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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Would Really Appreciate Your Valued Input

Last week I casually mentioned to the kids that daddy was going on a trip for work. It was coming up, and I didn't think either of us had mentioned it to them yet. I was right.

Yesterday I was in Sean-Peter's preschool class and his teacher was prepping them to be ready to come back next week and tell about any trips they went on for the holiday. I casually mentioned to her that Sean-Peter wasn't going anywhere, but his daddy was going on a trip of his own right after Thanksgiving so maybe Sean-Peter could be prompted to talk about that.

No, no. No deployment or anything (the first thought that comes over people's faces when they hear your military husband is going away). Just a three-weeker, no biggie.

There's a reason that we don't get too worked up over these things. Today, John found out that he's not going on this TDY after all. This TDY that has been in the works for well over a month.

On the other hand, he called home about a week ago and casually mentioned that he had gotten pulled for a short-notice deployment. Just as my heart was plummeting to my throat he added that some other schmuck guy had already taken it, and John was now the alternate. Since it's short-notice, the odds of the other guy breaking his leg or being diagnosed with terminal cancer in the next month are pretty slim. Um, okay.

Someone asked me today what kinds of things I like for my husband to do to help me while he's away. I was like, huh? I mean, he's away. Upon contemplation, of course, I realized that of course there are still things he can do to help -- or there are things I wish he would do to help. And it got me to thinking about the dynamics of a relationship when one of you is regularly going all over hither and yon and leaving the other one home to hold down the fort -- especially when the hithering is not actually very, you know, regular.

I do recognize that military couples are not the only ones in this situation, though we are the ones in the spotlight. My question and point to this rambling is to ask, how do you handle the separations? More specifically -- what kinds of things does your husband do to help while he's away? (Or what would you have him do in a perfect world?)

I don't usually beg for feedback but I'm asking pretty puffy-heart please to comment on your experience and thoughts. You know, all six of you that are actually reading the interest of research, K?


Kash said...

Hi Jolyn, I feel your pain but yours must be more frustrating, having to hold down the fort and manage the family as well. Have you talked with your husband over how he CAN help when he is away? I'm not sure if you are asking how he can help manage the family or just manage your relationship but have you guys used the webcams and skype? It makes a world a difference when you can see each other.

Bunchy said...

Hey Jolyn. I'm not sure there's much he does WHILE he's on TDY, but there's a lot he does as "prep-work". He holds down the fort one night so I can get out with my friends for a little bit of kid-free time. He tries to leave a little "extra" in the budget so that I can order take-out a little more often while he's gone and I don't have to cook every night. If I need child-care while he's gone for some work thing or whatever, he helps me find it. Not always, but this is our goal...that he help out before he goes so it's easier on us while he's gone. I hope that answers your question!!

Jolyn said...

Yea, it's tough, but we've been doing this for so long that we've got a routine; I am just hoping for some ideas to shake things up a bit since I'm sure others in our situation have some great ideas of practical ways the absence spouse helps out that we haven't thought of.

No, we don't do webcam and skype! Because we are lazy and set in our old-school ways that way. It is a most excellent idea, though. No-brainer, really. Duh.

Jolyn said...

Your system sounds similar to ours with the "prep" work and going out bit. When I was asked this question I immediately dismissed any financial considerations, though, because I've always taken care of those whether he's away or not. I'm the one urging him to take it easy on the pocketbook and limit the eating out while he's away!

And I must say having a 13yo built-in babysitter (heh-heh) makes a huge difference now while he's gone -- or even when he's home, for that matter! But I think that's great that your dh would try to help set those things up from a distance.

Anonymous said...

I think that having him spend extra one-on-one time with you and with the kids before he goes helps everyone deal with the separation.
Sorry I don't have many ideas. We haven't had to deal with this one nearly as much as you have!

Tam said...

HMMM I can not help with this one at all. MY HUBS when gone is just gone and does not give things here a second thought usually. I handle it ALL SOLO but such is my life. Ideally I wish he would COME home and say OOO Honey I know it has been hard so GO take a WEEKEND alone somewhere to relax and rest up....yeah that ain't happening in my life! Good luck and OOO post these results!

Stacia said...

We are going through our 3rd deployment right now.
You can follow along with our blog.
BTW, we will be moving to Wright Patt just as soon as our house sells whenever that may be.
I found your blog by searching for Dayton military blogs. ;-)

Anonymous said...

We tried the whole webcam/skype thing and it lasted about three phone calls. My hubsband doesn't do anything to help while he's away or at home. Let me know what you comeup with!!

Jolyn said...

Thank you all for your comments, and emails. I am hoping to do a follow-up post on this soon...