1. Stay Busy
This might be the advice you hear most from other spouses who have been through a deployment. That’s because it’s SO very important. It’s crucial that you don’t allow yourself to become too isolated or have so much free time that you end up at home moping all alone. Fill that calendar up as much as you can. You might be a little more worn out, but time will go faster! See 12 Things TO DO During Deployment
2. Have a Project
Start a new hobby. Train for a marathon. Make a quilt. Paint a room. Redecorate the house. Learn a language. Take a cooking class. Any of these things will help make time go faster. This is part of staying busy. If you can find something to focus on other than the fact that your spouse is gone, you’ll be a lot better off! Having a project – something to keep your mind and body occupied – will help keep you focused on better, easier things.
3. Discuss Expectations Ahead of Time
Talk with your spouse about what you expect ahead of time. Accept the fact that not all your expectations will be in line with reality, so try to manage those ahead of time. Try to find out what to expect as far as communication goes. Ask what he/she wants in care packages and how frequently they would like to receive mail. Talk about whether you’ll be willing to drop everything to receive a phone or video call from your deployed spouse. Discuss the pros and cons of setting your home schedule around their deployment schedule. It might not always make sense for you to cancel or schedule plans around the deployment schedule. It might not make sense to talk every day – even if you can. Talk it all through so you each know each other’s preferences beforehand!
4. Keep Important Information
There’s a lot of sense in creating a deployment notebook, or a deployment agenda. Have contact information for your spouse’s chain of command and know who to call if you need help or information. Make copies of prescriptions, eyeglasses or contacts, driver’s license, etc. Get a general Power of Attorney and keep it in the binder. Then, keep track of what was useful and helpful for when you do the deployment thing again next time.
5. Know your Resources
Go to pre-deployment briefings with your spouse. Most branches invite spouses to attend these or have ones specifically for spouses. Attend all the informational meetings you can because different installation agencies are going to come out and tell you about programs or services available specifically for spouses and families of the deployed. There are also several other independent companies that offer services for families of the deployed. Do some research and find what all is available to you while your spouse is gone.