12 May 2015

Day 9 - Having a Positive Deployment

After a decade of playing the military family game, you know at some point the raw pain of deployment departure will dissipate and things will get back to normal.

It happens slower for some families than others, but eventually you just get used to setting the table with one less plate. You don't remind the kids to remember Daddy and his buddies in their nighttime prayers, it's automatic. There's no need to answer the "where's big sexy" question because everyone knows he's deployed.

THIS IS NOT A BAD THING! When you finally get a grip 2 days, 2 weeks or 2 months in,  it means you've found your feet and now you can climb over the obstacles ahead. In no way does successfully managing your life demonstrate a lack of concern or longing for your service member. On the contrary - communicated the right way - your strength will provide a peace and confidence that will allow your war fighter to focus on Mission First (instead of a leaking faucet 7,000 miles away that they cannot personally fix).

Here's how I find my feet...

1. Preperation:

Even if you are a "salty" spouse go to the pre-deployment brief. Make sure that your expectations are correct. For example, we've gone through our share of deployments already, but the nature of those missions and AOs allowed for almost daily internet connectivity and easy access via MWR or personal resources. This time around is very different. Even though we've gone through the separation before we are learning all new communication techniques based on limited availability. 

Have the following on speed dial (and yes I recommend interviewing them prior to your spouse leaving) Mechanic, Plumber, General Handy-man (or woman) and a PAID babysitter/petsitter. The first three are obvious the last one I recommend because it can be very hard to KEEP asking your friends for help. I however feel no guilt calling up someone we pay to watch the kids (especially so I can treat my friends who keep helping me to a drink).

Finally, prep your family and friends. Let them know if you are horrible at asking for help. ASK THEM to CHECK ON YOU. Then - be honest when they call. Even if all you need is to chat with another human. They'll be happy to help and you - I PROMISE - will feel better knowing they are ready, willing and able to help.

2. Pout Time

You do not need to walk away from the runway, hanger, drill hall or pier with your big girl panties (BGPs) in the full upright and locked position. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO FEEL BAD when the LOVE OF YOUR LIFE leaves for God only knows how long!

That's right. I pout. I usually afford myself a good 72 hour carb-laden, ice cream devouring (kids), alcohol imbibing grump fest. I watch TV, I ignore the house work. I pout.

*This is where #1 Preparation will come into play if you know your pout window is ending, but you'll need help to get out of the funk - schedule a lunch date with a good friend.

3. Pep Talk

After I've pouted. After I've looked around the messy house it's time to grow the hell up and get back on track. Grab your BGPs pull 'em on and buck up. I get the hell over it. I can't cancel deployment so I might as well make the best of the time I have with or without half my soul by my side.

I no kidding look in the mirror and give myself a pep talk "I can do this. It is only ____ ______. He'll be home before I know it, better not let everything fall to pieces."

If that doesn't work - phone a friend. The one who's always got a "look on the bright side...." at the ready. Yep ring ring - grump ass calling - tell me how I can make this crap sandwich into creme brulee.

4. Perception

This one can be hard. It is  easy to fall into a pit of poor me, and the deeper the pit the harder it is to climb out. When the car breaks down (on the way home from dropping him off), the water pump goes out, someone drains your bank account, the dog barfs on your work pants and two out of three kids have the flu...  it can be difficult to step back, deal with the issue and not blame everything on ___insert branch of service here____.

View each situation as it actually is. The car broke down? Not a problem I have a mechanic. Water pump is out? Call the handy-man first and see if it's a big problem or if he can fix it. Dog barf? I have a washer. Kids have the flu? Ask a friend who's already out to pick up some comfort items and thank them for dropping them off.

I try my best to deal with the reality in front of me instead of the tragedy my mind likes to create. I've found over the years that things aren't as bad as they seem at first. If you've prepared yourself both emotionally and logistically things will be much more manageable.

5. Perseverance

Through all of the hardship, frustration and trials of deployment I've had the opportunity to get to know myself again. I've learned my strengths, my weaknesses and my behavior patterns. Knowing who I am and pushing myself to be stronger has taught me there are no limits to what I can do. With a little creativity and alot of support I can make it through this time a better person than when I started.

Set goals. Achieve new things. Hold yourself accountable and be proud of your successes. When your service member gets home you'll both have great stories to share about deployment.

Time for me to feed the hellions - hope this helps...

XO XO & Stuff,


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