As an army spouse there are things you can never fully be prepared for.Sure, you think okay I know they’ll deploy and come home then we will live happily ever after. That may be the case, but what about all the in between? Or what happens when your happily ever after isn’t so happy after all.
I have been married to my husband for almost 6 years. We’ve done most of that time apart. I wish I could say it gets easier but the truth is, it doesn’t. Not for me, not for him, and definitely not the kids. But it’s not all about deployments, many times it’s everyday work. It’s the stress of being in the military, it’s the late nights, it’s the sudden change of plans. Here is a list of the top 10 things you’ll never fully be prepared for as a military wife.
1. Time Apart
When I say time apart I don’t just mean the big one (deployment). I mean when he’s in the field for weeks at a time, or when he has overnight duty, or even just the fact he starts his work day at 6 A.M. and never knows when he’ll be home. Just this week my husband has been coming home around 8 P.M. Our kids bedtime is 7:30 so on those days they don’t even get to see him. Then there is field time, which can range from days to weeks. Most of the time he’s in the field he doesn’t have his phone or he doesn’t have service. Then there is deployments. These are typically 9 months long. 9 months without my other half, my partner, my best friend. It tends to get lonely really quick. So basically, my husband and I are apart for most of the year.
2. When the kids ask for dad
This one is by far the worst for me. Lorenzo would ask me, nearly everyday, when his dad would be home. Some days he would just lounge around the house on the verge of tears. During Luis’ deployment I noticed Lorenzo would cling to any male role-model he could. He wanted his dad so badly. I spent quiet a few nights holding Alexander (my youngest) while he cried for his dad. It’s hard around Alexander’s age because he doesn’t get the concept of months. He has to live his life not knowing when his dad will be back home. When he was finally reunited with my husband he sobbed and didn’t let him go. Which leads me to the next topic.
3. Returning from deployments
Everyone says when your spouse returns from deployment it will be a huge adjustment. But why? We love him and we have waited for this day for months. We will go right on with our lives. Sometimes that is the case. Other times, not so much. This last homecoming was especially hard for Lorenzo and my husband (Luis). Luis would quickly get annoyed with the kids, any little noise would set him off. Going out in public would drive him crazy. Lorenzo would want to tell his dad every story from the last 9 months, show him everything he did, play every game they used to all at once. Luis would get so angry and tell him to go to his room. Eventually Lorenzo became scared to even talk to his dad. For two weeks this continued. Of course eventually things settled down and Luis returned to the same dad he was before. For 9 months he only had to take care of himself, suddenly he was home and it was back to being a dad and husband. It was a hard readjustment and I understand that.
Holy acronyms!!! PCS, TDY, ACUs, HHG, OSUT, NTC, OPSEC, BLC, ACAP, the list just goes on and on. I always said in the beginning I would never learn these. I’m not in the army, I’ll never need them. Boy was I WRONG! Here I am almost 6 years later knowing all of these. Be prepared to be hit with a wave of acronyms and be prepared to learn a lot of them!
5. The friendships
The best part of military life. You think you’ll make tons of new army wife friends; it’ll be just like Army Wives. But the truth is you’ll only click with a handful of people at most. The surprising thing is those won’t just be your friends. During the time your spouse is in the military you’ll be away from your family and those new “friends” become family. They always understand everything you’re going through. I have an AMAZING group of friends here and a few of them have become more like family. I can rely on these girls for anything! We’ve been together through deployments, having babies, moving into a new house, and just when we are bored. We normally have weekly play dates or grab lunch together. I wouldn’t have made it without these girls.