The primary occupational hazard of military life is deployment. In our current state of affairs, if a soldier is in the military long enough, s/he will get deployed. Depending on the job your soldier has, those deployments can start to rack up. But how do you get through that first one?
When you’re new to the military, there are LOTS of unknowns. You don’t know how the systems work. You don’t know where you’re going to be living. Will you like your neighbors? And… what happens if my soldier gets deployed?
The spouse will have to go to what seems like 1000 briefings, but who is REALLY listening to all that mumbo jumbo anyway.
Sidenote: It’s really not mumbo jumbo, but when you’re sitting in those conference rooms, you may as well be Charlie Brown.
Honestly though, after awhile, deployments are like riding a bicycle. Once you learn it, you never forget it. Here are some tips to help you go from ‘Oh my goodness, you’re going to be gone for how long? To ‘See ya when ya get back!’
These are some of the things my husband and I did before he got deployed, and before the ‘reality’ set in that he was going to be gone for 585 days. They are in no certain order, except #1.
After the crying and separation anxiety, we still gotta live. You need to know how the money will be handled. Will you get an allowance or does the soldier get the allowance. How will the bills be paid?
Pining away for your soldier does you and the soldier absolutely no good, and makes for a pretty long deployment. You will miss your soldier. They will miss you, but that doesn’t mean you stop living. Keep living!
Do something you always wanted to do! When my husband got deployed, I went to Real Estate School and discovered that I LOVE it!
Volunteer. Go to school. Get a job. Start a business!
Take lots of pictures before your soldier leaves. Make sure to take a family picture. Take lots of pictures while your soldier is deployed. This helps you and the soldier. You get to have recent pictures of your soldier with you, and your soldier will get to see what you are doing while s/he is gone. Receiving a picture of someone moping around and depressed isn’t very encouraging. Get out and have some fun! Encourage your soldier to send pictures to you as well.
At the time of my husband’s deployment, we only had our 1 son. Dad left the day after my son’s 2ndbirthday. My son’s schedule did not change. The next morning, he got up and went to daycare just like always. It’s just that daddy was gone to work for a really long time.
Try not to change your children’s routines. It’s the normalcy of a routine that helps them and you get through the deployment.
Ask questions. Tell him/her your concerns.
If your soldier shares information with you about the unit, their mission, and their location, do NOTunder any circumstances share that with the public, including your friends or on social media.
That is a breach of operational security (OPSEC), and your soldier can lose his job.
Share your thoughts, BUT make sure you convey to your soldier that you can handle it. Your soldier needs to leave you feeling that everything will be OK while s/he is gone. Otherwise, it can be a distraction.
A distracted soldier is a dead soldier. While that might be jolting and sound a little dramatic, it is true.
Realize this: The US Military is the highest trained military force in the world. Your soldier is highly trained in his/her profession and how to stay alive. Have confidence in their knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Some places have different levels of internet. Take advantage of email, Skype (if allowed), instant messaging, etc. Make the most of your phone calls.
Do NOT spend your calls complaining, or whining about things at home. If there is really a problem that needs the soldier's attention, share that and let them do their part. Otherwise, keep it to yourself. Your soldier does not need that lasting impression when it is time to hang up. The kids are always great (unless there is a real issue)! You are ALWAYS great. You miss your soldier, but when they ask how you're doing, you are GREAT! Your phone calls should be nothing but uplifting and fun!
I have the advantage of having grown up in a military family, so I was already used to this. When my husband deployed, my mother-in-law asked if I was scared. Honestly, I was not.
I knew that at any moment I could get a visit from a soldier I don’t know telling me that my husband was killed.
I knew that at any moment, my son would no longer have his father.
I KNEW that, but I didn’t worry. I had a son to raise and keep his life as normal as possible.
I KNEW my husband was well-trained, and if I had to deploy, I would want my husband on my side.
Having that kind of confidence helps you not worry.
As stated earlier, deployment is never easy, but it gets easier. You get stronger. You will get through it.
Another thing… stop watching CNN. It’s rarely helpful and doesn’t make you sleep easier at night.
I hope this helps you. Remember: There is no spouse stronger than a MilSpouse!
Share this with a MilSpouse who needs this. What tips do you have for getting through deployments?