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.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Settling In

So here we are, nearly 2 months into another deployment. The first question that every one asks me is nearly universal: "so how are you holding up?" followed in a close second by "how are things?" I think every person who asks understands the unavoidable truth: deployments suck. There's no way around that. Sure, I understand the whole "serving our country" thing. But, honestly, I don't feel very patriotic when I look at the other side of the bed every night and see that it is empty. And I certainly don't feel like running out to wave flags when my 4 year old asks when mommy is coming home.

HOWEVER... that doesn't mean that our current circumstances suck. In truth, life has been pretty good lately. Our neighborhood (we live on post) has seen this massive turn over and is now flooded with kids. Nearly every night I sit out in my driveway with lots of other neighbors while our kids play together. And what's more, my kids have adapted to their mother being gone even faster this time around then when she left us for Afghanistan 2 years ago. So, truth be told, while deployments do indeed suck, our day-in-day-out life simply doesn't. Life is good. Sure, it would be better if she was here. But she's not and we are making the best of it.
I've written in the past about how different this deployment is over the last one. Perhaps it is the fact that we are in the Summer and things are at a slower pace. Perhaps it is all of the new neighbors who have so amazing and supportive. Whatever the case is, we are settled in for the long haul. There have been a few things, though, that I've put into effect that I think have made things go a bit more smoothly. I'd like to share them.

First, as I've blogged about before, there is no greater friend to the deployment spouse than a routine. For us, in this second deployment, I've done my level best to stick by our daily routines with little deviation. Now, you might be thinking that sticking to a daily routine in the Summer can be a waste of time. Not at all. Let me give you a picture of our typical day. First, we get up somewhere between 7 and 8 am. The kids and I eat breakfast and then we watch some cartoons. If we have any errands to run, we leave by 9 to knock them out. By 11 we get ready for lunch, which we eat at one of the elementary schools here on post (they serve free lunch mon-fri for school age kids in the Summer!). We wear our bathing suits to lunch because we leave the school and head over to one of the many pools here at Bragg to play for 2 hours. Then we come home and cool off for an hour before it's off again to TaeKwonDo. Next up is dinner, then we play outside until dark with the other kids. And this is repeated every day (weekends are a bit different, but you get my drift).

The point is, I learned many months into our first deployment that a routine was the most important survival tool for a family in a deployment cycle. This time around, I started the routines off on day one. It has made a huge difference. Both the kids and I know exactly what each day holds and there are few surprises. Predictability is huge during a deployment. It takes so much of the stress of the "new day" out of our lives. Sure, newness can be a good thing. It can also be a stressful thing. Having an ironclad routine that you live by brings predictability and stability to each of our lives.

Like so many of you, we are gearing up for the start of another school year. And while that is going to bring some temporary craziness to our lives, ultimately it will lead to even greater and more reinforced routines. While I have to admit that I have truly enjoyed hanging out with my kids this Summer and doing fun stuff with them, I'm also looking forward to the daily structure that the school year brings. It'll be nice to have a governmental organization actively helping me to add even more predictability to my family's daily routines. This is especially nice due to the fact that we don't have any sort of an end date to this deployment. Originally, it was supposed to be 6 months; now, it looks more like 8-9 months, possibly up to a year. But you know what? That's ok. We'll be fine. My kids and I have learned how to be resilient and how to move forward. Because, in the end, this is what it means to be a military spouse.

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

1 comment:

  1. Tim,
    I love your blog.
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    I'd like to give you some details about a concept we're working on.
    I think it could be a good fit for you.
    Please shoot me an email - davemalkoff@gmail.com - and I'll fill you in.