What’s your name? Shanna Muegge
What branch do you serve in? Colorado Army National Guard
How long have you served? 15 years in January 2018
Have you ever deployed? If so, where and how many times? Yes. Deployed to Mahmudiyah, Iraq in 2009. The ARNG often gets activated for state emergencies or sent to other countries for training; in June 2013 I was activated for the East Peak Fire in La Veta, CO and again in Sept 2013 for the Colorado Floods; in Nov-Dec 2015 I had training in Germany.
How many times have you PCS’d? In the ARNG it is a little different than active duty military. We can choose to transfer to another state or territory as long as there is a position available for our MOS/rank. I have served in the Wyoming ARNG, the North Carolina ARNG, and now the Colorado ARNG.
How many children do you have? I have one son, Andrew, light of my life/mini-me!
As a single parent who serves, what are some of the things you’ve done to help your child cope with the challenges – moves, deployments, etc – of military life? Some of the things I have done to help when I leave for training, is let my son help me pack. He feels more a part of what I’m doing if he can help me. When I deployed to Iraq I was not yet a mother so I am dreading my first deployment as a parent to be honest! Andrew’s school also has a military and family life counselor that visits with him during the week and talks to him to make sure he’s doing well in school. Because we live so far from family, I depend a lot on the close friends I’ve made living in Colorado to help take care of Andrew when I’m in the field. If I leave for an extended amount of time, Andrew goes to stay with family. Fortunately, he looks at it like a vacation.
Finish this sentence. My child will be better for growing up with a mom who serves because… He is able to see a parent who is resilient. Being in the ARNG may not mean that I get deployed as often as active duty, but he does experience the sudden change in scheduling because I have schools that come up last minute, late nights, additional duty training, and taking care of Soldiers whether in or out of uniform. My resilience has helped him build resilience already with bullying in school and to stand strong when things are hard.
Any advice for other children of single parents who are serving? Being a single parent is hard enough, so serving as a single parent adds all kinds of new worries to your life. Being able to lean on family and close friends makes a world of difference. I do not have family close by, 99% of them live in other states actually. So building a good support system is key in serving as a single parent.
Any advice for other single parents who serve? Cut yourself some slack. Single parenting is difficult, not impossible but difficult nonetheless. You have to be a strong parent for your children and a strong leader for your troops, so figure out a way to decompress this way you’re not treating your children like Soldiers and your Soldiers like children.
Bonus Question: What’s your favorite camouflage pattern? I like the new OCP pattern the best, and I joined when we had the old BDU/Desert BDU’s!
This interview is brought to you by Sgt. Sleeptight – defender of sweet dreams for the children of military families.