Debunking Myths About Deployment
Waiting for a deployment to start can be a bit scary. There is a lot of advice, and you might be feeling a little unsure about what a deployment will be like. Will the deployment be too hard for you? Will you struggle every day or be able to find a way to get through? Will you thrive or just simply survive?
There are some ideas about deployment that I just don’t think are true, at least not for me. Here are some myths about deployment and the truth behind them.
Never countdown the days
I love counting down the days when my husband is gone. I love waking up in the morning and crossing a day off the calendar. It’s what gets me through. Not everyone likes countdowns, but they are a part of how I deal with deployments. If you like countdowns too, use them, just remember to never make them public on social media.
Keeping busy will be enough
Although the number one piece of advice during a deployment is to keep busy and doing so will help, keeping busy isn’t everything. Sometimes being too busy can make your flustered. You might need that downtime, just not too much of it. Filling up my calendar with a lot of activities but also leaving room for chill days is how I make things work during a deployment.
Going home will solve your problem
Going back home for a deployment can be a very good idea, especially if you have a supportive family. However, you are still going to have stressful deployment days. You will still really miss your spouse, and there could be other issues that come up if you are home. You could be the only one in your friend circle without a spouse around, you could feel too much pressure to see all the people you used to hang out with, you might not get along with your family as much as you thought you would. Really reflect on the decision to go home during a deployment and know that it could come with its own set of challenges too.
Deployments will get easier the more of them you do
If only we could get a degree in deployments. If only the more of them we go through, the easier they would become. The truth is, you will have hard deployments and more difficult deployments. The details of what is going on in your life during each deployment can be so different. One deployment you could be pregnant, the next you might have a two-year-old. Try to take what you learned from each deployment to help you through the next one.
You can’t have fun without them
There is this idea that you shouldn’t have any fun when your spouse is deployed. This isn’t true. While you will miss them when you are making plans, you need to be able to have fun without them, especially when you have kids. You have to be able to take them places, make memories together and enjoy your life, even when your spouse is deployed.
Shorter deployments will be easier
I once thought that the shorter the deployment, the easier the deployment would be. Not true. One of my hardest deployments was just six months long, one of our shorter deployments. Although I would always take a six-month deployment over a 15-month deployment, shorter doesn’t always mean easier.
Once they get home, all will be perfect
When your spouse is away, it is easy to focus on all the good things about your relationship and ignore any issues you were having or anything that needs to be worked out. Even if things were going well for you when they deployed, know that reintegration can come with struggles. As they come home and you get back to everyday life, you will have to get back to the daily challenges that come with raising a family, being married and having a spouse who just returned from a war zone. Getting excited about the homecoming is a good thing but always be aware that there could be a lot of work to do once the ceremony is over.