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Should You Live On Post During A Deployment?

20110129-IMG_9646-2One question a lot of people have is if it is better to live on post during a deployment or not. Most Military families know that a deployment or even a time of separation is in their future. They have to ask themselves what would be best.

I think that question is a hard one to answer. For some, on post living is best. For others, it is a different story.

Here are a few things to think about when it comes to living on or off post during a deployment-

  • When you live on post, you have better access to what the post offers. This really depends on what your own duty station offers and what the city you would be living in offers. For us here at Ft. Campbell, there is a lot to do on post. Since we live off and I didn’t want to drive to post everyday, it was not as easy as it is for those that live there. We don’t do as much just because it is harder to put in the schedule. During a deployment you should be able to received some free or low-cost items for your kids. Here we only have to pay $2/hour for hourly care and each child gets money towards SKIES programs. Being on post can help you take advantage of these benefits a little easier.
  • Where do the majority of your friends live? For our first two deployments we were either on post or in Government leased housing. We were surrounded by Military which meant that a lot of my friends lived right by me and they too were going through deployments. We were all dealing with it together. This made it a lot easier to get together and we could see each other almost daily without too much trouble. We could make last-minute plans and it wasn’t a huge deal. For our 3rd and 4th deployments we lived off post away from others who were going through deployments. I could tell the difference. On the flip side if you have some really amazing neighbors, they might be able to really help you out when your spouse is gone. It just depends on where you live and who you live by.
  • It might be best for your to live off post during a deployment if you like your own space.  If your spouse is deployed, you might not even need to go on post very often. Some people need that break from the daily Military life. If you own your own home you might enjoy working on your house while your spouse is gone. You have a lot more freedom then you do on post. If your servicemember is planning to ETS right after the deployment, you might even decide to take the kids and move to where you plan to live after the Military.

I know for myself that if I was going to have to do it over again, I would most likely want to be on post for a deployment. I think it makes it a little easier for everyone. I would have better access to the activities and people that would help be get through the deployment.

What do you think based on your own experiences?

Can deployments make a marriage stronger?

CoupleWe have all heard about how deployments can cause divorce. How the stress of going through it all can cause people to break up. But do you think that deployments can also make some marriages stronger? I think in our case they have. We have been through three of them. Each one has been hard it its own way. They were something in our past (and likely future) that we had to get through.

Communication has never been good while he has been deployed. Some of that is because of the logistics of where he was and all of that. The other part of it is something we as a couple struggle with. It makes life really frustrating when I can’t talk to my husband for days and days. I usually was fine going 4-5 days but then I would start to get really frustrated and annoyed by it. I just wouldn’t feel like myself. It was like hearing his voice or even receiving a letter from him rebooted me. I was able to continue on along that deployment road a little bit longer after I heard from him.

I think whenever a couple has to go through a challenging time, they either grow stronger or apart. Every time he has been gone, through all of the difficulties of the separation, we have grown stronger. We know that these deployments will make us stronger people. That is the way we have to look at it. If he is going to be in the Army, he is going to be deployed. There is nothing I can do to change that. I don’t have control over that part. I do have control over my actions and how I respond to him when he is gone. I have to remind myself that he loves me very much, loves our boys very much but that he is also in a very stressful situation. When I remind myself of this, the deployment becomes a tiny bit easier.

We will be celebrating 10 years of marriage in August.  I have been thinking a lot about our life and what we have done the last 10 years.  I have been thinking about what has made us a stronger couple.  And the number one thing that comes to mind is the deployments we have been through.

I am not looking forward to the next deployment.  But when it happens I want to make sure that we see it is as another chance for us to grow as a couple.

What have your experiences been? Have you been able to grow stronger through deployments and separations?

 

I Could Never Do It

Most military wives hate it when people say, “I could never do what you do.”   Or “I could never do it” when it comes to a deployment or time away from our husbands.  I think the reason we hate it so much is because there was a time we didn’t think we could do it.  That we never want to say goodbye for a long time and that being a part-time single parent was never a life long dream.

I know I have said it before…

Right before my husband joined the Army…I said I could never handle him being away and me having to parent my son alone.  Then he joined and I had to do it.

I said it when there were rumors that our deployment would be 15 months.  I didn’t think I could get through that.  But I did.

When I thought about giving birth without him, I didn’t think I could do that either but I did.

When I got married I did not see deployments in the future as I walked down the aisle.  Even women who married someone already in the military could not have imaged how hard it would really be.

But at the end of the day we love our husbands.  We know what their job is and we stand by them.  Even if it hurts, which is does.  Even if we sometimes think we can’t do it anymore.  We push through it because we know that the man we see in uniform waiting to hug and kiss us after the deployment is worth it.

So when you see a military wife, try not to tell her that you could never do it.  Because I bet if there was a time in your life when you and your husband had to be apart, you would be able to somehow do it too.

 

 

Can I Really Make it Through This Deployment?

I was looking through some of the keywords that people use to come to this blog and “Can I Really Make it Through This Deployment?” came up a few times.  I wanted to tell these people that it does seem hard, but you can make it through.  The time before they leave can be really difficult.  You wonder what it will be like, if you can do it alone, if you can parent alone, if you can handle him being in a war zone, etc.  It is hard to know exactly what to expect, even if you have gone through one before.

There have been times during all of our deployments that I just wondered how I would make it one more day.  I felt burned out and just done with it all.  But somehow I was able to pick myself back up and get on with it.  Sometimes it was because of lot of prayer, other times it was getting together with a friend and sometimes I would give myself a pep talk.  Even if that was after a lot of tears.

I think we try to be strong and don’t think we can ever cry about it.  We even hear people say we shouldn’t complain.  But some days you just have to break down.  You just have to let it all out before you can move on to the next day.  It is ok to have a bad deployment day, to have ice cream for dinner, to cry to a friend.  It is all apart of getting through it.

So to those of you afraid for your first deployment and think you won’t be able to make it through, if you love your husband, if you are committed to him, then you will.  You will be able to make it through.  You will get through the X amount of months and come out stronger on the other side!

What advice would you give to someone facing their first deployment?

 

 

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