM
    Be aware with some FB pages, some are brutally honest, almost to the point of being downright cruel. I'm not a fan of those. I've seen people get ripped to shreds for asking a question that seemed logical.
    The truth is the truth. Somebody being "brutally honest" and ripping somebody apart on a Facebook page, probably has his or her heart in the right place by wanting that person to avoid trauma and make a well-informed decision. I agree though, there is no need for personal attacks or downright cruelty. I suspect this forum is biased towards good times in the Coast Guard, but a good place regardless to find honesty without wadding through a bunch of mean-spirited feedback from disgruntled spouses or Coasties.
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