The word is that those deploying to the middle east will not be able to bring their laptops or cell phones, at least in some cases. As you can imagine, this has caused quite a lot of drama. The comment section is filled with so many different thoughts on the subject.
Some people talk about how they never went through a deployment with a cell phone and they were just fine.
Others say the same thing with much harsher tones, “Get over it!'”
Some talk about how when they went through a deployment it was before the time of email and even regular communication of any kind.
I am also reminded of my Grandparents who only had letters, no R&R, and no clue when my Grandpa would be home from serving in World War II.
For myself, my own husband has never deployed with a cell phone. Laptop yes, but no cell phone. And for two of our deployments, the only way he could call me was on my home phone, the one attached to my apartment. If I went anywhere, I could come home to a message from him saying I missed his call.
These days, deployments are different. It is a lot easier to communicate and cell phones are very normal.
For some spouses, they have only ever known a life with cell phones.
I remember the first time I ever saw anything close to a cell phone. I was about 16 years old and my friend had borrowed her mom’s car phone. It was HUGE and sat right in the center console of the car.
I got my first cell phone when I was 21 and my first Smart Phone when I was in my 30s. My oldest was only 6 at the time, my youngest a baby. All my kids know is a life with cell phones.
As I read these articles and then the comments, my first reaction wants to be, “Well we did it without cell phones, you can too.”
Then I think about the times others have said that about video chats or email. For some, those things are a luxury they never had, even being able to talk more than once a week is a luxury.
War changes. Deployment changes. Technology changes.
When the school called my mom in the 1980s, they would get an answering machine, not my mom on her cell phone.
Today, if the school calls, 99.9% of the time I will pick up right away on my cell phone.
Life is different and life has changed. We can talk to almost anyone we want instantly. We can text all day long. We don’t have to worry about missing a call. We are always connected.
We could debate about if that is healthy or not all day long but that is how things are in today’s world.
For some of the younger military spouses, and really some of us older ones too, talking to our spouse on a cell phone is the norm. And to face a deployment without one is a HUGE change.
Yes, people did deploy without them, and they got through it. Yes, people did deploy without email and they got through it. Yes, people did deploy without all the modern conveniences that we have gotten used to, and they got through it.
But…I think we can give some grace to a spouse that is worried because their husband or wife is going to be without one for a while.
Deployments can cause worry. Will my loved one be okay? How are they handling the transition? What do they need?
Having a cell phone on a deployment can help ease this worry a little bit. Especially if that is normally how you connect with the people you love. You can check in with each other more easily. You can connect more easily. Going without that is going to be difficult.
But talking down to people about it? Being harsh in your responses? Giving them attitude? Let’s stop doing that…please!
There is always a kind way to say something, even if it isn’t an easy thing to say. You never have to be nasty about it. That doesn’t help and just creates a divide.
The truth is, military spouses need seasoned spouses to help them through this. This could be the first time they are ever experiencing a deployment. There is a lot of fear there and a lot of worries. They don’t know what to expect and they might not even know that some of their feelings about all of this are normal.
So military spouse community, let’s do better when it comes to this. Let’s try to understand how hard this might be for some spouses. Let’s work together to help them through.
The best thing we have is our military spouse community, a group of other spouses who get it, a group that can help one another through.
And to the spouses who are having trouble with the idea of their spouse deploying without a cell phone, know that you can get through this challenge. It adds another layer to this deployment, probably one you aren’t expecting but there is a lot of support out there for you. Know, you are not going to have to go through this alone.
Just for fun, how old were you when you got your first cell phone???
Don’t forget to check out The Newbie’s Guide to Military Life: Surviving a PCS and More by Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life and Mrs Navy Mama. Your guide for learning about military life.