Surviving deployment is one of those things that never gets easier. You do gain more tools and equip yourself with strategies for coping with deployment separations.
But that big deployment mountain?
It’s always there.
Staring you down.
Military spouses regularly ask, “What’s the secret to surviving deployment?” I think there’s a part of us all that wants to know what others are doing so we can wash, rinse and repeat methods that work. Myself included.
Instead of working harder, work smarter with these tips for surviving deployment shared by military spouses from all over the world.
31+ Tips for Surviving Deployment as a Military Spouse
1. Grab this free deployment binder ASAP. It’s best to have it done before deployment, but anytime is always better than no time. Simple and easy to use, this binder contains all the basics.
2. If you’re in the first week of deployment, use this brutally honest guide to make it through step-by-step.
3. Prepare your child’s school for deployment by scheduling a meeting with the teacher about a month before deployment. Bring your spouse if you can. Sit down and explain, as much as OPSEC allows, what will be happening.
4. There are a large number of toys, tools and resources to help military kids with surviving deployment. Choose one or more and introduce them to your kids in a way that works for you!
5 .”Find a battle buddy; another military wife. You will need to vent at some point and you will need to do so to someone who truly understands this life.” — Linda S.
6. Think about these 10 things you’ll enjoy about deployment. If you go into something thinking that it’s going to be terrible, odds are, that’s exactly what it will be. But, if you go into it looking for the good, hoping for the best, then that’s what you will find. It is what you make it.
7. Before FaceTiming your service member, read these unspoken rules. Many people are shocked to learn some of these tips.
8. Struggling right at the middle of deployment? Throw a halfway party with some of the other spouses. Sometimes the FRG likes to do a 50-day or 100-day party. If not, throw one yourself. Don’t like to cook? Make it a pot-luck. Is the weather nice? Have a picnic party.
9. Tackle a project you’ve been putting off. You can create a list during deployment of things you want to try or accomplish. Enjoy crossing things off the list and knowing that you accomplished something.
10. Feeling sentimental? There is one universal thing all military spouses miss most during deployment. This story brings it out perfectly.
11. “Give yourself grace. While life goes on, you may have to let go of some things. Cereal for dinner, hiring someone to do yard work, having a kid sleep in bed with you, pushing bedtime to 30 minutes sooner, not showering for a few days, going through the Starbucks drive thru for milk because it’s payday and you don’t want to take the preschooler, toddler and baby to the store for just milk (a venti fills 3 sippy cups. Not that I have done this.). Don’t carry guilt over needing to do what may seem crazy or lazy because you need an easier day here and there.” — Elaina
12. You may be looking for a dream home. If so, get connected with a military-friendly agent in the United States to assist you in finding your home-sweet-home.
13. It’s hard to know how to communicate with your in-laws about deployment boundaries and emotions. Use these tips to make it easier!
14. It’s okay to have a good deployment meltdown every now and again. In fact, according to science they are actually a good thing. So go ahead. Let it all out. It’s key for surviving deployment.
15. Thinking about sending some sexy boudoir photos to your service member? There’s a guide on how to do it — the smart way.
16. Getting your finances in order is so important. If you’re still trying to make sense of your budget, use this free military savings transformation eCourse.
17. “Have a great support system- family and friends are great but make sure you also have some amazing military friends to connect with. Also, have something to focus on for YOU (outside of the Military and your children). I took on a new business venture 2 days into my husband’s deployment and it’s been my reason for jumping out of bed in the morning with purpose!” — Jessica Humbert, ItWorks
18. Kids are like sharks. They know your mood before you do, especially during deployment. Grab these five valuable lessons on parenting solo during deployment.
19. Or use these golden nuggets of advice shared by other moms in a support group. They all shared their best tips for parenting alone.
20. Have you ever wondered “Who has it harder – the one deployed or the one left behind?” It’s a reasonable assertion that the one in harm’s way generally holds the trump card. But there is another side to read about here.
21. Deployment is not about getting through “one more day”. It’s about adjusting your sails to the winds, and moving forward on your journey of military life. Use these tips for “living your life” during deployment.
22. Outsiders forget that saying certain things to military spouses are hurtful and insensitive. Use these tips if you’re looking to share a PSA (lovingly, of course).
23. “Stay busy. It really helps the time pass, join a club or make new friends; try something new. Make goals for yourself. Also take time out for yourself especially if you have children even if it’s going to get your nails done or to a movie with a friend. Also, celebrate all the little milestones!” — Melanie H.
24. Remember the list of things you can’t live without during deployment. When life gets busy, it’s easy to forget.
25. “Stay busy” can feel like a cliche term, but if you’re looking for inspiration, this is a great list to get you started.
26. Here’s another list of things military spouses can do during deployment, if you’re looking for more ideas.
27. Sleep during stressful times (hello deployment) can make a huge difference in your ability to stay organized and cope well. Use these tips to sleep better and melt into bed each night.
28. “Each spouse / partners should write a letter to each other describing what they love about the other person. Save the letter for your worst day. It’s like insurance. Use it when you need it. Let it lift your spirits when you are really down and missing him/ her. And know that your letter is there to support him/her in their darkest moment too. ” — Marya J.
29. Think about switching to a temporary auto insurance option like storage or a non-operator status for your deployed family member’s vehicle. Ensure your policy is up to date and you are saving a little bit (when applicable) on your auto insurance bill.
30. Create a roadside emergency kit and keep it in your car at all times. This is a lifesaver if you are in an accident or your car breaks down during deployment.
31. When your partner is gone and an unthinkable scenario happens, keep this list handy for dealing with emergencies during deployment.
32. Getting advice from someone who’s been there can make or break your ability to push through tough deployment challenges. Learn how Elaine overcame 11 deployments over the years both as a spouse and a parent to service members.
33. A little validation goes a long way when surviving deployment. Remember these 10 things military spouses won’t tell you about deployment when you need encouragement.
34. “I do something called Disney Deployment Days. I watch a different Disney movie everyday that he is gone. These movies make me smile. I usually watch them first thing in the morning with coffee and my son.” — Alyssa C.
35. Affirmations for military spouses can decrease stress, increase happiness and boost mood. Bookmark this post of inspirational affirmations for military spouses and grab a set for yourself.