How to Prepare for Deployment

DeploymentThis article originally appeared at MilSpouse.com.

14 Pointers to ease the tension.

by Vivian Greentree

While there is no real way to emotionally prepare yourself or your family for the long separations of deployments, we can certainly do a lot in the way of logistical and organizational planning to help facilitate the situation.

For me, no matter how much I prepare and arrange, the fact that I’m sleeping alone for the next 6 to 12 months isn’t real until the first night after he’s left.

Here are a few pointers I’ve managed to accumulate through personal trials and tribulations.

The Legal Stuff

  1. Make sure all your legal documents are in order.
  2. Make sure you have access to any joint or single accounts that you’ll need to pay bills.
  3. Make a spreadsheet with accounts, passwords and the bills you are responsible for and when they are due.
  4. Create a document with the contact phone numbers, email addresses and Web sites for base representatives, your spouse club, FRG, or other people who have information that you’ll inevitably want to have sometime during the deployment.

The House/General Maintenance Stuff

  1. Fix Things. Don’t wait until things break to discover they need work. Gutters, roofs, tires, etc.
  2. Know your limits.
  3. Have a running list of services you use and the corresponding contact information. Try to build yourself a good list before you actually need them.

The Family Stuff

  1. First, resign yourself to the fact that nothing you do to prepare is going to lessen the loss of not having your soul mate, the father/mother of your kids, and best friend.
  2. Find ways to mark time.
  3. One friend gets a map of the world and uses push pins to show where his wife has traveled with her ship.
  4. Digital picture frames are awesome. You can continually upload new pictures or mail a removable mass storage device, like a flash drive with new pictures on it.
  5. Stay connected.  This can be done both ways, for the deployed spouse or the family waiting at home.
  6. Another idea is to buy/download computer cameras and software (like Skype) that allow you to converse through an internet connection. This, of course, is dependent upon the type of deployment and your spouse’s access to computers.
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