While there are many aspects of being a military spouse that are challenging, perhaps the most demanding is deployment. Families are broken up for months at a time when a spouse is deployed – leaving the other spouse to function as both mom and dad. Our Riveters are well aware of the struggles military spouses face on a daily basis.
For at-home spouses, the biggest challenge is not just the distance, but the lack of communication available. Phone calls are few and far between, and the information provided about their spouse’s whereabouts and military duties is very little. And when the spouses do have time to connect on the phone or internet, their discussions are very brief. With such little communication, worry can set in very quickly. To set their minds at ease, many of our Riveters choose to stay away from deployment coverage in the media and stick to the motto “No news is good news.”
For everyday life during deployment, little things become bigger challenges without the extra support of a spouse around. Having children in the mix adds an even bigger challenge, as the spouses have to rearrange their schedules in order to accommodate the everyday tasks that come with being a single parent. No matter how many deployments a family goes through, the process never gets easier. While families that have been through multiple deployments know what to expect from the process, the time apart and missing support system still takes a heavy toll on the spouse at home. Not only are they missing their spouse, but they have to comfort their child or children that are missing a parent. Many of our Riveters involve their kids in building care packages and have them write notes to send. Others let them express their feelings, even if it means a temper tantrum.
Luckily, military spouses don’t have to go through the challenges of deployment alone. There are more than a million people in the United States Armed Forces, so support is not hard to find. For our Riveters, there is a group of smart and empowered women to confide in and rely on. Many of our Riveters give each other tips on what helps them through deployment periods. The key is to keep busy during these difficult times. Some Riveters turn to hobbies and friends to keep their mind off things, others turn to exercise to boost their mood and some spend time creating care packages to send to their spouse.
For couples going through deployment for the first time, our seasoned Riveters have plenty of advice to give. Riveter Jocelyn recommends writing down everything you want to say to your spouse. With communication being so limited, you can get caught up in the excitement of the call and forget the important things you wanted to say. Riveter Ronda says relying on the support of other spouses who are going through the same thing is comforting. Laura turns to her faith during hard times and makes sure she is surrounded by her family.
Deployment doesn’t have to be all bad, however. For Riveters like Kellie, who has been a military spouse for 12 years, deployment has made her marriage stronger. Kellie says instead of focusing on the struggles, focus on how being a military spouse is a completely unique situation that many marriages will never understand. Absence makes the heart grow stronger and many of these marriages have grown stronger throughout each individual challenge.
No matter what kind of deployment experience our Riveters are going through, we have created an environment at R. Riveter that is as supportive as possible. Our Riveters are not only independent contractors for the company, they are also our family. We not only want to create portable income for military spouses, but create a space in the world that empowers them financially and emotionally.
How do you cope with deployment? We want to hear from you, comment below and share your thoughts.