Reuniting After a Deployment: Full Of Joy, But Stressful Too
When my husband returned home from his last deployment, we held hands for approximately 48 hours straight. Since he got back on a Saturday, we had all weekend to enjoy each other’s company, and the only schedule we had to adhere to was the baby’s. We stayed up late and napped on the couch. We ate at his favorite restaurant and enjoyed a home-cooked meal that I prepared, a treat for my husband who normally does all of the cooking. We took our son to the pool, the park and the farmer’s market.
Those first few days together were magical. But then reality set back in. Exhausted from having to take care of everything while my husband was away, I was eager to hand off half of the responsibilities I had been juggling. By the time Monday rolled around, I expected my husband to pitch in with the baby, the dog and the house, but he didn’t know how to jump in and help. He had fallen out of step with the way we did certain things in the house and was unfamiliar with the new routines that evolved in his absence, the ones I created in order to function as a single parent for all of those weeks.
Suddenly my husband’s homecoming felt more stressful than blissful. It was like we weren’t on the same page. In my anticipation of his arrival home, I had forgotten just how hard the adjustment period after a deployment can be. So I reached out to some other military wives for support, wondering if homecomings were challenging for other families. Here’s what they told me:
“The hardest thing has to be getting used to sharing a space with someone and making decisions together. [We are both] so independent when he is gone, so when we are back together it can be hard adjusting to thinking like "us" again.”
“The hardest part is definitely the transition of sharing responsibility at home. One of the highlights of his return is having help with baby-wrangling, chores and emergencies (because there are always those!). But just as much as I need a break from doing everything, he needs time to decompress from months away. Getting settled to where the workload feels balanced takes a little time.”
It took a couple of weeks, but our life together eventually returned to normal—well, a new normal. Thankfully, it always does.
Army Wives returns to Lifetime, Sundays 10pm/9c