Such a huge part of military life. Some members of the military deploy more than others, but as a military spouse, you most likely will be dealing with them on and off during your spouse’s career.
The pre-deployment period can be pretty rough, and then the deployment starts. And once it does, you may be left feeling like you have such a huge challenge in front of you. You may be feeling like you don’t even know where to start to get through the time apart.
I remember reading in a magazine years ago that the first 30 days of a breakup are the hardest. This followed with an article about what to do each day to move ahead.
A deployment is like a breakup in some ways. Although it is one that doesn’t last forever. You go through a lot of similar feelings of loss and sadness. Of wondering if there was a way your spouse didn’t have to get deployed and then eventually coming to some type of acceptance.
So here we go…
Your guide to the first 30 days of deployment.
Day 1 will be the day they leave, usually, it has been the morning for us so I did have a full day to get through before bedtime. If your spouse deploys at night, you can call the next day Day 1.
Day 1- Breathe. Relax. Get your kids together and tell them that you are all going to get through this. That you are there for them and you will make it through.
Day 2- Come up with a plan. A list of things you will do when your spouse is gone. Work on your hobbies? Redo the kitchen? Come up with at least 10 different projects you can focus on.
Day 3- Make a list of 5 friends you can call. When you want to get together with someone. Or if you really need something. Don’t be afraid to ask for help during the deployment.
Day 4- Buy some pretty stationary to write love letters on. You will be glad you did.
Day 5- Call your mom and cry your eyes out. If you don’t have a good relationship with her, call your Mother-In-Law, your sister, or someone you can cry to. It’s okay to cry about this.
Day 6- Go get some ice cream or a yummy treat. You need it. You have made it almost a week.
Day 7- Find a new book to read. Go to the library and pick out a few. Ask your friends for suggestions.
Day 8– Start your first care package. Make it a themed one. Put all your spouse’s favorite items in there.
Day 9- Start on your project list if you haven’t already. Complete at least one of them. Want to paint something? Pick a day you will do that, buy the paint, and get started.
Day 10- Plan to have people over. Don’t know anyone in town? See if you can attend an event to meet people. (This might not apply if you are reading this in 2020 unfortunately.)
Day 11- Take your kids somewhere you have never been before. Maybe it is a new park. Maybe it is a new mall. Do something you haven’t done in the past. And take pictures.
Day 12– Write in your journal. Get it all out. Don’t have one? Go buy something pretty and start using it. You will be glad you did.
Day 13- Make a nice dinner. No cereal tonight. You are almost two weeks in. You got this.
Day 14- Plan a trip during the deployment. Make plans to visit home. If you can’t afford to travel, try a day trip. Put something on the calendar to look forward to.
Day 15- Try to attend an FRG meeting, even if it is just a virtual one. Find out when the next one is and put it on the calendar. They might get a bad rap sometimes but they also can be a good way to connect.
Day 16- Start another one of your projects. Make plans to get it done.
Day 17- Binge watch a show. It’s okay. If you can’t binge watch, find time to watch a few episodes. Take your mind off the stresses of the last few weeks.
Day 18- Buy some bubble bath and enjoy. Grab your book and soak for a bit. You might have to wait until the kids are in bed but it will be worth it.
Day 19- Send another love letter. Make it silly. Spray some of your perfume. Why not?
Day 20- Talk to your spouse about an after deployment trip. Just throw out some ideas. You will want to go somewhere if only for a day or two.
Day 21- Invite a friend out for coffee even if you don’t feel like it. Talking with others will be good for you. It will be nice to get out and enjoy some girl time.
Day 22- Buy a new piece of clothing. On a tight budget? Hit the thrift stores. Just find something new for you.
Day 23- Join a new group. Heard of a book club you always wanted to try? Send an email and find out more details. Connecting with others will really help the time go by faster.
Day 24- Plan a potluck to celebrate one month down. Invite other spouses going through a deployment. It might seem like a little thing but making it through that first month is a big deal. (And if this is still 2020, see if you can plan a Zoom event with some friends. They don’t even have to live in your city.)
Day 25- Call his mom. She might be worried. She might be lonely. It will be good to hear from you. You are the two people in the world that miss that person more than anyone else.
Day 26- Start exercising every day if you don’t already do this. It is a great stress reliever.
Day 27- Plan another package. Ask your spouse what they need.
Day 28- Start a blog. Blogging during a deployment can be a great way to get things out. Don’t forget about OPSEC. And let me know you started it 🙂
Day 29- Take your camera out for a photo walk. It doesn’t matter what kind of camera. It will do your heart good to get out there and take some new pictures.
Day 30- Celebrate the fact that you are now 30 days in. You are on your way. You got this deployment! You are making it, even if it is just a day at a time.
Going through a deployment right now? I hope this helps a bit!
Just know that you are not alone and a lot of us Military spouses have been through it before.