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The Emotional Cycle of Deployment (Part Two)

Join Blogger LaVaughn Ricci as she chronicles the emotional cycles of deployment. This is Part Two. If you’d like to go back to Part 1, click HERE

 

Part Two, Deployment: Emotional Disorganization

 

The children and I slumped around that first day. We had very little sleep the night before as we prepped for my husband’s departure overseas and had woken so early to take him to the airport, we could barely function.

We skipped church that morning, ate whatever random snacks and leftovers we had in the house, and experienced a very lazy day just trying to regroup. 

emotional

I finally decided to get us all out of the house and go to the store to grab a few things I needed. I thought a change in scenery would distract us for a bit.

But I should have known not to take emotional children, who quickly grew tired and hungry because of a strange sleep and meal schedule that day, through a store on my own.

As we approached the check-out line, I already had two out of four children melting down. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. 

 

The rest of that night, and the few weeks following, were just a blur.

 

I was fully into the emotional cycle of deployment’s phase called emotional disorganization.

All I know is we continued with our regular school schedule, we made it to church, and I started searching for a dependable babysitter!

I was out of sorts for awhile. Due to my husband’s demanding schedules before he deployed, I was used to long days and evenings with the children alone.

However, I felt more exhausted than normal as I found myself in a constant state of heightened awareness. I could never get a break from being on guard.

I realized I was missing the five minutes here and there when my husband could have eyes on the children while I finished a household chore in peace. I had young children who stayed very busy, which translates into lots of messes, and all sorts of demanding needs.

 

It was ALL ON ME. All day…and all night. 

 

I would finally tuck the children into bed, and I would still have several household chores waiting to be completed. Then, when I would finally put up my feet late at night, a child would wake up crying from a bad dream, or because he/she missed Daddy.

Once I calmed the child down, and I’d get him/her back into bed, I would give in and go to bed too.

But often, my husband would call late to talk because it was morning where he was. Of course, I wanted to talk so it kept me up even later. 

Soon, it’d be morning and I would have to drag myself out of bed. The kids woke shortly after, and this very difficult daily routine would begin all over again.

I was overwhelmed and just went through the motions to get through a day. 

 

 

It was finally time for extra-curricular activities in our new area.

 

My husband, children and I had previously discussed how we were going to find fun things to do and keep busy for the deployment to pass by quickly.

So, my (not so) brilliant idea was to do it all: ninja classes, dance classes, and two different sports between them all. For eight weeks, we had something to run to every evening.

This meant trying to finish up schoolwork faster, so we could eat dinner earlier than normal, so we could get to the evening activities on time.

And with slow, needy, emotional children IT WAS SO HARD!

There was a meltdown almost every time we loaded in the van, we’d barely make it to the activity in time, and I quickly realized this was the worst idea ever! Once the eight weeks of sports ended, I said “Never again!” We scaled back the other activities to have a few, free evenings home each week. 

Between homeschooling, activities, illnesses, medical appointments, trying to keep up communication with my husband at odd hours of the day and night (and very little sleep), I was so emotionally disorganized.

I became frustrated with my husband that during the times I really could use someone to talk to, he was sleeping, or in the middle of a work problem.

I began to resent the fact that my husband could sit down and enjoy team dinners with professional adults and not scarf his food down while standing up like me, waiting for the rioting children at the table to demand more food or for me to mop up a spill.

My fragile emotions, my physical health, and my ability to think clearly were a hot mess! 

 

I wasn’t sure any of us would ever find our rhythm. 

 

But I really wanted to. I wanted to feel like I could overcome this deployment chaos and do it right. I was typically so strong and independent, but this whole thing was weakening me so. 

Maybe that’s what I needed to feel. Because I had to learn to accept help from others, when, typically, I absolutely hated inconveniencing others.

I also had to learn to lessen the expectations I had for myself and for the children. It was unfair for me to expect the children to contain their emotions, and even sleep well, when there were now so many changes in their little worlds.

It was not right that I felt the house had to be spic and span every night before bed. This phase of emotional disorganization in the emotional cycle of deployment took a few months for me to work out. 

But the children and I pulled through and were soon on to the best phase of all! 

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

 

 

*Dear Reader, if this is you, don’t lose hope! 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)

Mission:Milspouse

 

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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Supporting Our Military Children

Supporting Our Military Children

One thing that has been most important to me, as a military spouse, is figuring out how to best do this life while supporting our children with the changes and difficulties. When my children were very small, there were many times that my husband was away, and I had to parent my children alone.

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