I'm sure all military significant others can attest to the first month of deployment being the hardest. It takes about 25 days to develop or change your habits, and that first month is full of transitioning to your life without your loved one.
It is so difficult to adjust to waking up alone, handling all of the once shared responsibilities, and just not talking to them everyday. As a military family, it is a reality we face and are expected to deal with.
Sometimes outsiders may say "well you signed up for this, you knew what you were getting into"! To a point yes, we all understand what is expected of military members, but nothing can compare us for how deployments will make us feel until we go through it.
While you can never fully prepare for a deployment, I did want to share some tips on how to get through that first month.
First, allow yourself some "grieving, not-so-good" days. It's normal to feel sad, and there's no shame in letting it out. If that means you lay in bed cuddled up in his shirts, looking through photos, or just crying it out- by all means do it. Not bottling it up will give you that "closure" and it is okay to feel sad!
But notice I said allow yourself some days, staying positive and focusing your energy on other things will help you through this first month and entire deployment. Start by setting a bucket list for yourself. If you moved home to family, make a list of people and favorite spots you want to see before the end of this time. If you are staying at your duty station, plan to get together with friends or attend events, and be a tourist in your temporary home.
Setting expectations and goals for this time will not only make it seem like time is going by faster, but it gives you things to look forward to.
Also, during this first month set up a routine for yourself. Start and end your days with the intentions of living every day to the fullest. Whether that's working out, going to your job, watching your favorite Netflix show, or doing schoolwork; try and have as many plans as possible.
Last but not least, remember this is an adjustment period for them too. They are adjusting to being overseas, most often in an unsecure FOB or area and trying to assimilate to that atmosphere. It's tough on them, no matter how many times they deploy, to go through that adjustment time. Be understanding and supportive, and keep this in mind while they are getting situated there.
Be as available as possible to enjoy those sweet, precious phone calls, but also understand it's not always an option with connection.
Go into the deployment knowing it won't always be easy, but changing your mindset and having these things in mind can make it a little easier. From one military spouse to another, the greatest thing you can hold on to during this time is loving and supporting them, and to be fearless.
Are you currently going through a deployment, or have previously?