From Mom: What to Send When They Leave


Here I am preparing for both of my sons to deploy on two different missions, just as my husband did. As a mom, my mind begins racing in 1000 different directions: all while feeling the intense emotion of wanting to be a source of stability and comfort, and to reassure my sons I am close by no matter how many miles separate us. So moms: what do we send in care packages when they are away?

Back in the day, when my husband was deployed overseas the first care I sent was package was filled with stationary and stamps, coffee, razors, Gatorade powder, wet wipes, mouse traps and candy for the local kids.  In the next box, I added our kids’ art work, pictures, and updated photos.  We did not have the communications they do now, so writing old fashion letters was a true blessing. I cherished what I learned about my husband during that time.  It would take at least 30 days or more packages to arrive, a little less for cards and letters. There was always the chance my care packages would never arrive. Now we have the ability to FaceTime (if the mission allows). I sent my son’s girlfriends stationary and stamps to write them letters, but who would have thought they would be able to communicate via face to face, text or call, and exchanges pictures as much as they could.

Back in the day~
  1. Pack your care packages with items that your son or daughter will absolutely use or need during their time away. When I asked my boys what they needed for their deployments, ironically it was a few of the same things: mouse traps, razors, thirst quenching powder, dads famous jerky, snacks and some gear.
  2. If possible, try to gather any forwarding information about mailing care packages to the deployed location. This may be information like their address, if there are specific items that are banned, scheduled delays in mail, and the overall cost of shipping the package. Sometimes this information isn’t available until after the service member gets settled and they send this information to you.
  3. If they have a partner or close friends, don’t forget to ask for their input, too, for items that will make their time away from home feel less isolating. I messaged my son’s their girlfriends to see if they asked for anything particular.  One son requested protein anything, a twin blanket, a pan to make pancakes with. His girlfriend added homemade cookies that she vacuum packed. He told her they were still good when they arrived! The other son specifically asked for socks, razors, shower caddie, and plug in air freshener’s. His girlfriend’s mom suggested water flavor packets. They only have water there after breakfast, so it was a nice change from plain water.
  4. The important thing to remember is to limit sending a bunch of items that are not necessary or they didn’t specifically ask for. This is due to their lack of space or the need to move around during their mission. When they are gearing up to come home, they will need to pack that all up in their duffel bag or foot locker. It is important for service members to prioritized space for their gear as time gets close to homecoming.
  5. I would also avoid sentimental, sensitive, or expensive items in your care packages because even in today’s world of high-tech tracking, not every package makes it. There are multiple reason for this (often it is the logistics of the overall mission not necessarily something insidious), but your best safeguard is to get insurance on your package. In the event your care package does not make it to the desired recipient, then at least the contents of your package can be reimbursed to you.
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Jenn Smith
Hey I'm Jenn, NYer turned OKie after my husbands 30 year ARMY career. We have four pretty amazing adult kids, two of which are active duty soldiers, so yes we are "empty nesters" But that didn't last, we bought 40 acres called The Roost and a few chickens to fill that void. Though my career was Physical Therapy many years ago, I chose to stay at home with our kids during my husband's active duty career with lots of volunteering added to my resume. I dabbled in substitute teaching at many duty stations and started contract work with R. Riveter as a Remote Leather Riveter, RR131 :). I love to cook, garden, create garden/field to table recipes and listen to audiobooks while doing that. My goal is to "keep moving" so staying active as long as I can through running, yoga, biking is my go to, but I do enjoy a frothy cup of black coffee, a glass of wine and chips and salsa. Here with Military Mom Collective I want to inspire, guide, share tips and tricks that we have learned through our military journey. Also to help other empty nester moms out there who have kids that are active duty. It is a different ball game when your kids are active and deploying, but we can get through it together.


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