The deployment begins, you get into a routine. You have good deployment days and lousy deployment days. Then, you hit a slump. Still, so many months left to go. Still, so many more deployment days to get through. Then, you get a homecoming date.
If you have been through a deployment before, you know this date will change. At the same time, you know that simply having a date is a good sign. That means things are wrapping up.
Having that homecoming date means there is probably a unit ready to replace your spouse’s unit. It means that boxes from overseas will start to appear on your doorstep and it means that you will be told to no longer send any mail.
All these signs together are good ones that tell you, the military spouse, your deployment days are coming to an end. And then, somehow, some way, you have made it, and you have one week left of the madness. One week left of sleeping alone. One week left of being both mom and dad to your children.
That last week of deployment isn’t going to be easy. Even though you are at the end, even though you can now countdown in hours, that last week will drive you crazy.
Here are the best tips for the last week of your deployment:
Remember your mind might play tricks on you
That last week can mess with you. You can become overly stressed, have trouble eating, and even sleeping. Try to take it day by day and remember to breathe. Time is going to pass, it will, and try not to get caught up in any extra drama that might come your way.
You might actually not feel ready after all
As weird as it sounds, during that last week, you might feel a sense of panic that they are actually coming home. There could be items on your deployment to-do list you haven’t finished yet, you might not be at your goal weight, or you might feel panicked at all you have to do before they get home. Try to organize your thoughts on a list of things that have to get done in that final week and simply don’t worry about the rest of it.
Prepare your kids
Your kids could be on edge during this time too. Make sure to prepare them in age-appropriate ways. If they are too small to understand, hold off telling them that dad is coming home soon as they might start to get impatient or act out because they don’t quite understand. If you have older kids, they can help you with any last minute details, such as making signs or cleaning your home.
Keep as busy as possible
Keeping busy during a deployment is a must, but during that last week, it is a necessity. Make plans with friends, go to the movies, go on long walks, or start a new project. If you have a lot of idle time, you are going to have a harder time waiting for that special day.
It doesn’t have to be perfect
Remember, all your spouse cares about is seeing you and your kids and being back home. Nothing else really matters. While it is so nice to have a spotless house for them, don’t feel like every room has to be ready for an inspection. Just do what you can within your abilities, and everything else will fall into place.
As you get ready for homecoming day, know that the last week is probably going to be a bit difficult for you. However, the days will pass and they will be back in your arms again soon.