Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Secret to Having a Life During Deployment

What is something you’ve been putting off until after cruise starts?

I’ll wait until he’s gone to go to those book club meetings, start attending softball practice, volunteer for the school holiday program, enjoy a girl’s night out, bond with coworkers during Monday Night Football, and on and on and on. I can’t go . . . because my husband will be gone soon, and I want to spend every possible minute with him until then. I can do all that stuff after he leaves.

photo credit: JobotDaRobot via photopin cc

But how much of your life can you really put on pause waiting for him to leave?

I personally haven’t attended my in-person writer’s group meetings for months while my husband has been doing work-ups. When he’s home, I don’t want to lose one night with him, but when the meetings come up and he’s on det, I’ve been too overwhelmed and stressed with all the responsibilities I took over that I still don’t go.

The other day I realized this method isn’t working when my husband and I spent a night at home together, but we didn’t spend it together even though he just got back from a det last week. He worked on his projects in his man cave, and I worked on my stuff in the living room. We didn’t even go to bed at the same time. I had been planning on bailing on my writer’s group again because I want spend as much time with him before he leaves, but if I stayed home, would we really spend that time together?

A part of us naturally wants to cling to our loved one for every waking moment while they are home, especially as we get closer to that eight-month deployment, but the reality is we can’t live that way. We have our own stuff to do, and sometimes people just need their space. If you think about it, when your husband isn’t facing a detachment, you don’t do everything together. You spend much of your day apart.

And what are the repercussions for putting your life on hold until cruise? Even though it feels wrong to attend the book club meeting and softball practice and volunteer for the school talent show, if you do then you’re going to have all of those wonderful time-fillers already set up and holding you accountable during cruise.

photo credit: inkognitoh via photopin cc

If you don’t have anything to fill that time, there’s just going to be a huge hole in your world with nothing to fill it. Once he leaves, you’ll get hit with anxiety and the hermit-effect and won’t want to sign up for all those time-fillers you’ve been putting off. You will have also put off seeing friends for so long that you feel awkward calling them now. If you put these things off for six months while waiting for cruise, they won’t be there when he does finally leave.

But I feel so guilty whenever I chose to do something else instead of spending that time with him. It feels wrong, but you can’t put everything off either. You have to prepare your world for cruise too and continuing to live is a huge part of that. Your life doesn’t stop because he’s on cruise and continuing to live is what will get you through it.

So, I’ve decided, to give myself permission to not feel guilty and to remember that I am taking my life off of pause as a part of my preparation for cruise. I’m going to attend meetings and pursue new hobbies even though it seems like I could use that time to see him. We aren’t really going to spend every second with each anyway and trying to will only drive us crazy.

What is something you’ve been putting off until after cruise starts?

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About Stephanie Carroll
U&E Founder & Author
Buy Her Book A White Room!
Photo by Randy Enriquez
I dated and married my husband in 2004 when I was 19. I felt like an outsider for the first half of our marriage. He didn't understand what I needed to know about the Navy, and I didn't know what to ask.

After ten years of learning in the Navy, I founded Unhinged & Empowered. I wanted to spread the knowledge that I needed when I was new, to reveal what took years for me to learn.   
Cover Design by Jenny Q
In addition to being a Navy Wife, I am also a novelist. I write historical women's fiction.

My first novel A White Room debuted in 2013 and is about a woman forced to sacrifice her own ambitions of becoming a nurse to marry a man who can save her destitute family. He moves her to a strange, small town where she slowly succumbs to madness until she stumbles on an opportunity to nurse to the poor despite the fact that her husband prosecutes unlicensed practitioners.

Learn more at and connect with me @CarrollBooks on Twitter, Facebook, or on Pinterest!

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