What You Should Know About The Reintegration Period After Deployment

Homecoming is amazing! That day is one of the best. You get to pick up your spouse. The deployment is over. There are hugs and kisses and tears of happiness. You wait and wait and you can finally bring them home. You are on a high from the excitement. But what happens the next morning? What happens the next week? When things start to get hard or complicated? What You Should Know About The Reintegration Period After Deployment

One of the hardest parts of a deployment can be after they return. You, the spouse have spent all this time without them. You have a routine and now they are home. Sometimes they come home from war very broken and sometimes there is a lot to deal with.

From wanting to spend all of your time together to working hard on getting him back into your schedule, here are what some of my military spouse friends have to say about what was the hardest thing to deal with in the reintegration period after deployment:

Letting him out of my sight to do anything other than hang out and talk! I was SO clingy!- Joanna, Jo, My Gosh

For me the hardest part of that weird post-deployment time frame was that even though he is home, he’s still very much connected to the boat. He didn’t always get to come home right away. He still stood duty, still had to be at work every day even on weekends. I wanted him to BE HOME after a deployment, and it just never works out that way.- Jody, Homeport:Washington 

The hardest part for me was when I had a job too. They get a week of downtime when they first come home. It was hard getting up and still going to work knowing that I could be spending the entire day with him.- Pamela, The Coastie Couple

The Reintegration Period After Deployment

I think the hardest thing for me was just watching him reintegrate with the kids and our family. He was unfamiliar with schedules and what the kids were doing and thinking no matter how well connected I kept him. It was hard because I didn’t want to correct him. I wanted to just let him just merge back into life, and not take over. But in some respects I couldn’t. It was tricky.-Rheanna, Cammo Style Love

The hardest part for us was that underways still happen immediately after deployment. During our first deployment, they were only home for a month before they had to go back out there for training. It was just a reality we had to adapt to very quickly.- Malia, Wandering Malia

I think the hardest thing is when he tries to take over some of the tasks. I see it now in treatment for cancer. Like if there is something I can’t do, or did before, he doesn’t do it right lol, or he doesn’t do it on my schedule. Like when I was really weak during treatment, he would spend hours cleaning the kitchen, and then never vacuum.- Jodi

The hardest thing for me was immediately wanting tons of together time and realizing he wasn’t going to be able to just jump back into my normal. He needed some time to adjust, sleep, get back on a normal schedule and I was all bouncy puppy dog just wanting to love him. And when it wasn’t reciprocated in the way I was expecting, I didn’t know enough not to take it personally.- Rachel, Countdowns and Cupcakes

A hard thing for me was having to cook again. I hate cooking and I missed being able to have cereal for dinner.- Amber, Airing My Laundry

The Reintegration Period After Deployment

Two hardest things for me: #1- I got pregnant with our 2nd child right before he left and the baby was born only a few weeks after he came back. Adding 2 “new” people into our home in such a short period of time was a little overwhelming (especially when it came to doing laundry)! #2- Adjusting to not seeing my friends as much. I had become very connected to other wives in the unit and once our husbands came back those relationships were unfortunately never the same. They had become my support system and it was surprisingly difficult to shift that back to my husband.-Sarah,  Servant Mama

Each reintegration has been a bit different, but consistently I struggle a little with balancing a desire to do everything to keep him happy in those first few weeks/months and my need to stay sane. When he first comes home, he wants to eat out constantly, road trip, give our son all sorts of treats/stay up late/etc. Part of me wants to jump right in with him and just enjoy each other. But the reality is that our son needs some consistency and structure, my husband and I both do best with a little breathing room, work still has to happen and all those mundane daily tasks that keep a household running need to happen. I have to insist without getting resentful and he needs to be flexible while reminding me it’s okay to relax. We did better with our most recent one and that was in large part because we communicated more effectively before he came home about plans and schedules so we had a better handle on what to expect.- Kristen, If The Saddle Fits

He had terrible depth perception after six months at sea on a submarine. I couldn’t let him drive the first few days until he got reacquainted with that strange bright orb in the sky.- Patricia,

I’m the soldier and mother. The hardest was having to start doing all the routine and endless tasks of taking care of a home and children. Some things I used to love seemed tedious. But my family was so patient and understanding! I have so much respect for the spouses and family that support their soldiers!- Tamara, Enlisted Mom

I have a really hard time figuring out the balance between giving him enough alone time and completely smothering him with my presence. We are both so used to doing things alone, from watching TV to deciding on what to eat for dinner…so when he returns I want to involve him in all those decisions, I want to cook together, I want to be together. I am a clingy, obnoxious pest. He struggles with figuring out how to make me happy with balancing all this new togetherness. We’ve both learned after a series of (almost) back to back deployments not to take anything the other does during those first weeks back personally, but I still just want more of “us time”. Being that I also work full time, I don’t get to have a week of leave as soon as he gets back so I tend to really monopolize the time that we do have off together, forgetting that he also needs to sleep, unwind and readjust. – Molly, Love the Everyday

The Reintegration Period After Deployment

The hardest thing for both of us was establishing a new normal. Realizing that we had changed and grown over our 10 months apart. I had started a professional job and now had requirements that didn’t allow me to have time off when he did. I also had to learn what thing I wanted to give and what things I want to continue. It was alot more challenging than I expected. I wrote an entire post on the experience here.- Elizabeth, The Reluctant Landlord

The hardest part for me was not taking out the trash. It sounds so mundane, but you get so used to doing EVERYTHING that something as simple as letting them take the trash out, was hard for me to relinquish. It’s so important for them to feel needed again and something as simple as the trash is just one more way to get back to normal.- Kayla, The Navy Mom

The hardest part was teaching him to adjust to the children…-Trista, A Purpose Driven Wife

The hardest thing for me is realizing he can be a big help, but he isn’t going to do it my way. For months, I go on with life doing things the way I want them to be done, but then all of a sudden, he comes back and he will go back to how it used to be done. We have always approached things differently, but it is really magnetized when he comes home. And he likes to rearrange the furniture.- Kim, 1200 Miles Away

Just knowing how much he missed during our son’s first year. He left when he was 10 days old and returned when he was 14 months old.-Karen, And Then We Laughed

We didn’t have any big issues. It was more me having to adjust to him upsetting our schedule and routine. I had to take someone else’s opinion to mind instead of just doing what I wanted to do.-Kara, Ramblings of a Marine Wife

Here are some other posts you might find helpful 🙂

The Rest of Our Lives: Musings on Reintegration After Deployment

The End of a Deployment

Tips for Spouses of Returning Service Members

What about you? Can you relate to what these Military spouses have talked about? What was the hardest part of those first few weeks during reintegration after a deployment?

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