Fitting Back In – Tip #464
For us, reintegrating back together after a deployment is so much harder than the deployment itself. You would think that after countless absences and three major deployments that we would be pros but we aren’t. This time my husband and I are struggling trying to find the balance between the kids, work, things we want to do separately and making space and time for each other. Fitting back into each others lives after months and months of not having to communicate or consider the other person’s feelings on a daily basis is so hard and it isn’t something that can be fixed quickly. As many of you also know it is challenging for people that aren’t in the military to understand that you need this time without taking it personally and those hurt feelings only add to the stress you are already under. Then there is the tiredness. The person who was at home is exhausted from having to do it all solo and for the person returning after working 24 hour days 7 days a week for months on end under less than ideal circumstances. This is like the perfect storm and the best advice I have been given and do give is to find out how you both fit again and do this on your schedule and not other people’s.
Tips to help “re-fit”:
- Talk everyday even if it is only for 10mins
- Make short terms plans to do fun and easy things together as a family that don’t require a lot of planning, work or money (bike ride, swimming, mini putt, etc.)
- Reduce commitments and focus on spending time getting to know each other again
- Do some every day things together (grocery shopping, walking the dog, gardening, etc.)
- Be honest about the things you don’t want to change or give up
- Even when you aren’t feeling generous or patient, try to be as much as possible or walk away and take a minute until you can be
- Say less, listen more
- Work hard on letting go of resentments – you both had it hard and there really is no way to compare or come to conclusions about who suffered more
- Eat at least one meal a day together as a family
- Give each other a mini holiday. Each person should get at least one day to be completely selfish and do whatever they want away from the responsibilities of kids, work, the house, bills, etc.
- Laugh together as often as possible. Go and see funny movies, tell jokes, talk about funny things that have happened and bring laughter into your family every day
I don’t want anyone reading this to think I am doing all of these things well but I am still trying to do them. I still get annoyed about the piles of shoes I trip over by the front door, the lights left on, I forget to tell him plans and activity schedules and sharing the bed is REALLY hard. It will take months, not a few days or weeks to get back on track as well as being patient with your family member be sure to remember to be patient with yourself too!