My husband has been deployed for 4 months now. Looking back gives the impression that time has flown by, but as it is passing it seems excruciatingly slow. A few more months to go, but we are on the downslide now.
Lessons Learned: Month 4
- Put yourself at the top of the list – Don’t just give it lip service, do it! You’d think I would have figured that out in month 1, but for some odd reason human nature turns us into martyrs. We consistently slip to the bottom of the priority list, the section that we never get to. We tell ourselves that it’s only temporary and that sacrifices are necessary. Sleep – who needs it, meals – sitting or sometimes eating is optional, breaks – yeah right, relaxation – what’s that? If we are not careful, we sacrifice ourselves right into burn-out.
- Approach a deployment as a 2nd job – We absorb dual parental responsibility, extra household responsibility and sometimes additional family responsibilities. In addition we need to set aside time to communicate and care for our partner from afar. Whether that takes the form of email, phone, Skype, mailing packages or all of the above, it is an additional time commitment that wasn’t there before. I received some very wise counsel this month from a brutally honest confidant. “You were operating with a full plate before your husband left. How did you honestly expect to absorb all of these extra demands and still keep everything in the air?” Well, I guess I never thought about it that way. Now I will.
This month’s take-aways; self-care is non-negotiable, delegate, defer or delete responsibilities to make room for extra demands.
Today I am grateful for the biggest lesson I have learned so far: Taking care of myself is the foundation for a fulfilling, purposeful life.