You can find the first three parts to this series here:
The part that everyone looks forward to as soon as they left on deployment day. A lot of wives I have met over the years will have countdowns of some sort either on a calendar, an app on their phones, or a fun craft type thing that they were doing with their kids. Either way everyone is excited and preparing for this day weeks ahead of the big day. So here are a few tips to hopefully make it easier.
- Go to any homecoming brief that the unit sets up. They will have important information about homecoming time frames, location, and also general what to expect things that are always good to hear.
- Start cleaning weeks in advance. When they get home you are not going to want to be having to do much cleaning, you are going to want to spend every waking second with them so any household tasks that may need to get done around your homecoming window make sure they are done. I tend to write a calendar for the last three weeks and write out a chore list for each day to do till he gets home.
- Be prepared to be more flexible than you had to be with deployment day. They will most likely be delayed. Getting them home can take a few days. You should receive a phone number that you can call to get info about arrival times that is constantly being updated, along with emails about your specific group, we got our info emails from our FRO. Our first deployment was the worst. They were supposed to get in on a Monday evening. I kept calling the number and they kept saying a two-hour delay, every two hours. They ended up not getting in till right before sunrise Tuesday morning. How did I manage that with kids? Simple, do not get them worked up, you need happy not tired and not crabby kids. I put them to bed at normal time, which was after I got the second delay notice. I unfortunately stayed up all night calling the hotline for updates and waited till as late as possible to wake up the kiddos. It worked.
- Have low expectations for the service member.
Most spouses do not want to hear this but seriously if you go into homecoming expecting it to be perfect and for everything to happen on time and just like the pictures you see online, I wish you luck. Your SO most likely hasn’t had access to a shower for a couple of days and the guys have been known to pass around baby wipes, body spray, and gum to try to not smell too offensive when they first see you. I know you may have other plans for the day or even the first seconds after you walk in the door, but seriously let them take a shower. They will thank you for this simple thing. Just have the shower all ready for them to use as soon as they walk in the door.
- Take it easy the first few days. Do not make plans for the first week or so. Just staying home and letting them readjust to life at home will help them the most. On that note, do not change the routine you have had for the past few months as well. Your SO will not be used to it and any children or even pets you may have will not like a sudden change of routine. Do it slowly and do not expect your SO to suddenly jump in, if they do then that is fantastic just don’t overwhelm them. Just simple things like where things are located in the kitchen that they helped organize, they may now not remember. They really do need time to adjust.
- Enjoy this time. Homecoming is a special time as a military family, you just survived something that has changed you and your SO, sometimes in small unnoticeable ways, sometimes big ways. So make sure you savor these moments, take pictures, and make memories. The happy moments from this homecoming will help carry you through the next deployment.
If you are in the military life and just went through a deployment, then you most likely know about PTSD. It is a very real thing and too often the service members will hide it because they think it will hurt their career. It will hurt their career and possibly every other aspect of their lives if they do not get the help they need to get better. And no they don’t always get better, but with love and support they can make life manageable. Make sure you are there for them when they need it. Most units will go over what to expect and what to look out for with PTSD at the homecoming briefs, do not ignore that info.
Thank you for following me on this series. I pray that this helps you through this never easy experience. If you have any questions or need to chat with a fellow military wife feel free to contact me. We may be on our way out of the Marine Corps but I have made some of my best friends while on this journey and military wives will always hold a special place in my heart. God bless all of our military and all of the spouses holding down the home front, till they all come home.
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