March 31, 2016
By Danielle S., Mother of Two Our Military Kids Grant Recipients
As military spouses, and specifically Guard and Reserve spouses, most of us have had “the moment” that we knew things were about to change. You know “the moment”, spouses; it is the moment your husband or wife says any of the words, ‘got the call’, ‘deployment’, ‘activation’, or even ‘involuntary orders’. Our heart sinks for a moment because we know it means a good-bye is on the horizon. If you are anything like me, the heart in the stomach moment is short lived as my brain starts spinning with all of the things I need to remember to take care of before he leaves. We need to update the will, the power of attorney, get the cars serviced, tell the kids’ schools, and the list goes on and on. These are all very important tasks designed to make the transition as smooth as possible as you move from normal into the new normal that is deployment. We all know the contents of the pre-deployment checklist; but that isn’t what I am talking about. I am talking about the things that should be on the checklist. We check off tasks on the pre-deployment checklist that will help us survive deployment; but there is a whole other list of things we should check off so we can thrive during the deployment. For most of us, this list was put together by our experiences with past deployments, articles, or even advice from other seasoned military spouses. No matter where we get it – this list is just as important, and sometimes more of a lifeline to us than any other. The reason this sort of list isn’t circulated in a generic way at pre-deployment briefings is because it is more personalized, fluid, and individual. In fact, my list has been a bit different for each deployment we have experienced with my Marine. Ready to start your list? Put your big girl or big boy pants on, get a great notebook or journal, and start writing! Did you write those 3 items on your list? You should – they are my top 3.
As I said before, this is a very personalized, fluid, constantly changing list. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. The standard suggestions that you read in every article are there for a reason. They work. So add these to your list: take care of yourself, spend time on a hobby, start a project, see a therapist, exercise, travel, go out with friends, attend activities at your spouse’s unit, STAY BUSY. I know what you are thinking – I am on a blog about helping our military kids, why is she talking only about the spouses? My reason is simple, if we are taking good care of ourselves, we will be better equipped to take care of our military children. So take care of yourself, military spouses – your military kids need you and are following your example!