How do you Handle Pre-Deployment Emotions

Gearing up for a deployment can be tough emotionally, but this period often gets skipped over. We talk about the actual deployment, we talk about homecoming. But what about the rough days and weeks leading up to the deployment. If you are beginning to feel isolated and alone, you are not alone! Here are some tips on handling those pre-deployment emotions.

When I was in graduate school working on my counseling degree, I was pretty sure I was going to marry my current boyfriend (And I did a semester before I finished school). And so knowing that I was going to be a military spouse I took the opportunity to do as many as my research projects on different aspects of military family life as my professors would let me do. One project was on the effects of the deployment cycle on military families. One area that was woefully low on research was the pre-deployment part of the cycle. Well now that I am no longer in school and in the midst of military life I wanted to share what I found, and how it has helped me during this period of pre-deployment for me and my husband.

We all know that deployments are emotionally intense for military SOs! But what is talked about less is the emotional strain that comes with the pre-deployment period.

There are several things that make the pre-deployment period emotionally difficult for a couple. The first is that before our spouse even deploys they begin to build up emotional walls that are necessary during deployments, and in all honestly, we do too. The second is when we play games thinking that it will make it easier to say goodbye. We want to spend as much time together as we can, but maybe family wants to come visit before he leaves. Or, the Military is claiming much of their time with TDYs and other trainings that are required before they ship out.

If you have children this time can be even more confusing and difficult to navigate. Younger children may sense the tension in the home, but may not understand the impending separation. When children are older they may have a similar reaction by withdrawing from the soon to be gone parent. They may act out in protest of their parent’s leaning.

Why Pre-Deployment Phase is Hard

The pre-deployment period is difficult because we are preparing to be by ourselves. Our spouse is preparing to leave and be placed in potentially hazardous situations. Because of this, we begin to shut ourselves down emotionally before we even get to the deployment.

We might also begin to pick fights with one another the closer we get to the deployment, believing it will be easier to say goodbye to one another if we are mad at each other. So, we pick fights over silly little nothings, or maybe over important things that come with a separation.

What can I do?

So with all these emotions running high, how can we make the most of our last few days or weeks with our soon to be deploying spouse?

First, don’t ignore your emotions! Sometimes as military spouses we get caught in the trap believing that we aren’t supposed to be upset or sad when they leave because this is their job and we know that. We are supposed to put on our big girl panties and figure it out, no sadness in our hearts. That just is not true. Anybody would be sad that their spouse is leaving for an unknown amount of time.  So, acknowledge your sad feelings, tell your spouse, find a good friend to vent to. If we stop pretending not to be sad, we will be less likely to play games. We won’t pick fights with our spouse just to make it easier to say goodbye.

Understand that them becoming more and more closed off as the departure date approaches is normal, and a survival tool for them down range. When deployed it is hard for soldiers to keep family in the forefront of their minds because emotions can compromise the mission. As “good” military spouses we know that its mission first. But also shutting down emotionally doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process that takes weeks, and so it happens before they even leave home. More than allowing them to put the mission first, shutting down emotionally is a survival mode instinct for them.

As much as we hate leaving, and as much as they say they want to deploy, rarely do they want to leave us behind. The emotional disconnection helps make that process easier for them. And in reality, we do it too. We begin doing more and more around the house ourselves. Asking for less help with the kids. So it just looks a little but different.

When we know it happens we are less likely to take their emotional shut down personally. It creates fewer fights and less tension in the home. After going through many deployments we might begin to pick up this pattern, but what if we didn’t have to struggle so much to figure it out? That is why we share our experiences with other spouses and friends. Trust me I know it is hard when it feels like right before they are leaving they want so little to do with us and we want nothing more than to be even closer to them as the date gets closer and closer.

So if your spouse is gearing up for a deployment like mine is then hopefully my insights might provide just a little bit of clarity into why things aren’t what you expected. Why he is withdrawing more and more, and why there seem to be more tension. By using this information to your advantage maybe you can just savor those last few sweet minutes before D-Day approaches.

 

Gearing up for a deployment can be tough emotionally, but this period often gets skipped over. We talk about the actual deployment, we talk about homecoming. But what about the rough days and weeks leading up to the deployment. If you are beginning to feel isolated and alone, you are not alone! Here are some tips on handling those pre-deployment emotions.

Summer Date Night Ideas

Summer is a great time to get out and explore the area more with the longer days!

It is officially summer time. In the south that means sweltering temperatures and ridiculous humidity! But the days are so long that you still have hours of daylight even after you get off work! Despite the heat there couldn’t be a better time to get out and explore! Plus what goes better with the heat than Ice cream! So to help get your creative juices flowing (because we have had nothing but endless date nights living in a hotel without a kitchen) I am giving you my list of top 10 summer date ideas so you and your honey can break up the monotony of netflix and chill.

  1.  Ice Cream dates! What could be more fun than sharing a banana split, and if you have kids this would be a great time for a family date if you can’t find a sitter. Some of my favorite summertime memories with my family was going out after dinner and getting an extra large banana split and the four of us sharing. Feel like taking a walk too, grab it in a cone or a milkshake to-go and explore the local park!
  2. Summer time can be a great time to explore your local parks, the flowers are blooming and the grass is green for a nice picnic lunch! Just make sure to bring lots of cold beverages to stay cool!
  3. A sand castle building contest- Do ya’ll live near a beach? If so pack up the buckets and shovels and challenge each other to a sand castle building competition! Take pictures and find a judge
  4. Put-Put! few things can be as fun as finding a great put put course and giving it a whirl!
  5. TO beat the heat hit try checking out a local museum. I recently visited the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame with my parents in Cleveland, Ohio. While I am not the biggest rock n roll fan, and I didn’t know a lot about it, and some areas were not very exciting for me, I learned so much about music and music history, which was pretty cool. You never know what you might learn when you venture out!

So there you have it, 5 Summer Date Night Ideas for when you are stuck, and just need a push out the door!

Summer is a great time to get out and explore the area more with the longer days!

How did you decide when to tell kids about Deployment?

There are two lines of thoughts when it comes to telling children about an upcoming deployment: (1) immediately, as soon as you find out so they have a long time to prepare; or (2) wait until just a couple weeks out to reduce concern and worry in the children?

Neither one of these way are the right or wrong. Each family is different and each family is different and we all  have to do what is right for our own family. But this can be difficult, what if our friends disagree and let it be known publicly?

Here are some Pro’s & Con’s of each:

As with many things the age and development of the children plays a huge role when deciding how and when to tell children that their parent is deploying. Toddlers might not understand and so it is difficult to tell them too far in advance, because they just don’t have the developmental ability to comprehend and remember that.

School aged kids and teenagers (especially those who have been through a deployment before) will be able to notice the signs of beginning of the pre-deployment cycle. Things such as frequent training, gear vomit, and tense/anxious parents are all warning signs. Because they will be able to sense that something is happening, they will not appreciate being deceived.

You also have to take into account that units typically deploy together. Chances are someone else knows they are leaving soon and you don’t want someone else to spill the beans. Especially because others might tell their children right away and as we all know children have no filters!

So how have you done it? If your spouse has never deployed how do you think you would handle it? Let me know it the comments, and join the debate!

“Dan Anton: America’s Military Vet Turned Successful Entrepreneur”

Military Service is a respectable job, but sometimes when a veteran leaves the service they can struggle to find meaningful work in the civilian sector. Read Dan's story of how he is working to fix that.

*This is a sponsored post written by Cait over at Cait’s Cozy Corner

Military service is difficult, demanding and dangerous. But returning to civilian life also poses challenges for the men and women who have served in the armed forces. Challenges for some but success for others. I want to share a successful story of one military vet in particular named Dan Anton. Why is Dan important?  His story is of duty and embodying the strength of what military men and women are all about. He’s able to adapt to his surrounding and overcome public and private challenges that come his way.

Image: RankCrew

Dan currently runs RankCrew, a successful and well established business and manages a team of software developers and marketing specialist. His services and products are used by thousands of businesses each and every day and as a byproduct, he has successfully become a multi-millionaire. Of course, his success didn’t happen overnight of course.

Dan is the oldest of three boys and grew up in Neptune, New Jersey. His father installed a work ethic that resembled an obsession which manifested as Dan began loving boxing and became a Junior Olympic Boxing Champion of the New York and New Jersey area. Dan’s father decided to pull his son out of boxing however after several big blows to the head began to take place. Instead of boxing he decided to channel his creative problem solving elsewhere.

Dan, Matt’s younger brother began explaining how he had discovered a large community of individuals online who were searching for video games in large forums and they were going to be paying for his convenience to finding the game buying it and then shipping it directly to them. In other words, Dan had just discovered the basics of arbitrage, buy low, sell high and then find a market. He began to buy video games from local stores and sell them online with a markup. This spun off into finding popular games like World of Warcraft which was on popular demand for people all across the country. Although he wasn’t making a ton of money with these, he was making thousands of dollars and for a part time high-schooler, it was all he needed.

After the Twin Towers fell, Dan wanted to sign up among his fellow American’s to help protect our country. He felt an overwhelming sense of protecting the innocent and bringing justice to those that attacked America. Putting his career on hold as an internet entrepreneur and enlisting to go to basic training, Dan graduated with honors from Montclair State University. He was a natural leader and went on to Officer Candidate School and then becoming a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army.

Image: Dan Anton

With Dan now starting his first deployment in Iraq, he called his father after his convoy was hit by a series of IEDs and his friend Salie was killed in combat. The story was so compelling that Dan and his unit were featured in a book; The Gods Of Diyala by Caleb S. Cage and Gregory M. Tomlin. His story is one that several individuals resonated with.

After his first deployment was finished, Dan began to get interested again in internet marketing. In 2006 he began chatting with his brother Matt about building a social network for gamers which was similar to MySpace at the time. He wanted to take risks and while other networks received funding or had a large team, the two-man operation relied on learning every aspect of internet marketing there was including SEO, Social Media, PPC and Email Marketing. He actually ended up turning into a full time business by accident.

With Dan’s Computer Science background, he began seeing inefficiencies in repetitive human-based tasks and began to develop software to help assist in the process of increasing the ranks in Yahoo, Bing and Google. The military experience has taught him the importance of detail which made it simple and useful when it came to effective software. He felt comfortable in this new career path and knew he would be able to make a difference with everyone around the country.

Thanks to the success and help with his family and friends, RankCrew is now an extremely successful company and it all started almost by accident! We can’t thank the brave woman and men that continue to serve and put on their uniforms everyday, and to those that have transitioned the freedom to their own path of success and excellence.

Military Service is a respectable job, but sometimes when a veteran leaves the service they can struggle to find meaningful work in the civilian sector. Read Dan's story of how he is working to fix that.


If you liked this then be sure to check out more of Cait over at Cait’s Cozy Corner!

Cait writes over at Cait’s Cozy Corner! She shares stories of fashion, food, fitness and her growing family of four! There isn’t a coffee she hasn’t loved, a place traveled overseas she doesn’t share fond memories about and sometimes admits to having a shopping problem. Come over and say hi!