Not everyone is going to understand this post, but those that do will understand all too well.
Military spouses put up with A LOT. (I never really understood this to its fullest extent until recently.) Their spouse is constantly traveling, they risk their spouse not being present for important moments (like holidays, birthdays, and even the birth of their children), they’re forced to play both Mom & Dad much of the year, they have to move on a whim whenever the government says so, they sacrifice their own careers and passions, in addition to all of the emotional and mental strains the military can put on a military member & his/her dependents.
Deployment will set you off on an emotional rollercoaster. The homecoming date will change a dozen times, you may not get to communicate on a regular basis, their 6 month deployment could easily turn into 12, and one too many of your care packages will never even make it to them.
Your mil-spouse friends will probably always say they are fine. Check in on them anyway.
Many mil-spouse’s are SAHM’s. The time their spouse is away is even harder on them when they’re on Mom AND Dad duty 24 hours a day, every day. Give them a break, y’all. They’re like single parents, but they’ll never consider themselves one. They know their spouse would rather be at the dance recital than be in some Godforsaken place.
My situation is a bit different and I can’t say that I understand the above to its fullest effect. However, I am friends with and related to some who are affected in this way and I see the impact it has on both them and their children.
Exhausting. Draining. Stressing.
My personal situation included my husband deploying to Syria soon after we found out we were expecting our little lemon, Charlotte. He didn’t return home until several weeks after she was born.
Read about her birth story here!
In addition to this, I was promoted at work just after the hubs deployed. In any other situation this would have been AMAZING, but the work situation was slightly bitter and I was overworking myself just to keep from thinking about all of the “what if’s” at home.
All of the things ran through my mind.
All. Of. The. Things.
What if my husband doesn’t come home?
What if he misses the birth of his baby? (Spoiler: He was there via FaceTime.)
What if an IED destroys a body part, his mind, his will?
What if he’s not telling me everything just to keep me from worrying?
Some spouse’s have come to rely so heavily on their other half that they fall into a depression, lose their job, give up on their health & wellness journeys, and sometimes even worse when they’re left alone during a deployment.
Check in on your mil-spouse friends & family, y’all. Don’t assume that they’re doing okay.
So how the heck are you supposed to survive those months that your spouse is gone without needing a freaking Valium? How do you keep your mind from stressing about finances, or your spouse possibly coming home with severe PTSD, or the what-if’s of your spouse never returning at all?
Find something you enjoy to emerge yourself in.
If you don’t have a hobby. Find one. Even if that just means you are binge watching Grey’s Anatomy for 8 months straight. Keep your mind busy.
I personally stayed incredibly busy, worked like a horse, & found peace in spa days and shopping online for our baby on the way.
Have a go-to person.
You might have a best friend that you talk to about everything. However, odds are that if you are a mil-spouse, your spouse is likely your best friend. You likely have been uprooted from your hometown and live hours and/or states away. Make mil-spouse friends. Call your Mama every day. Have a reliable, inviting work family.
Occupy your time with something bigger than yourself.
Finding something to donate your time and efforts into can be so rewarding. If you belong to a church, there will likely be opportunities there galore. If you’re not, look into shelters, local schools, donate time to an orphanage, or cuddle infants in the NICU.
I promise you, doing something that has NOTHING to do with you will do you a world of good.
Go through your nesting phase.
Nesting is not just for the prego’s, y’all. I can almost guarantee that most mil-spouse’s go through a similar phase when their other half deploys. Don’t fight this my friend. Just let it happen.
I don’t exactly recommend going overboard though. I may or may not have redecorated every room in the house, bought all new furniture, cleaned every room top to bottom regularly (until my fat, prego self couldn’t take it anymore), and then redecorated all over again.
You will probably go through a moderate phase when your spouse first leaves. Then you’ll just lose all interest for a bit. Then you’ll realize your spouse is coming home soon and hit a whole new level of nesting. Just let it happen. It keeps ya busy, keeps your house clean, and will keep your spouse pleased.
Similar to preparing for a newborn, you are preparing for your manchild to return home. 😊
Get yourself in kickass shape.
I feel like a huge hypocrite even bringing this one up. I had such great intentions of losing tons of weight and getting all sorts of fit when Eli was deployed. I wanted him to come home to a smoke show. Butttttt, life is beautiful. I got fat and grew a human instead. What can ya do? Sorry not sorry.
If you’re not pregnant and have goals to hit, definitely spend this time alone focusing on yourself and do so! You deserve it, girl.
Find your balance.
Cliche. I know. But this is so important.
Life is already so darn hard sometimes. Throwing in a deployed spouse is an incredible stresser. And Lord be with you if you have children, a job and/or extra-curricular’s to keep up with.
Find something will provide you with a sense of peace, relaxation & solace. I don’t care if it’s yoga, sleep, or a new hobby. Find that “thing” and absorb it.
Shout out to all mil-spouse’s holding down the fort.
And a bigger shout out to all military men and women doing a job that not all have the courage to pursue.
We respect you. We appreciate you. We salute you.