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. 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. That’s why you need a deployment brag wall!
That’s one reason I created the Deployment Masterclass–to help encourage and strengthen those going through deployment. You can read more about it at the end of this post!
Make yourself a deployment 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. Had a baby alone? Boom, another Post-It. Learned how to throw a birthday party alone, replace the windshield wipers, and move furniture heavier than you? Yep, Post-It, Post-It, Post-It. Add it all to your deployment brag wall.
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 adding to that wall or that list until your service member returns. Then think of all the great stories you will have! You can laugh about them together, and I guarantee they will be proud of the strong family they left behind.
Make a Deployment Brag Wall for kids!
You can do celebrate your kids accomplishments too, so they can see all they have learned during deployment. There are many different ways to help them collect and celebrate their favorite deployment memories. Think of it as a game to collect stories for Daddy or share 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.
- Write their big days onto a calendar or planner, then send the pages to the service member in a care package.
- Use a journal to write down one memory or accomplishment each day. For young children, have them draw pictures of their big moments.
- Use post-its on a wall or collage to show your kids all they have achieved throughout the deployment.
- For multiple children, color-code the Post-Its for each kid and make them into one large heart shape. They can feel proud of all they did while he was gone.
What have you done during deployment that you are proud of?
For more deployment encouragement and ideas, check out my Deployment Masterclass! You’ll find all the tools you need to feel more prepared and confident during deployment, plus a community of over 1,000 military spouses and significant others to encourage you along the way!