1. Do not become a news junkie.
You automatically become a bit more vulnerable and emotional and hypersensitive when you have a loved one overseas. Every news story becomes terrifying. Any time there is news of troops being injured or killed, your heart will stop. It’s foolish to surround yourself in that stress. Don’t allow yourself to poor over every news story for the area your spouse is in (or you think he/she is in). If you’ve got time to browse the internet, do some research on an interest, or pick up a good book instead of gluing yourself to the news!
2. Do not stop living life to stay tethered to your computer/wireless connection.
The first few deployments we went through were before Skype and FaceTime could be used over 3G. We couldn’t get a clear connection without an actual desktop at home. I found myself tethered to my house. I didn’t even want to go up to the street just in case my husband wanted to talk with us. This became a negative situation for the kiddos and myself. We put everything on hold just because Dad “might” call. The deployments will go much more quickly if you keep living your life!
3. Do not focus on the negatives.
If you spend the deployment being a “Negative Nancy” it’ll be a self-fulfilling prophecy. There are days you deserve to be down in the dumps, but if you pull yourself out of the emotional “muck” and intentionally focus on the positive things you have going on in life, you’ll be much more satisfied with your time while your spouse is away.
4. Do not expect things to go perfectly smoothly.
You can’t go into a deployment like an ostrich with his head buried in the sand. If your spouse is going to be gone, you have to remember that life continues on. All the things that would break while he/she is gone will still break. All the sicknesses you and your family face will still happen. You never know when the unexpected might happen; you may have a mouse infestation, a vehicle kick the bucket, or a flood in your basement. Best advice – get a Power of Attorney. Make sure you have the ability to make decisions for bank accounts, vehicles, home, medical decisions, etc.! Arm yourself and be over-prepared. You will survive.
5. Do not expect everything to fall apart.
On the flip side, not EVERYTHING is going to come falling down on your head when your spouse deploys. Don’t be so focused on all the things that do go wrong. If you spend the deployment noticing every little thing that goes wrong and wishing your spouse was there to fix it all, you’ll slide into those negative thought patterns. Remember, your spouse doesn’t have the ability to wave a “magic wand” and fix everything.
6. Do not change your routines too much.
After our family had a few deployments under our belts, I realized that we needed to stick to our routines. If I change everything up for my kids, it’s very stressful when my husband leaves and even more so when he comes back. Try to maintain the status quo even though your spouse is gone.