As a military spouse it is a given there will be times when your significant other is not home. This ranges from boot camp and other schools to deployments and everything in between. Whether your spouse is on duty for the night, in the field, training or deployed we are guaranteed to have times when we are on our own. Some spouses are determined to keep things the same, especially if there are children involved, but others (like me) may do things differently. I admire the other spouses who continue to go to bed (and wake-up) at a decent hour, cook full meals and not spend their days in their pajamas. We all may have those moments, but what do you do differently, how do habits change, when your spouse is away?
Since July, my husband has been in school in 29 Palms in California. I live in Virginia. We are fortunate because we can text throughout the day and have nightly phone calls. Well, California is three hours ahead of Virginia, sometimes as my husband is getting out of class and finishing dinner … I am ready for bed! Our nightly phone calls can run long and before I know it midnight has passed and I have to be up for work in seven hours. Weekends it isn't as important, but I feel like a slug if I sleep past noon after being on the phone until 2 a.m.!
Our queen sized bed is a little too big without him. I keep to my side regardless of how many times I try and spread out and take over the middle of the bed. To fill the space I bring out Mutsy, my faithful stuffed dog, and Bentley, my stuffed bunny that I have had my entire life. Mutsy wears one of my husband's undershirts that I replenish with his cologne as needed.
I also need to have a DVD player in the room so I can fall asleep. If I have another person in the room, I have no issues falling asleep whatsoever. If it is just me, the silently playing movies just comfort me and make me feel less alone. A nightly rotation of "Under the Tuscan Sun," "You've Got Mail," "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," and "Back to the Future" keep me company.
Cooking for one is not easy. I like to cook, I really do, but the motivation is not there for just me. When my husband is home we take turns cooking up breakfasts, lunches and dinners that range from pretty good to slightly awesome. (Not to brag or anything ...)
On my own my dinners consist of the following (in no particular order): ramen noodles (with scrambled egg to make it not college kid food), a fried egg sandwich, a bagel with cream cheese, bagged salad, a frozen chicken patty sandwich or Nutella and my trusty tablespoon. On rare occasions I will find a steak in my freezer and broil it up or make some premade pasta, but it is just not the same. If I make a normal recipe, I either eat enough for two or the leftovers go bad because I don't really want to eat the same thing the next night. Seems silly right?
I am proud to say I don't go out to eat often, fast food included, but I do enjoy those moments when a friend will drag me out to dinner and make sure I am eating real food for a change.
My husband is an aggressive driver, I am a defensive driver. When we are together I usually let him drive and close my eyes hoping for the best. If I drive he is constantly telling me to change lanes, go around people and yelling "Hurry up! You're going to miss that light!" Needless to say it is a little more calming to drive on my own ... and it is nice I don't have to adjust my seat and mirrors from his lanky form needing all that extra space.
Pajamas, sweat pants and baggy t-shirts coupled with white sneakers, blue rain boots with red cherries on them or furry black boots for the cold. I get home from work, hang up my suit and switch into minor slob mode. Maybe I will break out the jeans if I feel like impressing our puppy Rylie. She digs it when I dress like a normal human being.
Eh. I'll get there eventually. Personally, I think the dining room table is a perfect catchall for whatever I am carrying around at that moment. Wait, did that dust bunny just move? A frantic phone call to the neighbor usually ensues; "Carrie, can I borrow your industrial pet hair catching amazing vacuum???" My Target dirt devil just won't cut it after a certain point.
Personally, I think it is normal that to change your routine when it is just you. Sometimes it is nice to cook what you want, go where you want, and wear what you want … at least for a little while. Of course it can get lonely pretty quick, but we have to take our perks where we can get them!
What about you? The Spouse is gone, what changes happen in your house? Do you keep yourself in the same habits? What changes, major or minor, are sure indicators that your Spouse is away?
Allie is a 20-something wannabe actress, aspiring writer, sometimes baker, Cirque du Soleil performer (ok maybe that one is a stretch) and a proud Marine Corps wife. She blogs at My Marine and Me where she tries to keep her family and friends in the loop of her somewhat crazy life.