With the phasing out of travel bans, its only a matter of time before TDY’s and Deployments are a reality, if they aren’t already. Learn how to make them less stressful than they already are, with these tips for surviving a deployment from a military spouse.
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I realized in the beginning of our marriage that the statement “married to the Army first” is true. Because of this, I promised myself that I would try not to include my husband in the daily activities of my children, because there was always a chance that he would leave, come home late, go to work early or whatever else the military threw our way.
I was a military brat, however, my father was in the United States Air Force. Life was very different for me with him because he hardly ever went anywhere for extended periods. I have been married for 10 years now and, although I think I have these TDYs and deployments down pat, there is always room for error. Not having your spouse around can be both good and bad. Now, don’t judge me when I say good because absence makes the heart grow fonder. I completely have the opposite attitude of some when my spouse leaves for whatever reason. I dig deeper in my studies and concentrate more on what I need to because I know my husband isn’t around to help at all. And, most importantly, because I am a mother, I want to ensure that my children have all they need.
Tips for Surviving a Deployment from a Military Spouse
Here are some tips for surviving a deployment from a military spouse that you can follow to ensure you have a somewhat easier transition when your spouse deploys or goes on TDY. Many people have very different ways of coping, so keep in mind that these are just some suggestions based off of my own experiences.
Don’t Panic When Your Spouse Leaves
This advice may seem impractical, but it’s an essential tip to remember. Panic leads to confusion, and confusion is the last thing you want or need before their departure. Most spouses get orders months in advance, so you will have plenty of time to let the news sink in and start preparing.
Organization Is Key
Make sure you have jotted down the most important information, such as phone numbers, usernames and passwords, and your FRG leader’s contact information. Store it in a safe place to ensure you don’t lose it. Make sure you keep birth certificates, mortgage paperwork, your marriage license, as well as other important documents, in that same safe place, preferably a fireproof safe.
Talk To Your Children
When my spouse left for an extended period of time, I would tell my children how much more I would need their help. Also, how and when is entirely up to you. We like to tell our children right when we find out so we can all prepare together. Some parents need to figure out ways to deal with their child’s emotions when a parent leaves. Think collectively with your spouse about ways to deal with this before he or she leaves so that it is less stressful.
Make Sure Crucial Documents Are Complete
Make sure you have a Power of Attorney and Will squared away. These may sound scary, but creating these two important documents should be at the top of your to-do list. You’ll also want to make sure that DEERS information and ID cards are up to date. Although you will have a POA, I always like my spouse to be there to cover the what-if situations.
Take Care of Finances
Many couples have a combination of joint and individual accounts. Credit card companies, banks, and other financial institutions will not speak with a spouse if her or his name doesn’t appear on the account. This adds stress to a situation, especially if the spouse needs to confirm a payment or notices an unauthorized credit card charge. Most deploying service members give their spouse power of attorney over their affairs. However, trusting solely on this option can have its downsides.
Be sure to contact your joint credit card companies to take advantage of the SCRA (Servicemembers Civil Relief Act) benefits, such as lower interest rates and monthly payments. You can also utilize the SCRA for to terminate a lease (this is great if you are moving back in with family). You can read more about the SCRA here. Also, call your insurance company and let them know your spouse will be gone if they are getting deployed. During deployment, you may qualify for a reduction in your auto insurance rate.
Cherish The Moments
Lastly, enjoy all the time you can together before the departure. Book a romantic getaway and leave the kids with a babysitter. Or, plan a family trip to an amusement park. Remember, it is only temporary and you will survive!
As a military spouse, I have seen so many different scenarios of what happens to families when their spouse is deployed. Being supportive of each other helps deployments go much smoother. I know when I have a good support team, I am less stressed about my spouse leaving. I know if an emergency situation occurs, I have someone to help. If you don’t have friends or family nearby, consider joining an online support group for military spouses on Facebook.
I know that these suggestions sometimes go out the window especially when you are facing a deployment. Some families don’t even know when, where, what or how, especially if they are facing their first deployment. I can tell you first hand these are some suggestions that have helped my family survive. It gets easier and easier after each time but know that you will survive and you’ll be ready for the next one!
What did you think of these tips for surviving a deployment from a military spouse?