It has been a long couple of weeks with some unexpected twists and turns. Now that we are coming to a break in the deployment and a three-week visit, we are all tired and ready for a change of pace and desperately in need of an extra set of hands to help out with things. This weekend I was a taxi driver, homework helper, gardener, baker, laundress, grocery shopper, party organizer, dog walker, and so much more! I nearly sat down and openly wept at the lack of “me time” I have for anything, but then I remembered that we are three weeks left to go until I get a break and pulled myself together. After all, I have made it eight months!
At this reunion, I am setting some goals for myself that will hopefully support our whole family. In past deployments, the reunion has always been the hardest, and I am hoping that doing a few things differently will make coming back together a bit easier…
Short Term Reunion Goals:
1. Constantly remind myself about what is important – if some things don’t get done when he is back for a couple of weeks, they don’t get done, and the world won’t stop because the fence wasn’t fixed
2. Making a small list of things that are priorities but with the expectation that it isn’t going to all get accomplished in three weeks and only putting things on the list that are driving me nuts. The list can also overwhelm my husband in that he feels like he has to do it all and that puts pressure on him that isn’t necessary
3. Inviting friends and family around all for one big event – this allows everyone to have a visit and for us to spend a lot of family time together too without trying to schedule tons of different visits. The last time we spent the entire time going from one event to another, and it was tiring.
4. Keeping his return low-key – we will make a banner, we will get excited, we will get his favourite foods in the house but not make it into the biggest event of the year. It reduces the pressure on all of us and gives him time to settle in quietly without tons of expectations and obligations
5. Set limits with people – many people will want us to do things and go places, and we have to be willing and comfortable saying no. He is only home for three weeks. We all need a slower pace, low stress, and family time (I may be sleeping non-stop, but I will be physically there)
6. I will keep my resentful comments about him not having to run a house, take care of kids and a dog, and have a full-time job to myself (at least try to)! Rationally, I know that we have both had it hard, and to compare would be crazy as it is truly like comparing apples and oranges, but I do tend to get caught up in the “who had it harder game” and am going to work hard not to
7. I am a person that only feels relaxed when things are tidy and clean – I know on one level it is sad, but it is me. I am going to work hard to not ‘lose my noodle’ when my husband begins to spread like a fungus all over the house. I am going to remind myself that it is three weeks, and don’t want to spend them nagging about cleaning up.
8. Selfish “me time” as I have said before, being selfish is not a horrible thing that you need to feel guilty about. I am going to have a selfish day before my husband comes home so that I am not burnt out and bugging him to give me time. I will still bug him to give me some time, but I won’t be quite so desperate.
A lot of my goals are either about being self-aware or mentally preparing myself to share my life, our kids, the house, and bed again (I still am waking up sprawled across it!). My ultimate piece of advice is to take some time to pamper yourself and think about what it is you want and don’t want before your family member comes home, be prepared to give up some things, and set limits!