Hello, friends! And helloooo Friday. I hope your week hasn’t felt as long as mine. While the week was long, it was somewhat of a milestone. Month one of deployment is in the books as of Wednesday! I survived, and I kind of feel like super woman. It was most definitely the hardest month of my life having to deal with work stress and Rue (our Aussie puppy) trying to break her leg. And then there’s the part where Kevin is on the other side of the planet doing dangerous work every other day. So. Much. Stress. But we made it. Today I want to share a little bit about how I’m managing, and hopefully encourage the ladies who are currently dealing with or are preparing for a deployment.
Before He Leaves
So I’ll go back to the beginning. If your significant other is currently deployed, you can probably relate to this (at least I hope that’s the case and I’m not actually crazy), if you aren’t there yet, listen up: The struggle starts well before he actually leaves. A few weeks before, it starts to sink in that he’s leaving, and what do you do? You get angry. You probably expected me to say you spend as much time together and enjoy it as much as possible. That was the goal. But that’s not what actually happens, at least not for me, and at least not the first deployment. But honestly, I thought it would be easier to get mad before he left in hopes that it would make things easier when he left. Well it doesn’t. It just makes it even harder on him and you feel really bad. So take my advice. See it coming, and avoid it at all costs. Actually try as hard as humanly possible to make it the best two weeks.
The First Two Weeks
The two weeks after he left were without a doubt the hardest. You feel so many emotions. Anger, fear, worry, loneliness. You feel lost. You feel like you’re missing a limb. This is when you have to learn to do everything on your own again. Take out the garbage, cook for one, take care of the pets or the kids all by yourself. Y’all it’s so hard. You will shed lots and lots of tears. But it’s ok. And the good news is it gets better.
How I Manage
At about week three, things start to get a little easier. You get into a routine, you realize that you get to talk to him more than you thought you would, and you start to feel like you might actually be able to do this. The days are still long, but you get into a groove and you kind of just start going with the flow. It does take effort though.
- Surround yourself with friends and family. This is a must. Not only does it make the time go by faster, but it lessens that feeling of being alone. Go out to dinner. Go see a movie. Plan a weekly wine night with the girls (this is something me and my friends do and it’s SO necessary). Visit your family if you’re lucky enough to live close.
- Read. Read a good book, a devotional, the Bible. This really helps pass the time and it kind of removes me from my world and puts me in another one for a little bit. We all need an escape.If you don’t have time to go search for super cool little bookstores like the one in my photos, I recommend a service like the Book of the Month Club. You get to choose a book a month for as long as you want and it comes right in the mail. It gives you something to look forward to and the books are actually really good. Find an encouraging devotional. I’m currently reading Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado, and I’m loving it. I’m also reading this devotional specifically for military wives, and it really has been so comforting.
- Pray. Never stop praying. I pray in the shower, in the car, at work, while sitting at home. I never stop because I know God is the only one that is going to keep me sane and focused and keep Kevin safe.
- Go to bed early. I am usually a major night owl because I hate feeling like all I do is work, come home, eat, go to bed and do it all over again the next day. But sleep is hard to come by during deployments and I am all for making the days as short as possible.
- Talk to him when he has time, but don’t force it. This is one of those “too much of a good thing” situations. I recommend talking once a day on the phone or via FaceTime as his schedule allows. Sometimes he will have extra free time, but don’t make him feel like he has to spend it all on the phone with you. As hard as this is for us, it’s even harder for them. And they most likely aren’t going to let you in on that if they can help it. If he has free time, and he wants to go to the gym or to go watch a movie, let him. It does not mean he doesn’t want to talk. Also, if you try to talk too often, you run out of things to say and will eventually find something to argue about. TRUST ME. So figure out his schedule (it won’t always be the same) and try to pick one time each day or so that works best.
- Find something that you love doing, and do it. Whether it’s blogging, volunteering, working out, knitting, painting, whatever. Find that thing, and do it consistently. Trust me when I say there is nothing better than having something to look forward to besides his homecoming. My brother plays baseball for Ole Miss and this will be his last season, so I’m going to throw myself into that in about two weeks! Cannot wait.
- Put a countdown on your phone. But don’t look at it everyday. I’d recommend checking it like once every 3-5 days at first. I made the mistake of checking everyday for the first few days and it looked like the number was never getting smaller. This seems like such a small thing, but it really is the little things that make this easier. Again, it gives you a goal to work towards, something to look forward to.
- Remember that this season will pass and that he is totally worth it.
I feel like I’ve learned and grown a lot in the last month, and I can only hope it’s going to keep getting easier. Hopefully by sharing my experience you guys can be encouraged in knowing that you aren’t alone. And if you aren’t a military spouse, but happen to know one, I encourage you to reach out to them and show them some love and support. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a great weekend!