How do you do it??

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-19-2006
How do you do it??
1
Mon, 09-06-2010 - 11:37pm

Hi ladies! It's been a while since I've posted, so you may not remember me. Quick refresher--my husband is trying to join the military. His work has kept him away for the last two weeks, but he's going in tomorrow (unless it gets crazy again) to finally take his ASVAB. He's decided the Navy is the right path for him.

That said, how do you do it? How do you say goodbye for months at a time? How do you stay strong for your kids, for him, for yourself? How do you move far away from friends and family and then have him leave while you're at home being, in effect, a single parent? How do you not go crazy when he comes back and things are awkward and different? How do you keep your marriage strong through the distance? How do you not go crazy missing him so much or before he leaves and you're having one of those great "Oh God, I love this so much" moments and you know you're about to miss out on that for a long time? How do you watch your children grow and change while he's missing it?

There are a lot of benefits in this choice we're making, but ... how do you do it?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2005
Tue, 09-07-2010 - 8:16am

I do it because I have to. Sitting around the house, for me, dwelling on the fact that Ben isn't home is not productive IMO. Breaking down is NOT an option for me. I stay strong for Ben and Nate because if I don't stay strong for them, who will? I am the example Nate looks to while Ben is gone. How I handle deployments/TDY is how Nate learns to deal with Daddy being away. If I bust into tears every 5 minutes, does that help Nate handle his emotions? How can I help him deal if I can't help myself?

Moving, again- for me, is part of the adventure. Ben and I grew up in a small town from which people rarely move. We wanted to get away from all of that. We WANT to move and tour and see new places while we are young enough to enjoy the sites. We want Nate to experience new cultures and meet new people. At 6 years old, he has already lived in 3 different states and a different country.

Does it suck to have our husbands gone, sometimes for more than a year at a time? Oh yeah. Are we entitled to a nervous breakdown every now and then? Oh yeah. Do I know, in my heart, that Ben isn't CHOOSING to be away from us? Oh yeah.

I do it all because I love Ben and I love our life together, military or not. I do it because I want to be with him more than anything. I do it because Nate needs me to do it. I do it because I need me to do it.

You will find the strength you need when the time comes. It's inside all of us.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-25-2005
Tue, 09-07-2010 - 9:56am

I agree with what Becky said.

All of the cons of being in the military are well worth all the pros.

My Absolute Biggest suggestion when you get to your first duty station. Take a LINKS Class, take the first one that's available for Spouses (they'll reimburse for childcare if you have to use it at the CDC). That class should be required for spouses IMO. You learn about your base, what services it has, where to find things to do, what's happening on base, how to get involved. etc. It's a huge asset to YOU. No you don't have to take it, but it's only going to hurt you if you don't. You can figure out all that stuff the hard way if you prefer. I wish I had taken that class sooner.

Your military experience is in your hands. It can be bad, lonely and miserable or it can be fun and rewarding. It's a choice...your choice.




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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-05-2007
Tue, 09-07-2010 - 10:42am

For me personally, it's pretty easy because my DH and I dated long distance for almost 3 years before we got married and actually lived together. Being apart is almost more "normal" for us than being together for long stretches of time!

I think in all situations, people just adapt. You learn to deal with what is in front of you and if you can't, then you do what you have to do to change that situation.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2006
Tue, 09-07-2010 - 12:05pm
I married my military man over 21 years ago and I looked at it as an adventure. I think it is easier to handle when you are young. I wanted to get away from home and travel. My dh and I had a sense of adventure. We did not want to stay in our hometowns and live life like everyone else. Dh's Mom and Dad raised him with a sense of independence and he enjoyed visiting his big sister at the AFA when he was just a young man. It was little tougher on me because I was raised in a VERY close knit family that got together for every birthday and holiday. The good news is your family (and his) can come visit you. It works both ways and it should not be on you to always visit them. For us reuniting was easier after his year in Afghanistan compared to his time in Desert Storm. We saw each other basically daily via computer and he was allowed to chat for free for 15 minutes per day. Every unit is different but that was our experience. I don't have an answer for missing out on your kids lives. During dh's career this only happened once and the kids were old enough to understand when Daddy comes back the house will be paid off. So that was a huge motivation. I guess the good news is if this isn't for your family then your dh could leave after once stint. God Bless!

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-19-2006
Tue, 09-07-2010 - 2:39pm

Thank you guys for your candor. There are a lot of parts to it that I'm really looking forward to—including the travel. But it's just such a new world, I get a little scared thinking about all that's going to change. I like the thought that he's not CHOOSING to be away from us—it's just part of his job. That makes it easier.

Thank you for your responses—I really, really appreciate having some place I can come and ask questions because no one I know well is involved in the military. I have a few friends from high school whose husbands are active duty, but none that I know well enough to ask about things like this. So thank you very much :)

Caressa

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-22-2008
Wed, 09-08-2010 - 1:19pm

I get asked that all the time by my family and friends back home. "How do you do it?!" And I just look at them and say, "What other option do I have?"

It sounds ridiculous kind of, but my DH was military when we started dating so I didn't have any say in the matter. I couldn't tell my heart who to fall in love with, and when you love someone, you do whatever it takes. Nothing is as hard as it seems from the outside looking in. Once it becomes a part of your every day life, you learn how to deal. And when you think about it, the only way NOT to do it would be to leave your husband, which sounds like a WAY worse option to me than dealing with deployments and stuff. I'd rather be without him for a year than for the rest of my life.

So I guess to be really cliche, it's just like those old Nike commercials. You just do it.

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