When service members deploy to different places around the world, their families must soldier on without them. And in most military families, the spouse is left behind and must tolerate the weight of keeping a household running – from paying the bills, to going to school, to caring for children and working full-time.
So I have been through it all – moving, monthly trainings, and yearlong deployments. The life of a military spouse can be quite demanding. Not only do you have to cope with frequent moves and constant uncertainty, you may also have to deal with *frequent* deployments. Quite often these deployments are to dangerous places, and that can be difficult to deal with. Fortunately, over the years there have been programs that help you get through this difficult time. You have your extended family of military spouses that are probably going through the same thing you are. Here are some things that have helped me.
If you are not already working, consider finding a job. This will give you some disposable income and help you get out of the house and meet people. Consider volunteering for your local military community or even volunteering in your civilian neighborhood. It really helps you put things in focus. If you have not completed your education, this is an excellent time to do so. If you’ve already completed an undergraduate degree, consider a graduate degree. Not only will this help you deal with your spouse’s deployment, but it will improve your career marketability and give you a sense of accomplishment during a difficult time. Join the Family Readiness Group. Most military bases and posts have support groups for the spouses of deployed service members.
And my favorite thing to do in the whole world – redecorate your home. Are you sick of living in a white-walled apartment or base housing? Use this time to beautify your surroundings. This will not only give you a project to keep you busy, but it will also help to relieve stress and sadness.
As many military spouses will tell you, the challenges of deployment begin well before a deployment and they can continue even after your spouse’s safe return. But with preparation, patience and an open mind, you can keep yourself and your family solid before, during, and after a deployment.