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Army July 4, 2013
A military mum and dad share their secrets to balancing work and family life
Cpl Max Bree
MANY Army families are taking
on new opportunities and finding
the balance between work and home
Lt-Col Markus Ludwig, currently
SO1 Operations of HQ 1 Div, became
the primary carer to his children when
his wife deployed to the Middle East
on May 31.
He is taking care of nine-year-old,
Tatyana, and six-year-old, Harrison,
while his wife, Lt-Col Natasha
Ludwig, CO of 9FSB and currently
deployed as CO FSU 8, spends eight
months providing logistic support
to troops in the MEAO and helping
remediate and redeploy forces from
“As a logistician it doesn’t get
much better for her, still trying to
maintain the operation while you’re
closing down aspects of it,” Lt-Col
“She’s really excited in having the
opportunity to deploy with FSU 8; it’s
such a diverse organisation.
“But she’s sad to leave the chil-
dren. It’s the fact that she’s going
away for such a long period of time.”
And as the deployment date
approached, Markus noticed his son
starting to act differently.
“With something that seems unre-
lated he’ll get quite emotional over
it,” he said.
“It’s only when you drill down
Tag team: Lt-Col Natasha Ludwig is deploying to the Middle East while husband Lt-Col Markus Ludwig will stay
home to look after their two children.
Photo by Cpl Max Bree
[you find] it’s related to Natasha
“They’re not used to Mum head-
ing off; they’re more used to Dad
But Harrison is attending a four-
week program at Gallipoli Barracks
to help children of deploying soldiers
learn coping mechanisms if they are
sad or concerned.
Rather than talking about Mum
going away for eight months, the
Ludwigs explained it to their children
as two four-month trips away.
“We said, ‘Mum’s going over
there for four months first, then she’s
coming back and we’re going on a
holiday together, then she’s going for
another four months’,” Markus said.
Lt-Col Natasha Ludwig saw
herself being in the same position
as many other Army and Defence
“I’m sure many other military
families have had to share the parent-
ing responsibilities,” she said.
“Markus has done this before, just
not for as long.”
Although she had full confidence
in her husband, Lt-Col Ludwig
could point out a couple of areas
of responsibility not usually in his
“It will be new for him to help
with costumes for school plays and
respond to RSVPs for kids’ parties,
but he’s got the big stuff covered,”
“With cooking I have no concern
they’ll get three squares and then
And Markus saw any extra duties
at home as simply being part of a
“We have always shared the
household roles because we have
only known each other as Army mem-
bers who undertake the same type of
work,” he said.
“I’m just being a father, that’s
what I’m doing, and like other dads in
my position, you just get on with it.”
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