Google” ways to keep busy during deployments” and you will find all the common things like volunteering or joining the FRG etc. For people like me who are not exactly sociable on a frequent basis (shocking right) I kept busy by creating certain type of theme days and weekends for solely myself or the kids and I. I also set aside time for friends and girls night.
1. Monday Starbucks Day
While this wasn’t weekly (because Starbucks is expensive as hell) I did do this every other week. If there was thing I loved about the PX/Exchange on Schofield was that it had a pretty nice Starbucks. I would bring my Ipad along and hop online. I would mainly do this on Mondays since that was the most stressful day of the week for me (hell for anybody). I figured after the chaos of getting the rugrats off to school I could head there and relieve some much needed stress with a tall white chocolate mocha.
2. Bubble Bath Pampering
Unfortunately in Hawaii I had a gorgeous house but the bathtub was just a tad bit small for my version of a bubble bath. In Georgia though (and until this day) I make sure I set aside time for at least a bubble bath 3x a week. There is nothing more invigorating then putting the kids to bed lighting a candle or two and sliding into the hottest water your soul can stand lol! I literally feel like the day just lifts off of me when I do this.
3. Online Karaoke
I love karaoke and I love to sing. Unfortunately with no real baby sitting options at the time I took to online karaoke sites such as SingSnap.com , Myspace Karaoke (now closed down) and Paltalk.com Karaoke rooms. Some other options are http://www.karaokeparty.com, http://www.cantanding.com and http://www.singon.com/ . I swear to you that this got me through so many boring Saturday nights.
4. Talk To Myself
Yup I did this and I still do. Yes there were times I stood in the mirror and talked to myself but what I am really referring to is talking to myself via my webcam. The best therapy for me was to talk my frustrations out on camera. I don’t know why it made me feel better but it did.
5. Outside and Inside Movie Days
Twice a month my kids and I would get up early and head out to the movies just in time to catch the matinee and sometimes catch the military discount that was only available on matinees. I would save up so that the kids could see a movie they wanted to see and then I would take them with me to catch one I wanted to see. Sure my little guy would fall asleep but I was fine with that since chances are I didn’t want him watching the movie anyway. I would bring one of those little $5 Walmart throws and it would be lights out for him!
For those days where I wanted to be inside me and the daughter would plot out the movies for the day on Lifetime and the Hallmark Channel. I would give us a $15 snack budget and we would totally veg out all weekend. All my cares and worries were still there but they were temporarily interrupted by wondering when the naive mother was going to figure out that the babysitter she loves so much was secretly plotting to kill her!
6. Girls Nights
Lastly contrary to popular belief I am not a total introvert. I do love the occasional gab fest with my girls. I am the queen of appetizers. If you want an appetizer I am your girl! Anywho, just about twice a month I would get the kids down to bed then me and a few fellow gal pals would soak away our care and worries in cheap bottles of Riunite Lambrusco , deviled eggs, rotel and crab dip and nachos.
Tell me what activity do you enjoy doing to keep your sanity when your loved one is on a TDY or deployed?
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Lunches and dinners out with my daughter and weekends with family always help me during TDYs. Happy Birthday!!!
I never talked to myself or anything like that. But with kids under the age of 3 I hardly had time to think about him being gone. Only at night when the house was quiet. At that point I was too tired to go crazy :-)
I danced. I dance American Tribal Style (ATS) bellydance with a troupe that was made up of other military wives, called Hodge Podge Tribal. It kept me sane and got me out of the house when all I wanted to do was sit on the computer and obsess over whether or not the phone (or skype) was going to ring.
One of the awesome things about dance (ATS in particular) is that 1. You can dance with anyone who knows ATS, even if you don’t speak the same verbal language, and 2. It’s literally world-wide. I would be willing to bet that even if you can’t find an ATS troupe or dancer near you when you PCS, you can find a group of bellydancers. And bellydancers will almost always accept you into their group immediately. Who doesn’t like an instant peer group? If you’re like me and don’t quite fit in with the Scentsy/Pampered Chef/Coach bag “Proud Army Wife” crowd (not saying you’re not proud, but you don’t wear the rhinestoned tank tops), maybe you’re one of us. My friend wrote a great blog post on “alternative” spouses that explains this MUCH better, and it’s right here: http://salemthegoddess.com/styled-35/index.html
I agree with all of those!
I had my first deployment last year. My best friend’s fiance was also deployed so we had coffee dates 2+ times a week. This was my favorite. I tried to keep up with the FRG but it became a lot of drama, so I slowly left it. Depression kicked in pretty quickly, but I have a dog that takes me outside at least 3 times a day, and a friend that I met up with 2+ times a week. I really liked having the rest of the days to do whatever.
Towards the end of our short deployment I started running, but the whole time I was exercising. Even when depressed, it was pretty good for me.
I keep myself so busy during the week I have no time to think. But the weekends get me. So my son and I have date morning Sundays. We go to Starbucks and get coffee- for me, something different for him and whatever pastries we want. Then we just sit and talk.
I also talk to myself also..a lot! My three kids keep me pretty busy during the day though. We go out to lunch, to play dates or just down the street to the park to get out of the house. Once they are all in bed, is my downtime to sit and think. I usually download a book to my Kindle and read or I crochet. It’s the only time I get to really unwind from the craziness of our days.
Shopping, listening to good music and selling on ebay. I love selling.
I always love watching lifetime movies or hallmark movies while my love is gone. I’m usually not a crier but let’s get real when you’re worried about someone or miss them the most hardcore of women occasionally turn into puddles :) Those movies always gave my independent self an excuse to bawl like a emotional hormonally driven teenage girl :) Somehow watching a good love movie always reminded me that he will be home sooner than later and the wait is ALWAYS worth it :)
When the kids were smaller, we did alot of playdates with other moms and kids with a deployed dad. Now that they are in school, I am FINALLY back in school and working on my Master’s. It was a great distraction to keep me busy during my husband’s most recent deployment. It gave me a break to feel like an adult and do something productive for myself, and it gave the kids a chance to hang out with their much loved babysitters for games, movies, trampoline time, and arts and crafts. The teenage girls that babysit for us love arts and crafts, and this mom does not! It worked out well. We also grew to really love our Finger Food Friday. I let the boys eat on a blanket in the living room while we watche AFV, Wipeout, and/or a movie. Its amazing how well they eat raw vegetables when it comes with Finger Food Friday (and a few pizza rolls and chicken nuggets thrown in the mix!)
I did lots of reading. I read all kinds of books during the last deployment. The characters and plots were wonderful distractions from my loneliness.
We are about to go through our second deployment really soon, so thank you for these ideas! During my husband’s first deployment, Myspace was the main social networking site and I would create military related layouts for Myspace. It sounds silly, but I like designing and it really passed the time. This time around my kids are older so they will probably keep me busy 24/7. I see a lot of movie nights and weekend adventures in our future!
OMG Thank you, I am not the only one that talks to myself!!! The other thing I do is get really involved in my kids activities, I took on a huge role in scouts, it also got me more socialization too, but the downside is then they expect you to do more always!
I am currently going through a deployment so I treat myself once a month to a mani and pedi Its a way to relax and refresh myself. I do as well talk to myself or my dog and laugh when he looks at me funny but it makes me laugh and that’s what I need during the deployment.
First deployment, I talked to the dog! Lol! I would snuggle with her and tell her I missed Daddy so much! I would take her on walks and hikes, and to dog parks.
Second deployment, I had a toddler and was pregnant with our 2nd child. I did lots of retail therapy for our soon to arrive little Princess. I also spent a lot of time outdoors, playing with my son, and gardening with my mom!
My almost 2 year old son and I have been watching videos that Papa made before leaving for Bootcamp Feb 4th. He video’d himself reading books, saying the ABC’s, playing peek-a-boo, and doing silly things. Today my son asked to watch a video and while it was playing he held out the duplo blocks he was building and said “blocks” as if Papa was Skyping with us and could see his tower. Definitely made me tear up, but it’s so fun to play those videos and other family videos to help my son remember his Papa while he’s gone. And, yes, I’ll watch them even when my son isn’t around…so I don’t forget my husband’s sillyness and mannerisms and voice.
I like to bake and cook. So while my husband is deployed I try new recipes so when he gets home he has something new to try!
This last deployment was my first Army deployment so it was DEFINITELY different for me in some ways. My kids were a lot older this time around so that helped out a lot. As for keeping sane, well, that was a job in itself for me this time. Before our guys left, I was voluntold to be the FRG leader for the company. I was okay with it really because we had the smallest company and the least amount of people here. (Not that the ones here didn’t give me some drama though!)
I’m somewhat of a night owl, okay while my soldier was gone I was a COMPLETE night owl. I couldn’t sleep because he wasn’t there. So I would spend hours at night doing my online class work, (getting irritated beyond belief because they were expecting too much and not giving enough back), perusing Facebook and keeping in touch w/ our soldiers downrange. But when I was home by myself, which wasn’t often, I would end up talking to myself in a lovely British accent, dance like crazy with the music turned up as loud it would go, (Brand new subdivision, no neighbors at the time = SWEET) catch up on all of MY shows so I wouldn’t have to listen to the ridicule from my teenage sons, and read!! Oh, and the best part of course, getting to chat w/ the hubby during the day and having Skype “dates” oh yeah baby!! Those were the BEST!! We got to video chat almost every day, we only had our “dates” maybe once or twice a month. When things would get rough, and they did, I would always call my best friend back home so I could vent to her. I had a calendar too, that I marked the days off on but in the corner was 2 numbers. The first was how many days had passed and the second was how many days until he was home. I also kept track of major milestones on there, like birthdays, anniversaries, special events, good and bad. For me, it was just a matter of keeping busy!
I’ve only been through one deployment so far, but there were a couple things that kept me sane. First of all, I refused to stay at his base, so I went home to stay with family, that helped me so much, since I had a 6 month old son and needed help. Plus I was really scared! Another thing is getting out of the house as much as possible, like shopping, it’s the best therapy for me. Also I was keeping track of the days and weeks that passed, at first it seems like nothing but once you’re like half way through, it makes it easier because you realize that now the countdown is going down and you’ll see each very soon! :)
It helps me to know that I can do/eat whatever I want. DH & I enjoy some different things and it’s a great time for me to indulge guilt-free. I also enjoy spending all the time I want with friends/family without feeling like he’s feeling ignored. :-)
I watch a LOT of TV. Sounds bad but with no kids and only a few friends I don’t really do a lot. I’ve always even a homebody anyways. Hulu plus has become my BBF! I’m able to focus on whatever drama is happening on the shows. Makes the days fly by and I can get lost in the different shows!
My husband went TDY every month in Alaska for 7 months – what helped me was dinners with friends; bubble baths was really relaxing at night as well – I was jealous of his TDY time because he’d go down to Anchorage while I was up in Fairbanks. During deployment – same thing but more wine drinking with girl friends :)
I would do laundry with friends. We would go to each others homes and help knock out hte laundry, girl time and chores done. Dinner with friends and all the kids. It was awesome!
For the first two weeks after hubby deployed,I could do nothing or go anywhere do to the fact I could not stop crying. Then it got better for the next month I only cried when the kids wasn’t in the room, so I decided to smother the kids with my constant presence. Was easy with the 10 year old but the 13 year old, well lets say he just put up with me.They was both so sweet and understanding, we all had our days of missing him so much. We just kept reminding each other of something funny Dad would do, would get us to laughing then we would watch a good movie. So then we made a schedule for the week, movie nights, game nights when the weather permitted park days. Once a month we made a small local adventure (park, lake, state attractions) By the third month It was a much looked forward to routine. The kids and I got to Skype with him nearly everyday day, my computor was always on and sat on the kitchen table it faced the front door. He could watch the kids come home from school, then he would go back to sleep.We I got up in the morning he was there with me thanks to skype to get the kids ready for school, he could always hear us talking and we always talked to him even from the other room. There was many days that it was shut down or he just couldn’t be on skype, but we still talked to the computor as if he was still there listening. While the kids was at school, My friend and I would have either coffee days or scrap booking days and we collected or bought things to send to him and his unit , I sent one box a week every week. I made sure to always send my hunny a card, to remind him that he is much appreciated and loved. Sent him some of the kids school work papers so he could still see what they are doing and stay informed. There was days when I couldn’t hold back the tears , but I made sure I made a reason to get off of Skype, so he wouldn’t see me upset. We also had a calendar of the day he would be returning home, and of how many days he had been gone. Now looking back it was just 9 months ago he came home, didn’t seen like it was really that long.
We’re going through our first deployment now. I have 2 teenagers and a pre-teen (17, 14, 12). I had SO many concerns, but something was really bothering me. During family dinners, we were REALLY going to miss our soldier. Looking at his empty seat was going to be sad, knowing he wasn’t there to share in our conversation and learn how our day went. So, I came up with a solution and so far, it’s really working well and others who have heard me speak about it have started doing this. Daddy’s spot at the dinner table is now the puzzle spot. We ALWAYS have a puzzle going in his spot. Instead of seeing an empty spot at the table, we see a work in progress. It’s fun to watch the kids stop to put in a piece or two as they walk past, or to hover around the table as we all work on the puzzle. When we complete a puzzle, we take a picture post it to Facebook puzzle number (we’re on 13 now), number of pieces, title of the puzzle and the date we finished so Daddy can see our latest project! It’s become fun for our family and friends to follow, as well, and they’ve started sending us puzzles they want us to build. We also each take at least a picture a week, and we all keep a journal that we put our picture in. In it, we write about the picture. Halfway through deployment, we’ll send our journals to Daddy so he can see what we’ve been doing in our own handwriting with photos we’ve taken. Then, we’ll start a new journal to give to him when he gets home. If your kids are older, I would definitely suggest this, but this also shows just how much the kids have grown as you go along. Our journals are filled with quirky things that made us laugh during the week, things we did, or just things we wish he could have been there for. The kids told me that doing this makes them feel like he’ll be there, since he’ll get to share in these things when he gets the pictures and journals.
I love that “talk to myself” is one of your coping mechanisms! I never even think about how valuable that is because, well, I talk to myself every single day!
My key to coping: junk TV. My husband gives me a lot of crap for watching Housewives shows and other stupid TV, so I like to save them up and watch them when he’s in the field so I can hog the TV and not get guff for it!
I was able to do more stuff when my husband deployed. I moved back home to California and got together with families and friends for a girls night out. Took little road trips, have a movie night out with my kids and friends.
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