When one spouse deploys, the one left at home has to do the job of two people. They have to run the household by themselves, they have to be both Mom and Dad to the children. They are the only one in control of what goes on in the house. This isn’t to say the deployed spouse doesn’t have a say, just that it is much harder for them to make decisions about the day-to-day of what is going on back at home. Once a spouse has been gone for a while, the spouse at home gets into a groove. They learn how to function by themselves. They learn how to be both Mom and Dad and how to be a temporary single parent.
I know for myself I created specific routines and ways of doing things. I also got used to being the decision maker. I was the one who made all the decisions since my husband was gone and not always easy to communicate with. It is about survival and getting through that time apart.
But then the spouse who was deployed returns. How does the family grow together after a deployment?
We have always had an interesting few days after my husband returns. Since he is usually gone for a while, the children have completely different routines then they had when he left. This is an adjustment for all of us. For an example, I usually put the kids to bed earlier when he is gone. I need that extra time to myself. However, when he gets home they can stay up a little later to spend more time with Daddy after work. As the solo parent I may have created new rules for the household that my husband will need to know about. We also might need to discuss them to see if we should keep the new rules or make new ones now that Daddy is home.
We have also have to go through a “getting used to Daddy again” time after a deployment. Depending on the kid and age it might look at a little different. My oldest has always had such a strong bond with Daddy that he is usually all hugs from the minute my husband gets back. However, he still has to adjust to having two parents in the home again. When my children were babies it was more difficult to get them used to Daddy. They are so used to Mommy taking care of their every need and now here is a new person taking over some of the responsibility.
Our family had been able to bounce back after deployments, even if we do have a little bit of a “getting to know you again” period. I do know that not every family is so lucky. It can be hard to get the family back together after a deployment. The Military does provide some support but sometimes it just isn’t enough. If your family is having trouble after a deployment I hope that you will be able to reach out and get any help you might need. Don’t ever think there is something wrong with you. Deployments are hard and redeployments can be a challenge.
Here are some more posts on Reintegration after a deployment.
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