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, August 11, 2011

Passing the time

As a military spouse in a deployment, one of the worst things you and I can do is calendar watching. By that I mean the constant counting of days remaining until our soldier comes home. It can make what is already a long separation seem that much longer. Not only that, it is also a constant reminder that your spouse is gone and isn't coming home any time soon. When my wife deployed to Afghanistan in the summer of 2009, one of her soldiers made an Excel spreadsheet that constantly updated the seconds, minutes, hours and days left until the deployment ended. For a while I checked it every day to see the progress. All it actually did for me was add to that sense of sadness and depression at my wife being gone for a year. After a while, I quit looking at it. It just wasn't doing me any good.

There comes a point when you simply have to pick yourself up and move on. You and I have to get on with our lives while our soldier spouses are gone. We can sit and pine away over what we've lost for the next year or so, or we can get up and live. I can't imagine any soldier who is deployed wanting their wife/husband back home to be sitting around moping all of the time because they are gone. In fact, I know for a fact that my wife has a better frame of mind down range knowing that things back home are well. She has peace of mind knowing that we are fine back here.

I wrote extensively about making the most of a deployment back at the beginning of 2010 in my series "deployment doesn't equal defeat". It is so important that you and I make the most of a deployment, to use it as an opportunity to better ourselves. Ask yourself: what is it you've always wanted to do or learn? For me, the realization of how much of a slug of a husband I was pushed me to decide that I would change who I was in terms of being a good husband. I decided then and there to stop adding to my wife's stress and pressure by not taking care of things at home. I committed to doing all of the cooking from that day forward, and to handling all of the laundry. I wanted my wife to come home from work and NOT have to do extra work around the house.
I can't emphasize enough how important it is for you and I to live and grow during a deployment. Sure, we will change in ways that our spouses won't understand. But, then again, so will they. That's what reintegration is for. During the deployment, though, you can make changes in yourself that you know will be pleasing to your soldier. You can make changes in yourself that are satisfying to you! Take a class, learn to play a musical instrument, start a running program and get in shape. There is so much space and, for better or for worse, time to do the things and make the changes that you want.

Instead of looking at a deployment as a long and sad separation, look at it like I do--as an opportunity to make the changes in yourself that you've decided need to happen. I can promise you that it is much harder to do when your spouse is home. So use this time wisely and become a better you. You'll feel better about yourself and you'll also be a better spouse for the one you love so much!

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

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