I remember how my heart sunk when I heard the word deployment. Four years into a six year contract, my husband and I thought we might make it out without a deployment. And, than utter disbelief set in with those two pink lines. This could not be happening. Instead of breezing through a military career free of deployment, we were going to do it in one of the hardest ways possible. I have never really felt like I could say much about the hardships of being a MILSO (military significant other). In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever even thought of using that term. But, three months into our first deployment and having survived a birth with my husband 7,310 miles away, I like to think I have some knowledge to share. So here is The How-To Guide for a Young Mom Surviving Her First Deployment.
But, first coffee. Being a mom is exhausting. Coffee comes with the territory. But, now you are parenting temporarily solo, it’s beyond necessary. During deployment it is 24/7, with very little opportunity to tag team this raising babies thing . They might as well call separation pay your coffee budget, because you will need to add at least two cups per child per day over your deployment, and that adds up!
My sanity would surely be less if it weren’t for Face Time. Our family has been blessed enough to be able to Face Time twice a day. So, thankfully I start and end my day by seeing my husband. Whatever your schedule looks like, take every opportunity to Face Time! The days are very long, especially if it’s a day where you’re reminded that your man is gone. Seeing him over a screen will take the edge off.
Bonus: you get all giddy and excited seeing him, just like when you were dating!
Accept any and all help.
This is advice any mom with young ones should take, but especially if you’re running the show on your own. Raising children was not meant to be done alone. It’s hard and exhausting. Don’t expect yourself to be super mom for the whole six months. If someone offers to babysit. No questions, say yes! If someone offers food. Duh! Anything that would be helpful to you. Accept it. You deserve to take some pressure off when you can.
Car rides and Target runs!
Get out of the house as often as you can! Put everyone in the car for a nap time drive. Or, go to Target for gum. Do whatever you need to do to keep yourself from feeling cooped up. Time drags when you’ve got nothing to do. It will be so beneficial for you to just get out and break up the time.
Set goals for yourself while your husband is away. It will give you something to work on. And, will help you feel like you have more purpose than just raising the babes. It could be big or small. Whatever you need to work on to feel like you’re a better version of you.
And, grace. So much grace!
Sweet mommy, this is a hard time. Raising littles to begin with is trying. And, then to have your husband thousands of miles away, while all the family responsibilities fall on you, is a lot. Some days you’ll feel accomplished, like you could take on the world. Some days your kids are in front of the TV the whole day and you forgot to brush your teeth. It’s okay. Give yourself grace. The only expectations you feel like you’re not meeting are ones you laid on yourself. At the end of the day, whatever it looked like, breathe and remember that you are everything to your babies, and that sweet husband who is choosing to serve his country is counting down the seconds til he can see you again.
One day soon mommy, your perfect little family will be reunited. You’ll look back, and say dang I did it! You’ll soak in every day with your husband who you missed so much. But, until then savor every coffee, Face Time date, and Target run. Accept all help. And, give yourself enough grace to cover your time apart!
You’re making it !