Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
This Mother's Day there are more than a few area moms dealing with extra stress.
They may have children serving with the military overseas. Or are now faced with juggling parenting duties alone for more than a year while their spouses are called to duty.
For Kris Doucette, the nights are the hardest as she works on homework with her sons, watches over her baby daughter, makes dinner and handles the home chores. Her husband, Mark, is serving in Kuwait.
"I'm trying to hang in," she said. "It's hard."
Her boys, Eric, 12, Andrew, 10, and Austin, 9, like to help with their 11-month-old sister Fay.
"She just laughs," Doucette said. "She loves her brothers. I know the boys will watch out for her when she's older."
Doucette said Fay is an easy-going baby who has slept through the night since she was 2 months old. While the boys enjoy their sister's company, they have yet to be convinced they should carry their plates from the table to the sink. Getting help with household chores can be a chore in itself for their mom.
The boys think their mom should do it all, she said.
"I have a friend who has six kids and I don't know how she does it," Doucette said. Her average day begins around 6:30 a.m. She tries to do things her husband would do with the boys. They recently went out to North Central Speedway to watch the races while Fay's godfather watched the baby. And they try new ventures as well. Warmer weather and a trampoline in the backyard are expected to help wear the kids out.
"I'm exhausted by 9 o'clock," Doucette said.
She was recently laid off from her job at the Thrifty White Drug Store in Brainerd along with several other workers. Her days are now spent trying to find full-time work.
Her mom and older sister are there to help. Doucette said it's hard to ask for help from others even when she knows that is just what they want her to do. Recently, her son Eric's Boy Scout troop raked and mowed her rural Brainerd yard. Her church, St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Brainerd, has been particularly supportive, she said. Fellow parishioners bring out supper on Fridays to give Doucette a break on cooking.
Her husband, who is serving with the 434th Main Support Battalion from Camp Ripley, is expected home on leave in July. His deployment began about last Thanksgiving. He is expected home next year.
"The hardest thing is not having my husband here to watch them grow up," Doucette said.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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