Guest Author - Tiffany Manley
All of us need support at one point or another in our life. Nobody is immune. Support is even more imperative for military families. We are constantly being thrown into new and unfamiliar situations, as well as ďold friendsĒ like deployments, and no matter how much experience we have, we still need support. During a deployment, there are several types of support. There is the support we give each other as military spouses, the support we give our children, the support we give our spouses and the support we receive from non-military family and friends.
As military spouses, we are in a unique position to understand exactly what other spouses are going through before, during and after a deployment. Now before a deployment, everyone is wrapped up in the cocoon of their own lives. While there are a slew of emotions flying around, we withdraw into our homes and deal with things as a family, relishing every last moment the military member is home. However, from the moment that ship sails away, that plane takes off or that bus drives on, we are, in a sense, on our own. That is why it is so important for us as spouses to band together and support each other. We donít have to be friends with everyone, but having those few close people will make the ordeal infinitely more bearable. Just as we want people around to help us, we should also do everything in our power to be there for others: take their kids from time to time, run to the store and get them medicine if theyíre sick, etc.
Supporting our children can be much trickier. They experience different things at different ages and can go through several emotional stages during one deployment. To help them, look for age-appropriate books, sit and talk with them, look for support groups for children of deployed parents.
Our deployed spouses also need our support. Just as they try to put on a brave front, we also have to maintain sanity at home. I am a firm believer in filling them in on everything that goes on at home. Thatís what worked in my marriage. Now, I may not talk to him frantic, crying and crazy about something that happened, but through a letter or a mention in a phone call, he always knew what was going on, the good, bad and ugly. The key is to remember that all they need from us is to let them know how much we love them and miss them and that we canít wait to see them again. They need love. Send care packages and send letters; theyíre so much more fun and personable than an email.
Finally, we all receive support from our non-military family and friends. The important thing to remember about this type of support is that they mean well. Sometimes we just feel like they donít get it, they donít understand, and it can get frustrating. They are trying their best to help and make us feel better, and it makes it easier to take the support when you keep that in mind!
Always remember that in a military lifestyle we need to give support as well as make ourselves accept it when itís offered. It makes everything so much easier to handle!