I rarely think of myself as a military wife until my husband deploys. Silly, right?! But our life is so much more than my husband just being a soldier. Right now we are in the thick of my husband’s current deployment and it’s hard. I’ll say that right out in the open because sometimes we need to recognize the struggle before we can move on.
On the other hand, being the wife of a soldier can be really rewarding. We have been together since college so I have gotten used to the random coming and going that happens in the military.
The cycle repeats itself: anxiety creeps in the night before deployment, I cry when he departs, and then I take a deep breath. Now that we have a son, things have changed quite a bit. My “mom” role steps up a notch every time my husband has to leave.
No matter where you might be with a deployment, just know that I see you, I feel you, and you’re kicking butt.
You’re holding down the fort while your husband is away: you’re going to get a lot of sad looks. I hate the sad looks. Most of the time I have my game face on, but then I realize people are feeling for me. I’m lucky to have an awesome support system. So many don’t. If you’re having a tough time and don’t have family and friends around, make sure you reach out to someone.
Here are some great resources that may help…
I’m the last person to talk about my own feelings. But when my husband is gone I make sure to keep an open dialogue about what we’re going through. He knows when I’m upset, sad, or overwhelmed. I make sure he has the space and time to express himself, too. We talk about where his dad is and what he might be doing. I don’t sugarcoat everything, but I try to keep the scary details to myself. The last thing I want to do is darken his childhood memories with too many conversations about current events and the work his dad really does.
This is the family he was born into and he needs to know that his father has an important job while I still shelter him from certain realities. It is a balance I constantly work on, but I stay open about the reality of our family life and our feelings.
One of the biggest things I learned when my husband and I started dating was to make sure I didn’t put my life on hold.
I used to plan my days around a hopeful phone call or email. Sometimes I would bail on friend because I didn’t want to miss the call. This made things worse for both of us. Now when my husband is gone I make a good effort to stay in touch, but we don’t sit around and wait to hear from him. With so many advances in technology, communication is easier now than it was during the first deployment we powered through. Sometimes he’s in a place where he can’t call or get in touch for a long period of time. That’s when an open dialogue with my son is vital.
There is always a hint of guilt when we do something without my husband, but he’s always happy to hear about our adventures and to look at our photographs. So we keep busy and try not to skip a beat. Your spouse wants to know that you are still doing all of the things you love and that you are happy and healthy. Don’t shy away from keeping them in the loop. Again, it’s all about balance and some days are just better than others. Keep your head up, momma!