Friday, September 25, 2009

Coping strategies

When your husband is deployed, there really aren't too many positive things going on. But, to keep myself sane, and to help my attitude, I HAVE to look at the positive. And here are a few of the things I've found to be positive:

~Extra pay! We get separation and combat pay while he's being gone, and the year that he is gone, we don't pay taxes.

~My water bill is going to be lower!! The man would sometimes take two showers a day. He would take one in the morning, and then if he exercised after he came home, he would pop in for another quick one.

~My electric and gas bills will be lower too.

~Less laundry!! I used to do laundry twice a week, and now I have taken it down to one.

~Less Gas! Since he isn't driving to post every day, and I have fewer places to go, we won't be hitting the local Shell station near as often.

~Less Groceries! Meals that would last us maybe one and a half times, or two times, now last MUCH longer. I need to start cooking less food.

~I don't have to share the TV. No more UFC fights, or movies that I can't watch because they affect me too much. (in his defense, when I would watch with him, he would rub my feet while I cross stitched, so even though people were beating each others brains out on TV, I was getting a foot massage.)

~My toilet will stay clean much longer.

~There are many couples that don't spend much time apart. Some cannot imagine what it would be like to be apart for a month, let alone a year. It's not that it's easy, but sometimes it's good to get away from each other to remember what it is you love about each other, realize how much they do, and to have time to make changes that need to be made and to really work on yourself. Being apart works for us. We've never been apart for this long, and I think we do much better with just a month apart. But this is what we signed up for, and we'll get through this.

You know, if you put husband deployed on the con side and had all these on the pro side, it still does not outweigh him being deployed. But you do what you have to, to get through it. And today, this is what I'm doing.

Anyone have any coping strategies that work for them? I could use a few ideas.:)


Valerie said...

What a great attitude!! I've never been apart from Graton more than 3 weeks, so I can't imagine how you do it. And usually the time I was apart, I was with family. But I agree with the benefits of the separation, on renewing appreciation, and fixing problems. I was gone 3 times for 3 weeks at a tune last year and it was very helpful in that way! Graton was also gone alot on short trips for interviews, or just at school round the clock. I found that I really needed "Me" time during that year. What kept my sanity was: Taking classes at the YMCA several days a week. They had babysitting, where you could leave your kids for 2 hours. I could work out and shower. I'd definitely recommend a gym, or at least a standing babysitter once a week so you can have time for you. Also, I loved putting the kids down at night, doing dishes and a quick pick up, then watching movies I'd checked out from the library, while cutting veggies for tomorrow's meal, or coloring my FHE projects. I actually really miss that time to myself now. Seems my evenings aren't near as relaxing. Other advantages I'd cite are: not having to coordinate with another adult. Letting activities, meals, etc.. just flow on whatever schedule works that day, as opposed with trying to get everything together so dinner's on the table and the house is straight when Dad comes home. I find now that I"m so tired by the end of the day, I just want to be alone, and then my husband comes home, he's excited to hang out with me, and I feel bad that I don't want to. Not that we don't have fun together, just that I need quiet time for a while. And if he's stressed with work, then I have a hard time not stressing myself. Anyways, obviously it's better to have a husband at home, but I won't be surprised if there are some things you miss when he gets back, even though right now you're just trying to make it through the day. I'm surprised that I do! Oh, another thought. Let go all pressure on yourself for this year. Anything that stresses you out, keeping a clean house, certain projects,etc.. just label,"ATD" (after the deployment). That is what I'm doing to get through these next 6 months where Graton is finishing up his dissertation. I'll start to panic, then I'll think "ATD" (after the dissertaion). I used this technique when I was pregnant with my second, I just made a list of everything that I'd do after August (when the baby was 3 months old). Some things fell into place then, others are still on my list, but it kept my sanity! Good luck!! I really admire you!!

Valerie said...

Wow, sorry that was so long!

Lee said...

My Great Grandfather was sent on a mission to England for 2 years, leaving behind his wife and small daughters. That would be tough. One of my prized possessions is a letter he wrote my Great Grandmother from England more than 100 years ago. That being said, here are a few of my ideas:

1. Visit widows.

2. Write a book.

3. Train for and run a 10K.

4. Master photoshop.

5. Submit some family names for temple work.

6. Keep a diary of all the things you are thankful for each day.

Jen said...

Have you considered Family History indexing? I'm going to be learning how to do it soon, I hear its very interesting & addictive. (Because we all need another time-suck...but at least this is serving a purpose, right?)

My husband is not in the military, but he does travel for work. This time of year, he's gone 5-6 days a week for several months. Since he's also in the midst of his dissertation, when he is home, he's not really home in the sense that he has a lot of work to do. It can be stressful...and I haven't had a lot of down time. I think I'd really like some time that isn't fragmented into sections--1 hour until I drive kids to school, 15 minutes until I have to pick someone up, or until I have to run in & volunteer...I'd like a good, regular, solid block of time to do something creative and have an outlet (more than blogging). Like painting...I have paint colors chosen finally, but I don't have the gumption to get out all the painting stuff if I only have an hour, two at most, to work on it.

As for the benefits--I like that things like bedtime are fixed. What I say goes when DH is gone. There's no, "but dad said I could stay up late..." going on. And the grocery bill is much lower, we eat more simply.

If you figure out some great strategies, let me know!