The title might be a mouthful, but it describes my life. Describes our life. Describes the everyday life during deployment. When your significant other is away (whether drill, or training, or work, or deployment), all of the responsibility is left to you. Deployments or long trainings make this extra challenging, as there is no reprieve for a long time.
No matter what your life circumstances are: significant other with or without kids or spouse with or without kids – the reality is that you’re maxed out. Over committed. And your life is probably chaos (both on the inside and the outside). Here’s a little bit about my chaos:
My husband is deployed (this maximizes the chaos of the following items). We have a three year old daughter (trying to raise her with patience, obedience, love, understanding, compassion, and everything else on minimal energy). We have a 6-year old yellow lab that still acts like he’s 6 months old. We are blessed to own our home – but I’m also blessed with all of the maintenance that comes along with it. We have a rental property for me to manage.
I run my own business. I’m taking one college course to further my knowledge in my career (already have my bachelor’s degree). I’m writing what is the equivalent of my career’s thesis paper (I’ve spent over 100 hours on it, and I’m not even close to being 1/4 of the way done). Oh, and I’m trying to write my first book to help other National Guard and Reservist Spouses survive their deployments and the civilian world. That’s just the big stuff.
Then there is the other everything else items: cooking, cleaning, laundry (including dreaming of actually putting them away), dishes, take out the trash, feed the kid, clean the kid, feed the dog, water the dog, clean the dog, gas up the car, go grocery shopping, clean the car (or…..not), pay the bills, answer calls/texts/emails, and the list goes on and on. Don’t forget to add nurture relationships in there too.
Even if there is a down moment, my mind is filled with what needs to happen next. I feel like I’m on a spinning gerbil wheel and I can’t get off. Even if I’m not figuring out my next step in life, I’m thinking about him: Is he okay? Is he safe? When will I hear from him? Will we have a good conversation? My mind never shuts off.
I also need to send care packages to my husband. Email him. Send him letters. Speak his love language. I enjoy all these things – but I often find myself feeling guilty for not doing enough or feeling that I’m not being enough for him. Why? Because I’m constantly bombarded with the everyday responsibilities that consume my time.
Yes, some of these items above are by choice. But, it doesn’t help when someone points that out. Plus, I can’t say no. I can’t just stop being a parent. I can’t just stop being a wife. I can’t just stop paying the bills, or stop doing the laundry. I could stop my class or stop my demonstration report for my career…but these are things I had planned well before the deployment was thrown into my life. Our life. By saying no to the things for me, I feel that I’d be losing myself.
My husband didn’t say no. He chose to stand up, raise his hand, and say “send me. I’ll go.” Why did he say yes? Because this is what he feels called to do.
There was a point where he was willing to say no, for me. To stay home, for me. But I could see it in his eyes, hear it in his voice. He would always regret it if he didn’t answer the call. (This is for another post). I’m blessed to be married to a man that wants me to pursue my callings too.
I too would regret if I didn’t answer my calling: to reach out to other part time military spouses and be an emotional sounding board so they know they are not alone. It’s a calling that I’ve had for a number of years, but life kept getting in the way. I don’t know how I’m going to do it – I’m just going to write, and keep writing. And pray that I help someone. Be a resource for those that feel there is no resource.
So, here we are: constantly committed amongst constant chaos. And that’s okay. At least it helps pass the time!