WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 8, 2008) - A new children's book, written by a former Soldier and single mother, helps to explain why mom deployed and how to cope with the emotions associated with her departure.
"My Mommy Wears Combat Boots," written by Sgt. 1st Class Sharon G. McBride, is geared to young children and toddlers to help explain why mom had to leave and how to manage feelings of anger, sadness and loneliness.
McBride was motivated to write the book just before her second deployment after her daughter was born. She scoured the internet and book stores looking for a children's book that would help explain the situation, she said, but could find none that seemed appropriate.
"What was available was geared toward daddies," McBride said, "And I thought that would confuse her more."
At a loss, McBride decided to write her own book. The original copy was written on the computer and illustrated by hand-drawn sketches, and then bound at the neighborhood Kinkos, she said.
The book helped to explain to McBride's daughter, Lyssa, why she had to deploy.
"Kids are egocentric," McBride said, "They don't understand duty and honor, they only want mom or dad back."
The main character of the book, a young girl bear-cub, has to deal with her mother going on deployment. The cub experiences many emotions: anger, frustration, sadness, loneliness, and even guilt.
"My Mommy Wears Combat Boots" explains that those emotions are normal, and it is OK to feel them, McBride said. The book presents ways of dealing with those emotions with the help of a care-giver-in this case, Grandma. In the book, McBride illustrates that proper forms of emotional expression, such as running outside or screaming into your pillow, are acceptable, but hitting grandma or shouting at the family pet is not.
Published Feb. 28, 2008, the book is based on McBride's experiences with her daughter during deployment. The first time she deployed, McBride left without explaining to her daughter why she was going; she said that was her main mistake.
"I should have talked to her like a little adult," McBride said.