First deployment

Brenda - posted on 01/02/2011 ( 15 moms have responded )

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Hi everyone. =) I'm new to this group. My husband has been in the Air Force for 13 years (7 years reserves and 5 active duty). He is set to deploy in the spring and this is our first deployment (long story). I have four kids and am a SAHM. Is there any advice you can give? I also have a huge case of Anxiety disorder, so if any of you have had to deal with this too, I would love to hear any tips.

Thanks in advance!

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Sandy - posted on 01/06/2011

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Depending on where he's going Skype is really useful for keeping in touch also. If he'll have a reliable internet connection, it's really worth the subscription cost also to call phone numbers stateside.

Keep yourself and your children active. If you're leaving the house and doing something everyday, the time goes by faster. If you have a baby, get involved in a mommy group or take baby to the park. Take the youngest children not in school to the toy store and let them play with everything. Don't buy anything though. Start play group dates at your house too.

Do anything to keep from sitting by the phone or monotonous chores. Of course get the chores done, but that isn't your entire life while he's gone. Have your older children help with chores your husband would normally do and some of your simpler ones. Find a babysitter, unless you have a teenager, to go out at night at least twice a month with friends or to a dinner and a movie alone. If you have family nearby, ask for their help during the day or invite them over.

Hang in there, the time will go by quickly. ☺

Kerri - posted on 01/06/2011

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Hi, I'm an AF wife too. My husband has been in the AF for 17 years, and we've been married for 13. We just finished up our 11th deployment, and it was a year long. We have 3 kids, one of which was born 5 months ago, during the middle of the deployment (my husband made it home for the birth.) Anyway, we've done it so much that I feel like we've got a routine now. First of all, we plan a trip for AFTER Daddy leaves, usually within the first month of the deployment. This is usually a beach vacation with Grandma, me & the kids, or a trip to TX to visit family, or 2 nights at the Great Wolf Lodge. Doesn't really matter what it is, just so it's something that you and the kids can look forward to doing & take your mind off of other things. It really helps. Second, don't count the days (I know, easier said than done.) I put up a countdown calendar at the end, for the last 35 days or so. It's important to keep busy, get a project and focus on that. I've done it all, from painting rooms in the house to redecorating, to losing weight. Whatever you want to get accomplished during that time, set a goal for yourself. Some moms go back to school, but I personally don't have time. You'll find that your kids will keep you extremely busy, so you will have to actually make time for yourself, and be sure & do that. Don't hesitate to get sitters weekly or more often, to give yourself that break. Just take it a day at a time, and it will pass. Hang in there, it's going to be fine!

Lara - posted on 01/06/2011

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I am a Air Force wife, been with my hubby 12 years, 8 married. I have been through many long TDY's and quite a few deployments. One thing I highly suggest you do is to take video of daddy and kids before he leaves, so they can watch the videos when they miss him. Record his voice, maybe reading a story, then the kids can have daddy read them bedtime stories. Something that got my son through many times, was I made a flip book of pictures of just of him and daddy. I made it on snapfish.com, it is a 2x3 inch book, so I keep it in my purse and anytime he missed daddy we could look at the pics. there are a lot of good things out there that help too. Daddydolls.com, they have dolls that are just the right size and they use a picture of daddy to make it. check out operation kid comfort, my son loves his quilt, unfortunately he didn't get it until daddy got back from his deployment, but we are about to face another one, so at least we have it now.
http://www.asymca.org/what-we-do-3/natio...
Good luck

Denise - posted on 01/06/2011

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Lara has some wonderful ideas! Check with your Family Readiness Center or go to your pre-deployment briefing with your hubby there...they can get you a ton of the stuff she recommended, for free! You can also get free childcare hours at the CDC, and a free oil change etc. Make sure to put them on your must see before he goes list! The USO can also make videos of the deployed reading a book. They then send the book and the video to the family. It is wonderful!

Denise - posted on 01/06/2011

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Good morning,
Fist of all you are taking a great first step! Linking in! As Cassie Tatum stated in her post, get hooked up with the Spouses groups, family, school.. anyway to be a part of something and get support when needed. Have a list of babysitters on hand as well for those days when you just "need an hour". The kids and I call these, "mommy's time-out".
My husband just delpoyed two months ago for a year. This is our second in three years. He left nine-days before our 3rd child was born. Just proving that if I can do it, OCD and all, so can you.
I would suggest that you get online with "Military One Source". The are an amazing resource for anything you may need. Including counseling, out of the chain-of-command, and free as well.
As far as moving, it is your choice..our first yearlong, I moved home near my folks and it worked for us then. We had been stationed in Belgium at the time and thought it would be easier with me and the kids. This time we chose to stay here due to the kids loving their school so much. That and I didn't want to have to move them again in a year. Just know that it is your decision to make and stick to your guns. Only you know best what is right for your family. You live it everyday.
Getting the kids involved in the deployment is great too. My kids love writing emails with pictures and the occasional phone call.
Please feel free to ping me at anytime...I have an 11 week old, so I am up most nights.
Take care!

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Brenda - posted on 01/09/2011

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Thanks Amanda. Six months plus training doesn't seem so bad when you think some tours are a full year. Good luck to you with everything!! Everyone here on this thread has been a big help. I truly appreciate it! =)

Amanda - posted on 01/09/2011

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I think the others have covered it all....LoL. I am an AF wife too, and we are about to embark on our third deployment in four years (unfortunetly this one is twice as long as the others....the dreaded short tour....an entire year ugh!). The main thing is STAY BUSY! Find hobbies, volunteer, get a part time job, take a trip to see some family, anything that keeps your mind focused. One thing I like to do with our son is make care packages for Daddy. He makes things, like artwork, and we bake cookies or whatever and ship one off at least every other week. It makes him feel like he is taking care of his Daddy. As far as the anxiety goes, you should really talk to your doctor. I have serious OCD and anxiety that it does have to medicated occasionally. Therapy also helps some people as to get to the root of the problem (if its more than just general anxiety over him being gone). If your deployment has following orders to move, you could consider doing that while he's gone. We have decided that my son and I will PCS before my husband returns, so that we can buy a house and get settled in. I figure that ought to occupy me for at least a month....LoL. You are going to have days that truly suck, but don't let it keep you down. You can and will get through it. :)

Brenda - posted on 01/08/2011

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Thanks Carah. It's nice to know I'm not alone. =) Having children that young would be hard. I have two teenagers, a elementary school age child and a toddler. It's amazing some days I keep it all together with all the conflicts that come from all their different angles. You can always message me here on COM if you want a listening ear. =) Good luck to you!

Carah - posted on 01/08/2011

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okay so this year i am dealing with my first deployment also my husband left in june of 09 and it has been the hardest year we have 2 children at the age of 2 and 1 and I have sever anxiety issues myself between the doctors trying to control it with all the medications it still don't help much. I can honestly tell u that it is not the end of the world some days are much harder then others and other days its just natural i would tell u to make sure u have a great support system and don't let it get to u or u will have more issues of anxiety then what u want too. i wish u the best of luck if u need anyone to talk to my email is carah_slover@yahoo.com

Brenda - posted on 01/06/2011

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Ladies, these are all really great ideas!! Thank you so much. I will definitely be referring to this list during his time away. I'm glad it's only 6 months long...I just don't know how you ladies do it for a full year! =)

Cassie - posted on 01/04/2011

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Oh and everyday email is awesome because it's like talking to him. :-) We don't have that on subs so definitely take advantage of it.

Cassie - posted on 01/04/2011

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Aw I hate those last minute going out of town calls. I got one yesterday also. I can understand not wanting to upset the kids and their school. Mine was young enough that she wasn't in school yet so it didn't matter that we went home. The late nights do suck. That was when I would watch my DVR'd shows that he hates since he isn't there and talk to my friends on the phone just so it wasn't so quiet. I had a friend who on duty nights or underways we would stay at each others house because she had a little girl so they would play together. Tackling the garage might be the perfect distraction. :) Our first deployment I bought a house and then had to move everything and get it ready for him and then the second deployment I repainted everything and re arranged stuff. House projects are always a good thing.

Brenda - posted on 01/03/2011

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Thanks Cassie. We just got word this morning that he has to leave tonight for one of the two trainings he needs before he deploys in late April. I hate surprises like that. Its easier for us all to handle with a little more notice, but it is what it is. I'm not even sure how long he will be gone for this training.

We will be staying here and not moving with family (although my mother thinks I should). It will be easier not ot upset the kids school and other activities that way. I will be fine, I'm sure. We should have email access every day, but I will just need to find lots to do (hmm..maybe tackle the garage?). The hard times, I have learned from other trainings he has been gone to are the ones late at night and when the kids are down to sleep. Maybe I will have to move my work out time to evenings so I can wear myself out. ;)

Thanks again for the advice!

Cassie - posted on 01/03/2011

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I'm a Navy sub wife and have been on 2 deployments (9 yrs in). It's not going to be easy but you can get thru it. The first month is a little crazy because your like OMG he's gone and I have to do everything. And things will come up that your not used to dealing with and everyone wants a POA, Just roll with it and know you can get thru it. For me and most people I know establishing a routine is the best thing. It helps keep focus and structure so your not dwelling on the fact that he's not there. If your moving home with family then immerse yourself in that. If your staying at the base then try to get involved with the wives. They should have deployment activities planned. I sent a care package a month and about two letters a month to hubby. It keeps you thinking of new things and helps him enormously. It also keeps the kids involved because they can make things for daddy and then send them. I would think with the AF you should have pretty stable communication which is a plus for you. Email daily even if you don't get a response. Everything will be ok! :-)

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