Deployment is hard, there is no getting around it. Whether it is your first time around or your fifth, having your spouse gone for months at a time is just no fun. Having a great support system is one of the best things you can do to help you through the inevitable ups and downs of a deployment but no matter how much family you have, and how many friends, if you can, be sure you have a “deployment BFF” as well.
What is a Deployment BFF you might ask? Simply a friend (new or old) who also has a deployed spouse. Whether it’s another spouse from your unit or just a long-distance friend from a previous duty station, I think it’s important to have at least one person in your life who is also in the thick of the stresses of deployment.
Here are my top three reasons why everyone needs a Deployment BFF:
Avoiding Resentment: During my husband’s last deployment I was pregnant with our third son and wrangling our two older boys who were 4 and 2 at the time. At first I attended all of his unit’s holiday parties and events hoping to meet other spouses going through the same thing but they were always composed mostly of rear detachment families. I finally stopped going because I resented watching other families enjoying family time together when my husband was gone. Right or wrong, I resented them and I was jealous that those other children had their dads there with them while mine didn’t. That those wives had a partner to tag-team with when the kids got crazy, I didn’t.
Commiserate Together: One of my best friend’s husband deployed around the same time as my husband this last time and although we were both going through hard times, we were able to spend a lot of time together. Whether it was having dinner together to break up the monotony of the week or planning a fun outing on the weekend, having another spouse riding solo as a friend can help to fill those gaping holes in your social calendar. As an added bonus, my friend also had a son that was similar age as my boys, so they didn’t have to feel that they were the only one whose Daddy wasn’t around. They also had their own little deployment BFF that knew what it was like to only see Daddy via Skype.
Venting: You know what happens, as soon as your loved one hits foreign soil the washing machine breaks, the car needs a repair, or for me this last time, your house gets invaded by mice! It’s the Murphy’s Law of Deployment. When I had to remove the, um, remains of two mice that were caught in mouse traps while 8 months pregnant and my hubby was away, who did I call to talk me down from my hysteria and get me to do the gruesome and necessary task? My deployment BFF that’s who. Because she was the one that knew that no matter how grossed out I was-I didn’t have a choice, it was step up or get out!
Your deployment BFF will provide you with courage when you need it, laughs when you’re feeling down, and empathy when it sometimes seems too much. Who have you relied on during deployments the most? Family, non-military friends? Have you had a deployment BFF?