Thriving vs Surviving During A Deployment
Thriving during a deployment is the ideal. Being in survival mode, especially for months at a time is not. The truth is, for my deployments, survival mode has been the norm. Just being able to get through the day, doing what I needed to do for the kids and my home had to be enough. There wasn’t too much thriving going on, at least it didn’t feel like there was.
I would wake up each morning and make sure my day was full. By the time the kids went to bed, I would feel like I accomplished something important, another day down. Another day to cross off the calendar. I made sure my kids were healthy, fed and the house was relatively clean. I didn’t worry too much about doing more than that. Sure, I wanted to make their days fun but some days we needed to stay home. Not every day during a deployment was going to be as successful as I wanted the day to be. Not every day was going to be so filled with exciting adventures that I would forget about the deployment.
Too much for one day
I remember one day during our third deployment. I was back on post for the second time that day, running around doing something. I was so tired and I knew we would have to be back again at 5:30 for T-ball practice. I lost it in the car. I just couldn’t do it. I just started crying because I felt like what I was dealing with was too much. I needed to come home and just chill. We skipped practice that day. Doing so made for a better night and a much less stressed out mommy.
Some Sundays we didn’t go to church. Some nights we had cereal for dinner. That was the reality for me. I can’t do it all when I am the only one doing it.
There is the idea that as Military spouses we are strong and can get through anything without any tears. In reality, tears come. They might happen behind closed doors, in the car or in the shower but we shed them. We are only human and we can only take so much at a time.
There are things you can do to help you thrive.
You can spend time with friends. Work on a project. Figure out something to keep yourself busy that can also help your soul. You can start writing in a journal, attend a bible study or join a workout group. You can make silly videos with your kids or learn about all the new hiking trails in your city.
If you feel like you are only in survival mode during a deployment, that’s okay. Don’t be hard on yourself. Know that this time will pass and the thriving will come later. The thriving will be when you feel that you are a stronger person because of that deployment. When you look back during the months your husband was away and know that you were able to keep your house together and help your children. The thriving will come when you sit down with a younger military spouse years later and help her get through her own deployment.
So as you start your deployment and make your way to the finish line, remember. You don’t have to have things all together. You can be in survival mode. Because sometimes, that is what you have to do to get through the deployment. Take each day as it comes. Work on yourself and your family. And remember, time will past, deployments will end and your life will change again and you won’t always be doing it alone.
Do you struggle with thriving during a deployment? Do you feel like you are in survival mode more often than not?