The deployment slacker’s guide
Sometimes, during military deployments, I feel like an awesome and supportive wife. Other times I feel like a deployment slacker. This is our 6th deployment. I was taking care of our 4 kids full time. So I had to streamline my time and only do things that were important or fulfilling to me. Mostly that included feeding and bathing people, cleaning the house, doing a million loads of laundry, and working out.
Oh, and writing this blog.
All the other stuff? Nope, not happening.
Sometimes, I fall into the trap of comparing myself to other wives, and feeling guilty that I don’t do some of the deployment and Homecoming things depicted on Pinterest. But then I remember that not everyone does every one of those things!
It doesn’t make me a bad wife, or a deployment slacker. It just means I know my own abilities and limitations, and I know what my husband actually cares about. So, if you are feeling guilty, like you are not good enough as a wife, or don’t do enough cute things for a girlfriend, let me give you a little dose of reality.
Here are all the things I didn’t do this deployment:
I didn’t do a single Pinterest craft. Not my thing. Ain’t got time for that.
I didn’t decorate my care packages. It was enough just to get the kids through the grocery store and post office with me.
I didn’t write many letters. He had email. And letters took forever to get there.
I didn’t make a Homecoming sign. Again, that’s a craft. Noticing a theme here?
I didn’t rearrange furniture.
I didn’t buy any new furniture.
I didn’t paint any walls or decorate any rooms.
I didn’t have a cute deployment countdown jar filled with Hershey kisses. We just crossed off days on a calendar.
I didn’t decorate the inside of the house to welcome him home. (But I hung our free Build a Sign banner on the outside!)
I didn’t decorate the bed with rose petals or a sign.
I didn’t buy balloons or flowers.
I didn’t make a beer cake or a welcome home basket.
I didn’t lose 20 pounds.
I didn’t obsess over my Homecoming outfit or even go shopping for one.
I didn’t get my hair or nails done.
And you know what? He was ok with ALL of that! I know, because I would check with him. He didn’t know care package decorating was a thing, and it just confused him. “I don’t get it,” he told me, “we just throw the boxes away. Why would you decorate them?”
Why? Good question. Because everyone else is doing it, I guess? Because I feel like I should? Because I think if I don’t I’ll be some kind of inadequate deployment slacker?
But I’m not trying to impress other people. I’m just trying to love my guy. And my guy doesn’t care about arts and crafts. Which is convenient, since that is not my strength. He doesn’t care about food or beer presentation, so long as there are some good treats in the fridge ready for him. He doesn’t need signs and balloons. Just us, his family, waiting for him with smiles and hugs.
He doesn’t like me in makeup or with a manicure. He just likes me for who I am, wrinkles and all.
So when I am feeling like a deployment slacker, like I am not enough, I have to remind myself: I am enough for him. We are enough for each other. And that is all that matters.
Because there will always be things we don’t have the time or energy to do, right? What’s important are all the things we do accomplish during deployment. These things may seem small, but they are a big deal, and often go unrecognized. In fact, focusing on positive goals and good ways to invest our time is an important topic of the Deployment Masterclass (which you can learn more about here).
So here’s all the things I DID do during deployment:
I took care of all the kids, even though that meant always dividing time between a baby and a toddler.
I did manage our household budget and make smart investments with our savings.
I did make new friends and invest in the community around me so I would have more support.
I did learn how to manage stress and take care of myself when I was overwhelmed.
I did explore new resources and learn how military families can save money.
I did get through multiple deployment holidays, birthdays, and other celebrations without my spouse.
I prepared for our next PCS move by cleaning out closets and organizing the garage.
I took college classes (one deployment) and started working from home during the next deployment.
I took a cross-country trip with 4 kids on my own to visit family.
I found motivation to work out, eat healthy, and lose weight during deployment.
I handled a million minor nuisances like broken appliances, sick kids, unexpected emergencies, and ER visits when the Deployment Curse came our way.
And I bet you are doing all those things too! In fact, you have probably accomplished so many minor victories that you should build a brag wall to celebrate all your achievements! So if you are feeling like a deployment slacker, focus on all the things you HAVE accomplished, all the ways you have grown, and all the strength you have gained.
Most likely, you aren’t a deployment slacker at all!
So what have you chosen NOT to do this deployment? And more importantly, what have you accomplished?
You’ll find more deployment support and encouragement in my Deployment Masterclass: