Deployments are hard–not just for the deployed service member, but for the family left behind. Stuff happens. Things break. Kids get sick. Emotional breakdowns must be overcome. The spouse becomes a single parent, responsible for all the kids, the house, the vehicles, and everyone’s schedules. It’s a lot to handle. Yet most military spouses I know handle it all with grace, courage, dignity, and a ton of strength. Because military spouses are a pretty brave bunch. We know we don’t deserve medals the same way our deployed loved ones do when they are fighting in a combat zone. But… a little acknowledgment and recognition of our sacrifices can go a long way.
Make yourself a brag wall to celebrate deployment accomplishments
No one is going to give you a medal, unfortunately, no matter how many kids you take through the grocery store alone, no matter how many diapers you change,and no matter how many meals you cook for yourself. So you may have to do a little self-recognition. Make yourself a brag list. Or a brag book. Or a brag wall. Whatever is easiest for you. When you face a great trial during deployment, and then overcome it, praise yourself! It doesn’t matter if it was big or small, time-consuming or expensive. Instead of a pat on the back, write it down–on a book or a Post-It. Cleaned up vomit? Boom, that’s a Post-It. Threw a birthday party alone? Boom, another Post-It. Learned how to fix the leaking faucet, replace the windshield wipers, and move furniture heavier than you? Yep, Post-It, Post-It, Post-It. Throughout the deployment, if you ever get discouraged and feel like you don’t matter, or that you aren’t doing anything, just look at your brag wall. Honey, you have learned so much, accomplished so much, and you are so much stronger because of it. You overcame those obstacles, so you can get through anything else this deployment throws at you! Keep on adding to that wall or that list until your husband returns. Then think of all the great stories you will have for him! You can laugh about them together, and I guarantee he will be proud of the strong family he left behind.You made it through so much during this deployment. Celebrate each accomplishment with a brag wall! Click To Tweet
You can do this for your kids, too, as a way of collecting stories for Daddy or sharing things they have done: played in their first soccer game, learned to paint, took their first steps, learned to ride a bike, aced the spelling test, got a part in the school play, etc. Maybe you could color-code the Post-Its for each kid and make them into one large shape, like a heart. So when Dad comes back, he can see all that he missed, and they can feel proud of all they did while he was gone.