If you're thinking about moving home during deployment, you're not alone. Forty-eight percent of SpouseBUZZ readers agree -- depending on your circumstances, moving home can be the right idea.
We don't debate that point around here. We've done it, too. In fact, this time last year I was 32-years-old, 32 weeks pregnant on bed rest and sitting in my mother's kitchen while my husband was in Afghanistan.
It was a great choice.
When a young wife emailed us asking for advice for her time at home during deployment, we realized we don't talk about this enough. We spend so much time debating whether or not you should return home that we never actually got into the meat of what to do when you return home.
So we went to the best experts we know: You. We always like to hear from real military spouses weighing in with real things that worked for them.
With these tips in hand, you'll be sure to make your Home Vacation the best way to spend deployment ... even if you are in your old pink bedroom with a One Tree Hill poster on the wall. Ten Rules for Moving Home During Deployment
1. Stay in touch with your command.Depending on your unit, this can be hard. Some units are much better at this than others. The good news is it's entirely possible - and it's a lot easier than it used to be.
Leigh says: The Company FRG should have no problem utilizing electronic newsletters, email and social media. When my husband first deployed back in the early 90's we did not have this technology and relied more upon the local support system. Now, there is no reason this Spouse can not have the same support as any other Spouse that stays at assigned location. My husband is still active duty after 25 years and I have witnessed first hand the changes from Wives Group to Family Support Group and finally to Family Readiness Support Group. Becoming self sufficient is the key to thriving during deployment; even if that means you move back home to be close to those who love you the most.Before you go, ask to meet with your FRG leader or FRO one-on-one. A little face time will allow your family readiness guru to commit your face and story to memory, and that will go a long way to making sure he or she remembers you when anything important comes up. You're that nice person who came to say hello and introduce yourself.
2. Remember she who pays the mortgage rules the world.Remember when you move home that this is your mom's house or you dad's house or even your in-law's house. And like it or not, they still make the house rules.
You're a grownup: so what? You're independent: see previous answer. You are moving home with your parents, and despite the reason, and despite how awesome you are, it's still your parents house.
Sit down together before you move in and talk about what rules and expectations are for this visit. Contribute to the household as much as you can--even if it is only to buy groceries. Take ownership over some household chore and just do it consistently without being asked. Those things go a long way.
3. Accept that to your parents, you will always be a child.No matter how old you are, expect that your parents will nag at you about your: laundry, wet towel hanging preferences, associates, peers, activities, food choices, weight, and outfits. It will happen.
Just remember when they are in mid-nag, you chose to move home. They are going to revert to being the same parents they were the last time you were at home and you will revert to being that child.
Take down the One Tree Hill poster from your wall and put up some reminders that you are, in fact, an adult and that this is temporary.
4. Avoid becoming 14-years old again.The most confounding part of moving home during deployment is the way you somehow you do become your 14-year old self again--no matter how much you swear you won't.
Your parents are still Mommy and Daddy. When you are back home in your childhood bedroom, you're still the Old You.
Just accept it as part of what you get going home. You'll be nagged, but you'll also find yourself acting like you're 14 again and mocking them behind their backs. Before you get SUPER embarassed, remember they're probably feeling the same way.
5. Laugh about it.When I lived with my mom, we instituted a running joke: Yeah, I've moved home with my mom... every 32 year old's dream. Pregnant and back with the parents.
It became something we could laugh at when things got tense (which they did, and which they will for you, too) and it reminded us we're in this situation because we're actually all adults now making adults choices, and the sane adult choice during deployment CAN and MAY be to go home. It was for me.
6. Organize the hours of your day.If you are moving home and you do not have kids, think about how you are going to spend your day. There are 168 hours in a week and all of them will need to be filled. Besides, your hometown friends will already be working.
If you don't have anything to do, you end up spending a lot of time getting on your mother's nerves.
So try to get a job or volunteer regularly. This is not as easy as it sounds, we know. The jobs available might be things like being a life guard or teaching swim lessons or working at Burger King. Remember that the research shows that work elevates mood--and helps remind you that you are not, in fact, 14.
If work isn't an option, you could also take a class or start a project. Classes at the local community college or community center are affordable. You might choose to take something that furthers your career (like accounting or plumbing) or something that just interests you as a person (like knitting or local history) .
You could also start a project like training for a half-marathon or start weight lifting or learn to swim like a master.
Learning something new can make the time go faster--and gives you something to share with your service member.
7. Be realistic about kids.Often at SpouseBuzz we hear from young moms with toddlers and babies who move home during deployment to get help with the kids.
At first, grandparents tend to love this idea. This is often because they forget the difference between visiting grandchildren and living with little people who have tantrums, drip juice and touch everything.
Talk to both of your parents about how they see this shared parenting going. Are they allowed to discipline your kids? How much babysitting will they be expected to do? Are there certain areas of the house kids are not welcome?
Remember, you don't have to stay at your parent's house during the entire deployment. Depending on the cost, you could go for a month-long visit or two during the deployment to get a little extra support. Then you can go back home and have your own establishment again.
8. Try to keep the peace.There will be hard times. Of course there will - it's deployment. It wouldn't matter where you were for this to be true, so when it happens at home (and it's easy to blame your parents for it), remember you moved home because you wanted to. And because of all the support that you can find there.
When you're feeling like you'd do ANYTHING to just get OUT again, remember: You knew that, all of this included, this was still the best place for you to be right now. Trust your gut, and trust them.
9. Stay in touch with your friends on base.You might not be present, but that doesn't mean you should be absent. Friends on base will help you stay in the loop with what's happening back on post and keep you tied to the world you really live in - despite deployment.
Use Facebook, Skype, FaceTime, and any other means available to remain an active part of each others' lives. Doing so will help you feel less alone in deployment on the front end when you're back with your parents, and keeping your friendships alive will make your transition back into base a lot easier on the back end.
10. Connect With Other Military Spouses LocallyIf you're moving from one military-friendly area to another, you'll be able to find military spouses without much work. But if you're moving far from any other installation, fear not! Military spouses are everywhere, and with them, support for people just like you.
Karen suggests: Facebook is probably the best resource. Look for spouse pages for her husband's unit and installation. Post messages to meet those who are in similar situations. If she is fortunate enough to live near a military installation , contact ACS for deployed spouse groups. Nearby Reserve and National Guard facilities also may host support groups, and they are usually open to anyone. Finally, some churches offer support groups for spouses, and she might be able to make some friends through the church groups.Reserve and National Guard units really can be a great resource to connect with other military spouses in the area. Remember that a lot of Reservist families used to be Active Duty, so they can relate to your situation first hand.
Amber agrees: I would contact the units ombudsman or FRG. If she is looking for a local connection I have found the National Guard to be amazing and open to helping other branches.
Don't be surprised when they stand up and support you - like they've been there, done that, and don't want you to go through it alone. (As a USMC Reserves wife myself getting acclimated to a non-Active Duty lifestyle, I second this wholeheartedly.)
11. Develop half a friend at the command.We tell our Spouse X audiences that a good deployment is always marked by two and a half friends: Someone who has known you a long time. Someone who is local. Someone who is half-a-friend--a person actually at the command who will clue you in to where, when and what is going on.
Attend the pre-deployment events and try to connect with someone there in addition to the FRG leader, Ombudsman, Key Volunteer or FRO. Often a lady with a stroller and a couple of kids in attendance at an event like that is a good bet. Your service member might also be able to introduce you to someone at the command who is known for having a pretty good wife.
12. Haters Gonna HateHo ho, Hater Person. You will find people who are absolutely certain and without doubt that moving home is a bad idea. They will take your great deployment plan and mock it. Pay them no mind. You are doing what's right for you - and that's what matters.
Megan (among many) says: As far as judgment goes, brush it off and keep it moving!
We're by your side no matter where you are, and so is Family Readiness. Do what's right for you, and don't look back. Any other tips for a military spouse moving home during deployment? Have you done it before?