About Me

Fort Bragg, NC, United States
I'm a stay at home dad raising four beautiful children. I am the proud spouse of an Army Lieutenant Colonel. I do my best to keep up with the kids and all of their activities. I enjoy playing the bass and the occasional bass guitar building project. You can follow me on twitter if you so desire...@ArmySpouse007.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Is life simpler when they are gone?

Over the years I had MANY active duty service members tell me that life is much simpler and more straight forward when they are deployed. They have a job to do, a mission to complete, and nothing distracts them from that. From waking up in the morning to going to bed at night, they have only one responsibility: the mission. I've had more than one tell me that they were ready to deploy again because life back home is so much more complicated and hectic. With so many things that pull on them during the day, from work to home, many soldiers actually long for a return down range.

I remember the first time I heard someone say that to me. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I wanted to tell him, "hey man, this is your family, for heaven's sake! Just because it isn't always easy doesn't mean you can just run away from it under the guise of 'serving the country'!" I remember thinking this guy might be one of the worst parents I'd ever met, also proving the soldier stereotype of the guy who spends more time doing Army stuff than he does doing family stuff.

As time has passed, though, I think I am beginning to understand where they are coming from. I can totally see how things would be much more cut and dry, more black and white for our active duty spouses when they are down range. For a year you can basically have a one track mind and be applauded for it. You are encouraged to focus only on what you are doing during the deployment (indeed, their lives many times depends on this). Then they come home and are pulled in many different directions. It can feel a bit overwhelming to them.

But let's look at it from our point of view. Apply the same question to our situation as milspouses. Is life simpler for us when they are gone? Certainly, it isn't easier. It is much more difficult, in fact. But is life simpler when they are gone? I would say, from my experience, YES, it is. Now, let me preface this by saying a deployment is the very last thing I want right now. I much prefer my wife being home to her being deployed. That said, things were far less complicated around here while she was gone. Think about it: who makes the rules around the house during a deployment? We do. Who sets bedtimes, dinner times, get out and play times? We do. Who is the final authority on all questions and disputes? We are. And who decides where we are going, when we're going there, and what we're going to do? Yep, we do. All questions, comments, and decisions start and finish with us. We handle everything.

During a deployment, we are the final authority on everything that goes on in our lives, and in the lives of our kids. There's almost no discussion of small to medium decisions. Hell, there are days when we don't even get to talk to our deployed spouses (sometimes for long periods of time) to even try to discuss something. So, for a year, we are unquestionably and undeniably... IN CHARGE. We don't wait on anyone else to make a decision, we don't hold off on discussions until after the kids are in bed, we don't "sleep on it". We simply decide. So you see, the chain of command at home during a deployment is very straight forward and easy to understand. It starts and ends with me.

Now, let's fast forward to when they are home. They go to PT in the morning, sometimes they come home for breakfast and to change. Maybe they come home for lunch, maybe they don't. Often they leave work late and are not able to help much around the house or with getting the kids situated. It's funny how I used to think about how much easier things would be when my wife finally got back from being deployed, how I'd finally get some help with all of the things that I was having to do on my own. In reality, I still do most of those things. It's just the way of things. So while I still have to do most of the things I did while she was deployed, I'm not really the sole authority in the house. We decide things together. Yep, things are a bit more complicated now.

So what's the conclusion to all of this? Life isn't any easier when they are deployed, but it is simpler. Does that I mean I have the same mind set as my friend I wrote about earlier in this blog? No. Unlike him, I DON'T want to return to deployment living. It isn't fun and can be very trying. What's more, simpler doesn't always mean BETTER. Truthfully, I'll take a more complicated life in exchange for the opportunity to wake up every morning (5:45 am PT alarm!) and see my wife next to me. No, simpler doesn't mean better. It just means simpler.

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You can follow me on Twitter if you so choose... @Armyspouse007

4 comments:

  1. I love the article. It was great. Our house was like a machine and my husband was the oil. He just fit like a puzzle.. I do understand how you feel... Hooah

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  2. I totally agree. I tend to not complicate things when he's gone; I just react. No sugar coating. Just doing, and moving on to the next task. And when they get home, though I LOVE having him as my immediate support system, things get way busier and the workload increases.
    Janet

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  3. Well I am not a spouse nor part of the military. But I can fully understand and appreciate everyone fighting for Democracy and Free markets in the world. Along with protecting the US from domestic wars.

    I have written a blog post and am sort of trying to get it out there. Here it is.

    The Communist Chinese are following exactly in the Soviets foot steps. From everything from creating a Bloc which is now called the Bric, to trying to implement a single world currency, to literally going on a resource domination campaign.

    n Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus
    http://rideriantieconomicwarfaretrisii.blogspot.com/

    Rider I
    Along with that if you are interested in reading for some real stuff. There is a book with regards to the Unconventional Warfare that the Communist think they should implement on the US. Along with that there are some books on how the Communist Chinese are funding our enemies, yet no one has lobbyed hard enough to get our trade to countries like India, or the EU who are completely our allies. So I am trying.

    Rider I

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  4. My friend and neighbor, Angie, shared your blog with me. I find myself in a similar boat... my DH just left for his deployment. I like the name tag, "Hello I'm In Charge"... I'm going to use that one!!! :-)

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