How to Prepare for Deployment as a Military Spouse…in 33 Steps

It never fails. Military life always throws some monkey wrenches into your life plans. Okay…a lot of monkey wrenches. If you want to prepare for deployment as a military spouse, you’ll need a deployment binder. 

But more importantly, you’ll want to practice and train just like you would a marathon or a hot dog eating contest. This is serious business. If you want to succeed here’s the training plan I recommend for military spouses preparing for deployment:

How to prepare for deployment as a military spouse

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How to prepare for deployment…

1. Have your spouse go on an Amazon shopping spree for “gear” they absolutely need to take with them. Don’t ask questions. Just go with it.

2. Take an entire garage of work equipment and spread it across your entire house. Leave it there for 3 weeks. Call this “packing.”

3. Meanwhile, run errands around town as quickly as possible every day for the next 3 weeks. Make sure your stress level is extremely elevated. If you don’t feel stressed enough, show up to the base legal office between 1200-1300. They’ll be at lunch and you can repeat the errand for extra stress.

4. Feverishly write down all your shared account passwords on a tiny piece of paper that you’ll accidentally ugly cry all over mid-deployment rendering the sheet useless. Yes, even Sharpie can’t withstand tears of sadness.

5. After 3 weeks pass, have your spouse cram all the gear from the floor into bags 24 hours before departure. Leave anything that can’t fit scattered across the floor (More on that in a minute).

6. Keep all your emotions in check, chanting an inner mantra: You can do this. You can do this. You can do this. Just like Rocky…sort of.

7. The night before departure, sob uncontrollably like a 2 year-old who was just told she couldn’t have a cookie. You are welcome to get on your knees and beg or throw yourself around a bit. It won’t do anything, but eh, I suppose it’s worth trying.

8. Now tell him to leave for at least 7 months, preferably 13 months if you want to go big or go home.

9. Have your spouse call you before he’s out of cell range to let you know he needs all that gear laying on the floor. Please send via care package (See step 5).

10. Check your email exactly 67 times per day during the first 3 days of deployment to nothing. Fully allow neurosis to set in by checking your email at least every hour during the middle of the night too.

11. Keep your phone in your bra. So you don’t miss a call. It’s awkward but you’re okay with that.

12. Rage clean.

13. Consider remodeling every room of the house. Then mercifully concede that was a futile idea.

14. Drink wine. But honestly…anything with alcohol will do.

15. Then start to feel slightly normal again. Thinking…I can do this.

16. Obtain large amounts of tuna fish, canned chicken, beef jerky, peanut butter. Send in care packages.

17. Write sexy letters. Send those in care packages too.

18. Take sexy pictures. Laugh at how unsexy they look. Mmmk…maybe send ‘em another time.

19. Have your spouse call you, but make sure his face is frozen on FaceTime or there is at least a 3 second delay on the phone. 5 seconds is better. Yes, go with 5 seconds.

20. Half way through the deployment your spouse should call to tell you it’s been extended by an undetermined amount of time. He’ll miss your anniversary again, but hey, it is what it is.

21. Imagine head-butting someone every time someone says, “He’ll be home soon!” Or, “You knew what you were getting into.” But don’t actually do it. Violence isn’t the answer.

22. Beg him to shave off the ridiculous mustache he’s grown. Honestly!

23. Have the washing machine and dishwasher break in the same day. On your way to the laundry mat, your car will start on fire. This is normal. It’s Murphy’s Law. Memorize that.

24. Relish over the fact that you get the remote. Hey, there’s one good thing.

25. When your spouse calls 3 days in a row, act really surprised and excited. This is a BIG deal! Then get worried that something is wrong and ask, Is everything okay?!

26. Throw out all those empty pizza boxes as homecoming approaches. Then eat salad for 3 weeks. ONLY salad. Nobody said this was gonna be easy! Okay…water is fine.

27. Get a prospective homecoming window, but make sure that date is changed at least 3 times. Better make it 5 times. Let’s be realistic.

28. Have your spouse call a few days before the prospective homecoming date to let you know it’ll be another month. So much for that wax and spray tan you just got. Resign to shaving and looking pasty white in the future.

29. Search for months to find the perfect homecoming outfit, then realize later you could’ve impressed him by wearing only a garbage bag.

30. Concede to redecorating one room right before he comes home. New throw pillows from Target totally counts, but he won’t notice anyway. So noooo worries there!

31. When your spouse finally comes home, attempt to leap into his arms just like in Dirty Dancing…except less graceful and clumsier.

32. Then plant a BIG kiss on his lips like you just met a blind date. It’s painfully awkward yet scintillating and satisfying all in one fail swoop.

33. Allow the last 7-13 months to flash before your eyes while you think, It’s been hell on earth but I freakin’ love you and I’d do it all over again. Now come home so we can take an entire garage of work equipment and spread it across our entire house. We’ll leave it there for 3 weeks. And call this unpacking.

How to prepare for deployment as a military spouse

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  1. This is an awesome light-hearted list with so much truth embedded. We’re rolling up on Deployment #6 here. (Each 12 months) To be fair, it’s only #3 for this spouse. #1 was single, #2 with one kiddo. This one is wtih two kiddos. Thanks for writing. I just discovered you a few weeks ago will be enjoying your blog.

  2. After just getting the news of my husband’s first deployment, I turned to the internet for to-do lists and came across your list. Thanks for putting a smile on my face during this difficult adjustment time.

  3. My wife shared this with me. I read through it and laughed immediately. And then I kept on laughing. I hope this blog helps my wife laugh when I go on my next deployment. Nervous laughing…

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