People always leave…

Finding friends in the Army can be very difficult for spouses.  There is so much gossip, drama, and other crap among Army wives these days.  I have figured out, over the last several years, that many people you meet will become acquaintances and a select few will become actual friends.  Those friends will become so special and the bond will be unbreakable.  Between the deployments, struggles, and stress, you learn to lean on each other in hard times.  You each share the good times and precious memories.

But…you soon learn the bitter part of Army life and friends.  We all have to move away.

A very dear friend of mine is moving at the beginning of the year.  We both knew it was coming, but being prepared for it is another thing.  It happens to all of us, but it never gets easier I guess.  We keep in touch with the friends we’ve made and dread having to start over making new ones.  I know I dread it.

I have a few tips on keeping in touch and making the distance fun though.

1. Phone calls.  Keep in touch on a regular basis and continue to share each other’s struggles and good times.

2. Set aside a coffee date.  For example, Tuesday mornings at 0800 you pick up the phone, fill your coffee cup, and settle in for your weekly date/catch up phone call.

3. Face time/Video calls.  You get to see each other and the kids can also “visit” with each other.

4. Depending on distance, plan a get-together once a year or so.  Renting a cabin or something is a great weekend getaway to relax and catch up.

5. Penpal journal.  One journal shared between the two of you that you mail back and forth.

6. Crazy competitions.  Include your husbands and kids in little competitions throughout the year with Halloween contests and such.  It’s a good way to swap photos and the kids will have fun dressing up.  Each month could be a different theme too.

Anyway, those are just a few little ways to keep in touch and keep it fun.  Friends don’t let a little distance get in their way.  Be creative and take the time for one another.  It’s really worth it in the end!

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Coping with Deployment…

Coping with deployment can be so hard…It’s during this time that you have to “put your big girl panties on” and “man up”!  I have come up with some ways to help you get through it…they are in no particular order, just me throwing them out there!  Feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to help!

  • Realize it’s gonna be hard!  Go ahead and accept that a 12-15 month deployment is gonna feel like 24-36!
  • Remember OPSEC!  So many times there have been wives on the internet posting information that is not allowed!  Keep info to yourself and talk with the wives in your husband’s unit…not to the world on the internet!
  • R&R and block leave…plan for YOUR FAMILY!  Use what little time you have to make sure you, your husband and your kid(s) have those little moments and trips that will mean so much to you later on!  I know other friends and family are important too, but alone time with your little family will really make a difference!
  • Make sure to send care packages and pictures!  Care packages do not always have to be just the toiletry items.  Send his favorite snacks, magazines, cards, letters, etc.  Pictures are good too.  He will really enjoy seeing new pictures of the kids playing and see how much they are growing.
  • Make sure you have the numbers for your FRG, Rear D and Red Cross.  These numbers are important!  The Rear D and FRG will be able to provide you with information that is vital during the deployment and the number for Red Cross is for any emergency that would require your husband’s return.
  • As hard as it seems…try to sleep and keep yourself stress-free.  Your husband shouldn’t be worrying about your well-being.  So, try to remain steady and strong.
  • Remember that maintenance on the vehicles and yard work is now your responsiblity.  Sounds crazy to put this, but I have known several ladies that completely forgot to have the oil changed in their vehicles for the entire deployment!
  • Save money!!!  You have extra income coming in during the deployment….SO SAVE IT!!!  You can lower bills as well during this time.  If you are renting, the rent is usually lowered during the deployment and you can put his truck’s insurance on hold.  If you are not a major t.v. watcher, cancel cable and get Netflix.  You can’t beat 7.99 or whatever a month and it saves at least $100 mthly by cutting out cable.  Look into couponing too.  Couponing can save you tons of money!
  • Be supportive and don’t talk about his “work” while on the phone or computer.  Most of the time they just wanna talk about everyday stuff back home and take a break from work.
  • Try not to overwhelm him with issues back home.  All the gossip and drama…save that for your girlfriends.
  • Face the fact that you have to take on the role of Mommy and Daddy.  As stressful as it can be, it still has to be done!
  • Friends…..GET SOME!  Find groups on Facebook for the post you are at, attend FRG meetings to meet other spouses, meet others at the parks and playgrounds, etc.  Friends will help you through this difficult time and it relieves stress when you got other ladies to lean on and depend on.
  • Keep yourself busy–work will keep you busy…kids and playtime (parks, playgrounds, art and crafts, etc) will work too.  Do home projects or discover a new hobby!
  • Expect the house to FALL APART!!!  It never fails…once he is out the door and deployed, everything seems to break!  The air conditioning, washer, dryer, sink, etc….it’s gonna happen!
  • Don’t expect your families to understand what you’re going through.  So many times I have heard the ladies upset due to the families not “getting it” and trust me, they never will!  I’ve gone through it and you will too!  Try not to get upset when the time and distance doesn’t make sense to them.  They don’t have to go through it so they can’t honestly put themselves in your shoes.
  • I know things happen and stress makes you wanna vent!  But try to keep conversations with him on the uplifting side…haha  Yea, it’s gonna be rough….but you have to try!
  • DO NOT watch the news if you can help it.  The news never reports the good stuff and the bad stuff is gonna make you panic and worry beyond belief!
  • Holidays…plan ahead so you don’t get bombarded and keep friends close.  The ladies that I am good friends with in my husband’s unit have all gotten together and done Thanksgiving!  It was great!  A holiday with people, laughter and good company!
  • Lots of gossip and drama may go around….stay out of it!  It’s not worth the hassle ladies!
  • Be prepared for gaps in communication…if you don’t hear from him for a lil bit, don’t panic!  Call the other spouses and see if they have heard anything.  Don’t expect the worse!  I’ve been there…it makes you crazy!
  • The good ol saying…..”HURRY UP AND WAIT”….Learn it!!!  You will be doing this throughout the entire time your husband is in the military!
  • Don’t get frustrated towards the end….everything is written in pencil and dates and times will change constantly at the end.  Just give yourself the last possible date and do your countdown that way, if you are doing a countdown.  Your husband will let you know dates and times when he knows them and keep in touch with your FRG for this info too.

I hope some of this helps!  Feel free to add more in a comment or ask any questions you may have!

Treating others the way you want to be treated…

Don’t you just love that piece of advice your mom used to give you???  It was said to me more times that I can count.  Today it actually made a ton of sense to me.  Now, don’t get me wrong, my meaning and your meaning are probably two totally different concepts.  I am not trying to push my opinion on anyone.

But today I actually sat and thought about it.  To me, that statement does not mean “be nice to everyone all the time no matter what”.  As a kid and obviously, well into being an old fart, I thought that even when someone is mean, inconsiderate, rude, etc…you’re just supposed to take “the high road”.  And anyone that knows me knows that I don’t always do that.  I don’t always just smile and look pretty.  I don’t always keep my opinions to myself…ok, I hardly ever ever ever keep my opinions to myself!  I don’t always keep my mouth shut when I believe someone is being mean for little to no reason at all.  But I will say that here in the recent past I have tried to look past certain things.  I have tried to put a lid on speaking up when I know it won’t do any good.  And I have tried really hard to hush and “take the backseat” with certain things.  But enough is enough!

Today I got pissed off!  I was and still am mad as hell!  It felt like a lot of crap hit me at one time from several different directions.  I am so sick and tired of speaking up sometimes just to be accused of being sensitive, selfish, or bitchy.  I am tired of some people being rude, inconsiderate and downright mean.  “Treating people the way you want to be treated” means two things to me…1. Do not say or do something to someone that you would not want said or done to you.  2. Speak up and be honest when something bothers you.

1. Do you want someone making jokes that secretly hurt your feelings?  Do you want someone constantly bringing up something that upsets you?  Do you want someone constantly putting you on the back-burner and ignoring your feelings?  Do you want someone to only call you when they want something?  Do you want someone being selfish all the time?  the list goes on and on…..If you don’t…DON’T DO IT TO OTHERS!!!

2. Wouldn’t you prefer for a friend to tell you that something you said hurt their feelings?  Wouldn’t you prefer someone telling that they feel ignored? Wouldn’t you like for a friend to let you know you’re being kinda inconsiderate?  Wouldn’t you prefer your friends to stay your friends?     here again, the list can continue forever….If you would…THEN SPEAK UP ABOUT IT!!!

Look, I am nowhere near perfect.  But I would not intentionally joke or pick on someone if I knew it hurt their feelings.  I would not ignore someone’s feelings on purpose.  I don’t call someone just because I need or want something.  But, yes, I do joke around, I do assume I know how someone feels sometimes, and I have made calls to vent to a friend in the past and didn’t stop to ask how they have been or what’s been going on with them lately.  But I would listen and respect them if I did any of those and caused them to be upset.  I would listen to how they feel and try to put myself in their shoes.  And I would do my best to change the problem in order to keep my friend.   BUT, if I am constantly treated like shit even after I’ve spoken up…guess what, I can totally return that one too!  I can return the favor of being rude and inconsiderate.  I can ignore someone’s feelings too.

Bottom line…don’t be a door mat for a friend and speak up when you feel any disrespect and try to listen, really listen, and put yourself in the place of others to see things from their perspective.  Constructive criticism can be a good thing. I honestly think doing those things will make life a little easier.

Thanks for putting up with my rant.  I hope this opinion/advice helps shed some light on that wonderful phrase my mom still says to me quite often!