You’ve watched him pack his bags, drove him to the Green Ramp and watched him board the plane. You’ve just started one of the most hardest experiences as a military wife. Now what?
Hundreds of other wives have survived multiple deployments and you will too. Here are a few tips from seasoned military wives to keep you sane for the next year.
Your soldier may have become distant or stressed right before he left. Perfectly normal. It’s his way of gearing up for deployment, let him adjust to his post and give him time. He will find his stride soon. You may find yourself laughing one minute and crying the next. Perfectly normal too. Allow yourself time to adjust as well. Most wives find their groove within a few weeks.
This is especially true for those with children. With your soldier gone, you may find that you have to pick up more responsibility at home. Setting a routine will not only help you manage your days, children will thrive. Quite often, during deployment, small children may not understand why their parent deployed. With a routine, it will help them feel more secure.
Know your soldier’s full address. It will include his brigade, unit, company, post and proper zip code.
You will need to use APO boxes to send care packages to your soldier. You can use regular boxes, yet the standard weight will apply and it will add up quickly. APO boxes are a cheap, flat rate. You can go online to the United States Postal Service and request APO boxes to be sent to your doorstep, for free.
You will also need special forms to fill out for each package. Many wives grab a pile at the post office to keep at home and fill out ahead of time.
Forget insurance. It will cover you package in the United States and Europe. When the package reaches Afghanistan or Iraq, the insurance is no longer honored during transit in those countries. For most wives, it’s not worth the money.
A well used phrase, it applies very well during deployment. If you haven’t heard from your soldier in awhile, don’t fret. If something happened, you would be the first to know. Blackouts, when soldiers cannot call home, happens often. Usually it is due to missions, not bad news. So what to do while anxiously awaiting his phone call?
Now is the time to try stuff you’ve always wanted to try. Take art classes, enroll in a ballet class, pick up musical lessons or start a new hobby. Not only will you learn new skills, it will relieve stress and stop you from sitting by the phone all day wrought with worry.
In an ideal world, your soldier will have a set routine and can call at set times. Quite often, this doesn’t happen. Not only are you on different time zones but his unit may perform missions at different times. You won’t hear the phone ring when he calls. You will log onto Facebook just as he logs off. It happens. Enjoy the voice messages he leaves and read those emails often. Quite often, after a missed connection you will quickly catch him next time.
The FRG, Family Readiness Group, is set up for times like these. Your husband’s unit will have their own FRG and they should have your current contact information. If you cannot find the FRG, ask the ACS office. The FRG will have a wealth of information on your spouse’s deployment, the Rear D works with the FRG to keep everyone informed. It is also a great place to meet other spouses who are going through the exact same thing you are. Most FRG hold monthly meetings.
You are going to have stressful days and lonely days. The dishes can wait, take your kids out to the park or get some ice cream. Unwind with a pedicure or soak in the tub. It’s okay to take care of you once in awhile.