When Mike was preparing for his deployment to the Middle East, I started reading up on other military girlfriend’s and spouses on how they were dealing with the deployment. I realized quickly their blogs and survival guides would not apply to me. Here’s why:
I’m not a unique snowflake by any means, I’m in my early 30s with no children and have already gone through some pretty significant life changes. Thus, I cannot relate to a 21 year old woman with 2 toddlers and this being the first time their spouse has left them for a length of time. Though, I do believe those blogs are informative for those in similar situations and who might be feeling overwhelmed.
But it’s close to the half-way point and I’ve noticed there’s been several routines and things that have helped me pass the time and of course I think have helped Mike on his deployment.
Why? Because he doesn’t have to worry about me freaking the fuh out at home and can focus on his job/mission/task.
1.) If you’re about to freak the fuh out, find someone else to talk about it with other than the person who’s deployed on the other side of the world:
Yes the absence of that person is felt, but he’s sleeping in a bunk with limited air conditioning, and is working 12 hour days. I am at home with two dogs, running water, air conditioning, cable television, internet, accessible laundry machines, so yeah if the lawn service accidentally skips a week I don’t need to complain about it to him. Although complaining makes me happy so instead I put that in my group chat with all my friends.
2.) Don’t talk about individual finances with the person who’s deployed on the other side of the world:
I’m making a career change right now, and I brought up finances with Mike when it was a action-packed week for him. I have learned my lesson and will be discussing all future financial queries with anyone else but him. Unless it’s stuff regarding our house, dogs or things we do share. My concerns were about my healthcare for the next few months, and it’s not his issue and it’s mine. He’s again sleeping in a bunk with limited access to things I take for granted, so I need to buck up and find some affordable healthcare if I want to continue freelance writing, personal training, and directing youth lacrosse camps.
3.) Remember this deployment is only temporary:
This isn’t a permanent change in address, it is a temporary break in the way of life. Adjusting is crucial so take the time to learn new skills, make new friends, explore new interests, find a new career, you know just do other things to pass the time.
Blogging is a great way to pass the time, just saying.
4.) YouTube EVERYTHING to fix stuff that breaks, then brag about it:
So our disposal sucks, and before Mike left he fixed it. Though I have shoulders and lats that are borderline masculine, I am pretty useless when it comes to fixing anything around the house. So when the disposal broke again a few weeks ago, I told Mike and he said to youtube it. That’s when I learned all of life’s problems can be fixed on YouTube.
The feeling of accomplishment is outstanding when I finally fixed the disposal on my own. And along the way I learned what a wrench is. I also fixed a clog in the shower. Repaired the siding on the outside of the house, and weaved a basket using grass because the lawn care service needs to come more frequently.
All Hail YouTube.
5.) Always insure your care packages and then ask about it repeatedly:
In case you are sending a care package, make sure to insure it so you can get the tracking number and then for the next week ask your deployed serviceman if he or she has received it. It adds to the excitement of when they FINALLY DO receive it. Then proceed to tell them about all the household things you fixed because of YouTube, and mention that by you fixing them you saved money so you can pay for your upcoming healthcare. This is a really general and nonspecific situation.
All this will help ease their mind that you are in fact not freaking the fuh out.
6.) Talk to other people who also miss them:
Though he’s not stateside, writing about Mike and talking about Mike makes me truly appreciate Mike more. It makes his absence not as apparent because I feel like he’ll be home soon. He’s not just my handsome and smart boyfriend, but he’s also a son, a brother, dog parent and friend. So I make sure to stay connected to talk about how awesome he is to those who share my affinity for him. We’re all big fans and can’t wait to have him home. I do like hearing stories about him, like when his sister told me about the time they went swimming in the lake when they were younger and he had a fish in his hair. The retelling of memories are meaningful and invaluable and help with continued connection.
7.) Stay Busy!
If the void is too much, find something to occupy the mind. Something to distract and fill the time rather than allowing the sadness to fester. Nothing is going to change so the only thing I can control is my attitude toward the situation.
There are times when I feel bad for myself but then I end up going on a job interview and hating the idea of selling life insurance and it reminds me there’s so much more out there if I open my eyes a little wider. And then boom, I feel a lot better about the situation and life in general.
Then with this new found epiphany when I FaceTime Mike I tell him all about it and he seems happy than I’m moving in the right direction and he then tells me about his day and how he didn’t eat a hamburger, and then I think out loud about how I need to walk the dogs more. He agrees then we try to get the dogs to respond to his voice. We love FaceTime.
But time is valuable, this alone time with our dogs, the house we share, and overall life changes we’re experiencing are opportunities to learn more about us as a couple. I feel confident in myself even though he’s not around, and I think that shows him he can trust me and is reassured that his home life will be intact and strong when he returns.
And the battery in his car still works. Because I really failed at that task when he was in training for 2 months.
So those are my 7 Tips. I feel stress and time management are crucial to the success of getting through this deployment at home. Plus how I manage my time, efforts and stress impacts the stress-levels of Mike while he’s abroad. My performance on the home front shows him his sacrifices for our country are not unnoticed and he will come home to bundles of love and support.