Life · Recipes

How I {survive} my husband’s TDY

Here’s the deal- grab your drink of choice {whatever you feel like- mine’s coffee right now} and sit with me for a minute {or a few}.

I have a system to the madness when my husband leaves for TDY {Air Force term for Temporary Duty Station} or deployments. This system may not work for you, or it might, either way- I’m going to tell you about it.

Stage 1: PRE-TDY

QUALITY TIME TOGETHER
Sometimes it’s a simple as spending time in the same room, and yes that sounds funny but it’s the truth. There are days when I grab a book and go in the basement {aka: Jeff’s Man Cave} and sit and read while he plays on his X-Box. Other times we try to do something that we enjoy doing together that we haven’t had a chance to– like going out on a DATE!  One time it was golfing {putt-putt totally counts here}, we went bowling with some friends {double whammy when spending time with friends and your hubs}, maybe it’s visiting a museum you haven’t seen— or just a romantic date night {at home or out}. We enjoy cooking together as well- and with our work schedules it doesn’t always mesh up, so we find the time to make it work, and pick a dish we’ve been wanting to make or one that is a long time favorite {Jeff is famous for his Ribs and his Chicken Parmesan}.

PACKING PREP
ALL THE LAUNDRY! Just all of the laundry! EEK! I feel like for 2 people and 2 dogs we have a ridiculous amount of laundry hanging about in our house- but when this time comes around- I just put the rest aside and focus on what exactly Jeff needs. Essentially- his clothes are a priority, including undies and socks ya’ll! Usually, the suitcase(s) he takes are sitting out for some time and we’ll throw the items in there as they get clean— he organizes later.

STORE RUNS
It will happen- and just know that it will- even if you are the most prepared person, a trip to the store will be required. Little things- shampoo, toothbrush, this one patch that went missing all of the sudden… silly things like that. It also gives me an excuse to mosey down the isles at Target- “oh, I found this on clearance!” Haha, it’s true in my case at least.

Stage 2: TDY IN PROGRESS

TDY PURGE
I clean, I clean all those nooks and crannies that have been sitting for months {or years, no judgments here}. This is also a coping mechanism for me- I clean when I’m emotional or dealing with stress. This keeps me busy and helps me focus my energy somewhere and not on the fact that my husband is driving across country or on a plane. This works for about the first few days- as I work my way through the floors and rooms. I usually rearrange furniture {in just about every room}, not just move it over a few feet. Right now, our house doesn’t allow for that sort of change: we are limited in space, so instead of moving furniture to rearrange it- I’m moving it to clean. Haha.

HOBBIES
Find a hobby and do it!
Our house is full of books, books I haven’t read and plan to read. This is no joke- and I swear my husband thinks I have a serious problem. I pulled a few I’ve been planning to read, and just haven’t found the time… well, now is the time.
I’m a few years behind on my scrapbooks— this is a craft that I will certainly lose myself in. Hours will pass before I realize how much time I’ve spent getting creative with memories and pictures.
Then, there’s the cooking and baking. Jeff and I love to cook together and he’s even a great baker! There are a few recipes though that I want to try that wouldn’t jive well with Jeff’s palate. This is the time to get those done! Here’s a few I tried while he was gone: Gnocchi & Sausage and this delicious Hot Cocoa Recipe

FRIENDS
Keep it social! Get out of the house. Go somewhere you want to go. Visit with girlfriends you’ve been waiting to see… go see a movie, have a coffee date, meet up at the mall, do whatever it is you want to do to get out of the house.

*Remember- this is temporary, while it may not feel that way in the midst of all of it- your loved one will be home soon. This is hard, there’s no denying that, and don’t fool yourself that you aren’t allowed to have bad days, to cry, to feel lonely, and to need the presence of those close to you- you are allowed and it is ok! Know that. Don’t forget that.
You will get through this, and so will your family and your spouse.

Stage 3: POST TDY

REINTEGRATION
Adjusting to one another’s company again is a real thing! There are the roles we have to go back to- there’s two of you in the same place again- that’s a big change, for both of you.
Responsibilities that were shared, became one, and now are shared again {in every aspect: chores, children, etc.} Take time, time for everything to fall back into place and for your family to become used to the “new” atmosphere again. This can take a while- be patient with yourself and your spouse.
Communicate. Communicate. COMMUNICATE. Talk to one another, the days are different now and once again they’ll become familiar, but for now they are unknown. New things have come up, happened, and your spouse may not realize the importance or changes that might bring.
There will be new things to learn and accept… you are strong and so is your family, remember you will get through all of this and come out even stronger!

 

Resources for military families for TDY/Deployment:
Military Spouse: A website specifically for military spouses- full of information to help support before/during/after a PCS, deployment, careers and education.

Military OneSource: Website providing a wealth of information on every aspect of military life with information focusing on deployment, reunion, relationships, grief, spouse employment, education, parenting, and children services. It’s all free!

Military Family Counseling: This website has a list of resources available for military families and their options for counseling. There is also a wonderful explanation of the different types of counseling that is offered, and why it might be appropriate for your family.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder can occur following a life-threatening event like military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or violent personal assaults like rape. Most survivors of trauma return to normal given a little time. However, some people have stress reactions that don’t go away on their own, or may even get worse over time. These individuals may develop PTSD, and this website has so many resources and information available.

Operation We Are Here: An incredible list of resources for anyone looking to support another military service member or military family! This is hugely helpful for friends and family outside of military life and wondering how they can help. The website also has a seriously awesome list of resources.

Daddy Dolls: This organization offers you the opportunity to purchase a doll with a deployed service members photo printed on it. Daddy dolls can provide comfort for children and they can gain strength in the midst of challenging situations.

Kid’s Journals: A children’s initiative created to offer resources to help children better navigate the unique challenges military families face. Easily review, download and print journals related to deployment, military moves, and the death of a loved one for FREE.

Jo,My Gosh!— Military Blog: I love everything about this blog- care package ideas, encouragement, information, ALL OF IT!

Here’s to having someone to lean on, friends who know,  and family that’s near or far {blood or not}, and to every spouse and all the children who handle this military life so well— you’re rocking this!!!
What are your ways of coping? What works for you family? Let me know, I’d love to share them with others!

~SJW

{Resource for websites: Best Military Family Resources Everyone Should Know via The Military Wife and Mom}
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