Army Families find new normal during COVID-19

By Elizabeth ClarkApril 24, 2020

U.S. ARMY GARRISON-WIESBADEN, Germany - Work-life balance has undergone dramatic changes since physical-distancing measures began as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

As hard as it may be for someone to keep themselves busy and entertained, families are constantly juggling job responsibilities while also tending to their children.

The Debehets family is tackling ways to balance the requirements of the day for a family of four.

“It is all about keeping busy and active while we are confined to our home, and it is also about working together as a team,” Sgt. Danielle Debehets, a public affairs noncommissioned officer with U.S. Army Europe said. “It is also about trying to keep everything as normal as possible to keep up with our day to day tasks.”

The Debehets have been staying at home since mid-March while following social distancing guidelines.

“It’s been nice to stay home with my family and spend time together, but I miss going to the gym and working from my office,” Danielle said.

While not being able to go to the office has its downfalls, Danielle and her husband Nico have been able to accomplish tasks they have been putting off while away from the house.

“For the adults in the house, we have started to do tasks and chores that we keep putting off,” Danielle said. “This time at home has motivated us to start getting those done.

“So far, we have done the spring cleaning around the house, yard work that we have been talking about doing, and cleaning out our garage,” she said.

While the parents are tidying up the house, their nine year-old daughter Brea’en stays occupied with homework and playing with her one year-old brother Jonathan. Although, according to Danielle, Brea’en says she misses school and her friends and is wondering how long she will have to go to school on the computer.

“Brea’s teachers have been sharing fun-educational activities for her to try here at home,” Danielle said. “She has also been working with me in our kitchen baking; she has become my little helper.”

Even though they are not able to go about their lives like they had before the COVID-19, the family is doing what it can to make the most out of the situation.

“I am looking forward to having freedom of movement and being able to do the things we used to do,” Nico, a custodial supervisor at the Wiesbaden-Hainerberg Exchange said. “It feels like you are locked up and have no way of going out and being able to do what you want to.”

To help relieve this feeling of being locked up, U.S. Army Europe has various online resources that give Soldiers and family members options. They have anything from AAFES, Military One Source, and activity tips for parents of young children.

“Use some of the tools that are in the U.S. Army Europe homepage and explore different ways that you can stay involved with your kids as they are online schooling right now and share some of those resources,” Dr. Jay Bartley, the U.S. Army Europe suicide prevention program manager said.

The saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child.” According to Bartley, U.S. Army Europe is a village and it is going to take a village to get through this difficult time.

Visit the U.S. Army Europe COVID-19 website at

Other resources for accurate information are the “Coronavirus Disease 2019" website at, and the “What the U.S. Government is Doing” website at