As a military spouse, we all know that saying “see you later” is tough, but adjusting to being alone, single parenting or just trying to continue on with your everyday life is a hard task. Surviving the first month of deployment can feel like a chore, in my opinion, it’s the hardest part of deployment. Not only is it the lonely nights but I believe there a bit of a mental struggle, at least for me.
The first couple of deployments that I went through, it was tough to make adjustments to being alone. My first deployment with my husband, I remember driving to the pier and saying my goodbyes and the next day, the deployment was postponed! It was heart wrenching knowing that I had to prepare my mind for saying goodbye again in a few months! So, when the time came, I dropped my husband off, said our see-you-laters and I promptly drove away, refusing to cry. I teared up on the drive home, but I always say to myself, “You are strong, You can do this.” And the most important thing I learned over the deployments is to rely on yourself, keep positive and just do you!
My tips to surviving the first month of deployment:
Stay positive & Self reliant
Positivity is one of the most important things, in my opinion. Being positive isn’t only good for yourself, but it’s also good for everyone around you. Try your hardest to keep your head up. Yes, missing your spouse will be on your mind, but if you can stay positive then you’re winning most of the battle. Everything else will be SO much easier for you.
Keep busy / Get a hobby
Keeping busy will help you ease your mind and keep it moving, leaving little time to actually let yourself get caught up in the thoughts and loneliness. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with thinking of your spouse and missing them. I find it easier that if I keep busy, I can keep myself centered and collected. I like to fall in to a routine, it makes transitioning through my days, weeks and months a breeze!
Take on a project
I love taking on projects! One of my goals is to turn my bedroom into a spa getaway! And let me tell you, it’s definitely lacking. But I can tell you, I can hang curtains like a pro, install shelving and I am definitely becoming quite the handy lady. Not only does it make you feel good, if your space is happy and inviting, it will help you be more comfortable. I like to say, a clean house equals a clean mind! This definitely falls into the keeping busy category, but the satisfaction of finishing a big project on your own is a wonderful feeling!
Don’t compare your relationship with your service member to others relationships
I find that this is one of the hardest. With social media and the way technology is, it’s possible that you can e-mail or communicate some way with your spouse quite frequently (depending on the mission, of course). But it also has downfalls, I am a member of MANY facebook groups for our command and let me tell you – it’s pretty tough to read everyone bragging about phone calls, or fighting over who knows what, or why something the way it. I know you’ve probably experienced this too! The best thing I did for myself was leave those groups, turn off notifications and limit what I read because comparing your life to another service members life is just nonsense! It will make it harder for you and could possibly strain your own relationship. All in all, do what works for you and your family!
Make care packages for your active duty service member. I love making them it’s so fun and my husband loves receiving them! When it doubt, send food! My husband loves it. If you need more help and ideas on what to send, check out this huge list of what to pack in care packages for deployed troops. And also check here on how to fill out the NEW (CN22) military customs form!
I hope this list helps you! Lastly, it never gets better, it just gets easier to cope with and handle. You eventually adopt the “CAN-DO” attitude and embrace it. You’ll thank yourself that the sooner you embrace it, the better.