15 tips to persevere through deployment as a spouse
15 tips to persevere through deployment as a spouse
We’ve officially hit the 7 month mark and besides very vague references in a few posts, I’ve basically avoided this topic altogether on my blog.
Why? Well, I cope best with distraction. I don’t particularly want to remind myself of his absence, or the low moments where I physically ache because I miss him so much.
With that said, I do believe in being authentic in this space. I think I’ve managed to get through the past 7 months pretty damn well. (M – if you read this and disagree, just lie for my few readers OK? ;)) I’ve found joy in personal passions like travel and writing, and have had the BEST support system to lean on throughout the entire process. Women, including myself, have a habit of not giving themselves credit where credit is due, so I won’t go so far to say I couldn’t have done it without other people. But having my best friend as my roommate, calling my mom & dad, texting my sisters, and taking trips with some of my closest friends has made it exponentially easier.
Of course, it’s not quite over either. But I’m feeling confident enough to share how I’ve completely smashed this deployment, and how you can too.
These tips could also go towards a spouse’s extended work trip or a career change that results in different cities, etc. Just don’t tell a military spouse it’s “basically the same thing”
if you value your life.
How to persevere through a spouse’s deployment: an unofficial, slightly sarcastic, biased guide
2. Plan trips with savings from #1. Plan a bunch of trips. Yep, keep planning. Add another weekend trip that month. Why not got there too? Now try and work out how you’ll have the PTO to take them all, how to budget like a mad man to afford them all, and plan intricate details for each day. This will keep you busy for days.
3. Marathon all the Netflix shows your spouse would never watch with you. Teen angst dramas like The OC? I’ll just power through that twice, thank you. Throw in some rom-coms and tear jerkers to really drive this one home. Anything they would sit on their phone playing Candy Crush during, you watch the shit out of that.
4. Somehow manage to time the deployment around your best friend/roommate’s schedule, so you have 1) someone living with you to listen to all your angst and 2) someone to ALSO hear any strange night noises. Make sure said person is also the best company for a day hike or an entire day spent at a winery.
5. Send care packages, at least once a month. Ask your family to join in on it too. Send texts with too many emojis. Send pictures of your smiling face. Cheer your spouse on. It’s easy to forget because you are “struggling” without them, but you are the one who still gets all the amenities of your day-to-day life. You can call for a pizza or grab a beer or get on a flight for a vacation or jump in your car and drive. Try to brighten their day, any way you can.
6. Join a gym with classes where coaches tell you what to do. Bonus points if parts of the workout involve med ball slams, battle ropes, deadlifts, or burpees. Basically, anything that you can either throw or get so sweaty you become disoriented and forget you have a spouse deployed.
7. Get a couple of great work friends who suggest happy hour often. No distraction is as good as a third margarita on a rooftop in downtown Seattle. Exhibit A:
8. If the deployment falls in the summer months, work on your tan. There are few things in life as instantly gratifying as tan lines after an hour or two spent reading in the sun.
9. Re-read the entire Harry Potter series. This one requires no explanation. It’s Harry Potter. Of course you should re-read it when you have some spare time.
11. Make your feminist self proud and mow the lawn, trim the weeds, change that weird LED lightbulb on the back porch that went out the week he left, troubleshoot vehicle issues, and if you’re REALLY FEELING TOUGH put together furniture – all on your own. You’ll cuss a lot and maybe even cry once or twice, but you’ll still have the dignity of not begging someone to do it for you.
10. Go out into nature. For more than just a tan. Hike. Run. Kayak. Swim. Enjoy the fresh air. Remind yourself that this deployment is temporary, and honestly so are you. The world will be here so much longer than all of us. Be humbled by that. Take a minute to realize how insanely short 8-9 months is in the grand timeline of existence.
12. Tell your spouse you love them, every single chance you get. Whether it’s on WhatsApp or through an email chain you just keep responding to without an answer or you write it down 7x in a letter you send each week. Say I love you.
13. Plan an epic post deployment trip that includes a beach and drinks with umbrellas. This is one of the only moments on my blog I’ll tell you not to use Airbnb. Get a nice hotel. Make that concierge plan your day. Let housekeeping clean for you. Order room service. You’ve f**king earned it.
14. Plan an epic outfit, hair, makeup for the day you get to be reunited and picture the moment in your head one zillion and ten times.
15. This last tip is TBD. I’ll get you an update on this one once he’s back in my arms.