Have you recently found out that your military spouse is being deployed? If so, then you might be wondering what steps you can take to help prepare your spouse for deployment, in addition to making plans for holding down the household alone. The entire process can be a struggle, especially if this is the first time your spouse has been deployed. Here are some steps you can take to make adjustment a bit easier. Getting Ready for Departure The first step you should take is to help your spouse get ready for his or her deployment. Depending on how long you have before the deployment, you may have months or perhaps only weeks. One of the most important things you can do while preparing your spouse for departure is to gather a list of contact information who will be on your spouse's base. Furthermore, be sure your spouse has a contact list of your friends, family, and neighbors back home. After all, communication is an important factor when dealing with a deployment. If possible, schedule a tour so that you and the rest of your family can check out your spouse's military base. This may also help you come to terms with the upcoming separation, as there are often all kinds of helpful spouse resources at these tours. Preparing the Children Next, if you and your spouse have children, make sure you spend plenty of time getting them prepared for the deployment. There are different ways preparing your children, depending on the age. Generally, it's best to clue the children in on the upcoming deployment as early in the process as possible, as this gives them the time they need to cope with the idea of being away from one of their parents for an extended period of time. If your child seems to be having a hard time dealing with your spouse's upcoming deployment, consider taking these steps:
- setting up a Skype account so your child can video chat with your spouse
- creating a countdown calendar to your spouse's return
- explaining to your child the importance of your spouse's job as a military member
Holding Down the Household Being without your spouse will also mean that you have to take care of the household on your own. If there are any maintenance tasks that your spouse typically does around the house, make sure you learn how to do them for yourself before your military spouse leaves. This could include anything from operating the lawn mower to maintaining your pool chemicals or anything in between. If you're concerned that handling all the tasks around the house will be too much for you, consider hiring outside help or asking a close friend or family member to assist you. Finally, make sure that you have phone numbers and other contact information for repairmen, car mechanics, and other professionals you may need to help you with things around the house. Financial Preparation Last but not least, there are some specific financial obligations you'll want to get taken care of before your spouse leaves. For starters--even though it won't be a pleasant task--your spouse will want to ensure that he or she has a will published and kept in a safe place. You'll also need to ensure that there's somebody with legal power to carry out the will, if necessary. This is known as "power of attorney," and in most cases, this is granted to the spouse. It's also a good idea to ensure that your spouse's life insurance policy is up to date. Finally, if there are any bills that your spouse pays out of his or her checking account, you may also want to consider setting them up for automatic payment, which will leave you with one less thing to worry about taking care of while he or she is gone. Preparing for the deployment of your loved one is never easy, but it's something that all military spouses need to be prepared for. By following these steps, you'll be in a better position to handle your spouse's military deployment when the time comes.