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The Emotional Cycle of Deployment… Part 3

Join Blogger LaVaughn Ricci as she chronicles the emotional cycles of deployment. This is Part Three. Click these links to go back to Part 1 and Part 2. 

 

Part Three, Deployment: Recovery and Stabilization 

 

deployment I felt like I was finally bouncing back to the strong, independent woman I always used to be.

The children and I had made it through the tortuous pre-deployment phases of anticipation of departure and detachment and withdrawal.

We had somehow emerged from the depths of the fog that is the first deployment phase of emotional disorganization.

 

We found our rhythm, our activities, our people to lean on, and after some trial by error, we had a great routine going.

I felt like maybe how our servicemen and women feel after they’ve completed basic training. The stress and chaos had broken me down, and our circumstances then built me back up into a stronger individual.

 

In the emotional cycle of deployment, I had now made it to the deployment phase of recovery and stabilization!

 

I was immensely proud of the children’s resilience too. After several months of working through these phases and transitioning to our new normal, we all realized that we were okay, and we were coping well.

I became more confident in my ability to accomplish some tasks that my husband normally completed, along with balancing my own usual tasks.

 

I discovered new strengths, my physical and emotional endurance were growing, and the children and I found some joy again.

 

Truly, we were doing so well, we even took an extensive road-trip that summer to visit extended family! As with all deployments and TDY’s, Murphy’s Law had to throw in a few issues, but somehow I was able to navigate them without going too insane.

Since I always had four children at home with me, and no family nearby, anytime we had a medical problem, or one child had an activity, all the rest of the children had to go along too.

I had previously been quite strict with our homeschool schedule, but I had no other choice than to become flexible during deployment.

 

And you know what? Somehow we got it done! 

 

Along with extra flexibility, something that helped me during this period of stabilization was setting up assistance in a few areas. I am typically a very frugal person, saving a penny wherever I can and working harder than I must to limit extra spending.

Well, a few months into deployment, I just didn’t care anymore! 

deploymentThe first thing I established was childcare! I found a very sweet military spouse friend to come to my house once or twice a week and watch the children for a few hours.

This allowed me time to work on extra lessons with the older children while the younger ones were entertained. It allowed me to work on a small project of my own without any distractions.

I could get out of the house for a little while and sit in a quiet coffee shop or run some errands without dragging children along. The money spent on childcare was the best use of our family separation pay!

 

Another great use of those funds was for lawn services.

 

deploymentIt got too exhausting and stressful for me to keep up with mowing and weed whacking.

I had been using our weekly family movie and pizza nights to work outside, but it was no longer family time when I wasn’t joining the children.

Paying for a professional lawn service became such a relief to me. 

Housecleaning services were established before my husband even deployed! I already knew that by trying to keep up with four children, all their activities, and homeschool while my husband was gone, there was no way I was going to have time to scrub bathrooms, mop floors, or dust on a regular basis!

Housecleaners are quite expensive these days, so to justify it I only had my house professionally cleaned once a month. I was able to keep up with the in between cleaning okay, and it was such peace for my mind to know that my house was receiving a good scrub down every few weeks! 

 

The last thing I spent a little extra money on was food conveniences.

 

With all our running around, I didn’t have time to cook a nice meal every single night. I allowed us more pre-made meals from Sam’s Club or the supermarket, more drive-throughs here and there between appointments and activities, and I paid for the annual membership to have groceries delivered right to my doorstep.

We got a little off-track eating as healthy as we did pre-deployment, but these ways were almost a necessity to survive this extremely busy period. 

Once the children and I overcame our transitional hurdles, and I allowed myself to spend the necessary money for convenience and sanity, we were all rolling well through deployment.

I began to enjoy my newfound independence.

The children seemed happy and preoccupied by their friends and activities and didn’t dwell as much on the fact that they missed Daddy.

Sure, we all felt his absence deeply. But all in all, we were feeling so resilient, and enjoying our new routines, we didn’t want anything to mess it up!  But that’s about the time my husband was ready to come back for his mid-tour leave.

And in complete transparency, we weren’t quite ready for him. 

 

 

*Keep your eye out next month for my continuation on this series, as I cover the emotions during deployment. 

Dear Reader, are you feeling the same? I want you to know these are perfectly normal stages and feelings of deployment – and they are temporary! You are not alone, and you will overcome these challenges. Please seek help if needed. Talk to a friend, a chaplain or pastor, and try these websites to discover a plethora of information on deployment resources, help for military children, freebies for children of deployed parents, special events near you, and more!

Military OneSource

Military and Family Life Counseling (MFLC)

Blue Star Families

United Service Organizations (USO)

 

Author

  • LaVaughn Ricci

    LaVaughn Ricci is originally from Michigan and met her husband while they were both students at Cedarville University in Ohio. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts, and she also studied bible, theatre, and American Sign Language. She is certified in Teaching English as a Second Language. LaVaughn’s husband commissioned in the U.S. Army in 2004, and the two of them overcame a long-distance relationship through five different duty stations and two deployments before they finally married in 2011. Since then, they have been stationed at seven different installations together, have had four incredible children (two born overseas), and have travelled a decent fraction of the world. LaVaughn loves Jesus Christ, being an Army wife, adventuring with her family, musicals, chocolate, chai lattés, and a quality cup of decaf. She is a homeschooling mom who volunteers in SFRGs, PWOCs, and enjoys helping service members and their families whenever and however possible. She would enjoy connecting with you on Facebook.

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