8 Things to Consider When Preparing For a Military Homecoming
It’s no secret that deployments are hard on military families and the best part is the homecoming. And while this reunion is an amazing time, many spouses get so absorbed by “the perfect homecoming” that they miss out on some of the major fun that one can experience leading up to that amazing moment. I recently asked some spouses to share their advice and compiled the top tips below. And tune in to a new epsiode of "Coming Home" Sunday at 10p/9c on Lifetime.
1. Don’t Plan Too Much
Many spouses (often those new to deployments) get caught up in schedules, homecoming parties, and trying to make sure everything falls precisely into place. While intentions are good many overdo it and by the time the homecoming arrives you have missed out on the excitement of just being excited. Plan the things that have no choice but to be planned, but let everything else fall into place. Your soldier will appreciate a less frazzled you when he comes home.
2. Hurry Up And Wait...Be Flexible
You know as well as I do that we have heard this cheesy but true quote so many times. The truth is, when it comes to homecoming arrival times --they change all the time. You will hear one date and in some cases another then another. You rush to do things only to have to keep waiting. Don’t plan for major events on the same “supposed” day of homecoming just in case dates change.
3. No Company Right Away Please
It’s understandable that friends and family are just as excited to see the returning service member. That being said as mentioned above, homecomings can equal a lot of waiting which can be tiring. You may want to refrain from party planning right away since timing is never certain. Give your service member a chance to unwind for a day or so and set a specific time for which friends and family can start to come over.
4. The Kids and Your Emotions
As hard as it will be, try to remain calm as your kids will feed off your emotion. If you are stressed and frazzled they will respond to that causing your day to be very hectic. Take deep breaths.
5. Utilize a Friend
Who else knows what you are going through better than one of your military spouse gal pals? I fondly remember sitting at my best friend's house on the eve of my husband’s homecoming as we all made signs to bring with us. We just sat around the table reminiscing about how far we had come since the beginning of the deployment. We had a few girls' cocktails and just enjoyed the company of each other which made the evening before homecoming go by so much faster.
Many spouses also suggested bringing a friend to the homecoming with you to help take pictures and possibly take the kids off your hands if it gets too late. I have seen many homecomings run into the wee hours of the morning.
6. The Outfit
I remember shopping for an outfit several times over the course of my husband’s fifteen month deployment only to end up not wearing any of the four outfits I had purchased. In the end I opted for my trusty cute JEANS! Now, I won’t say don’t shop for an outfit because what fun would a homecoming be without shopping for something cute for your honey to see you in, but I will say don’t stress over it. As one military spouse said "It’s just going to come off anyway”!
7. House Cleaning
I hear it all the time from tons of spouses “OMG I have to have the house immaculate before he comes home”! Was the house immaculate before he left? The truth is these guys have been in small CHU’s and dirty looking little pods modeled to be their temporary homes and most times are sharing it with other guys. As long as they have a clean bed and a stocked fridge don’t kill yourself trying to do crazy amounts of cleaning. I am sure he won’t notice that you didn’t clean the baseboards.
8. Prepare for Relaxation and ZZZZZ’s
Last but not least prepare for at least one to two days of relaxation and low-key days at home. Your spouse’s internal clock will be off due to travelling from a different time zone. Jet lag will set in and you might be truly surprised at the amount of time he will sleep. Don’t take it personally just enjoy staring at him sleeping and the fact that he is home.
What are your homecoming preparation tips?
**Tune In to "Coming Home" Sundays at 10p/9c on Lifetime.