I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
If I had a choice between being the deployed soldier or the stay behind spouse, I’d choose the soldier and not because I am a soldier. Staying behind is so much harder. You can argue with me about dodging bullets and enduring extreme heat, but I’m telling you, being the stay behind stinks.
Not only are you worrying about your spouse dodging bullets and enduring the extreme heat, but you’re playing the single parent, organizing the budget for two peeps on either sides of the world, assuming all the household duties of a team, and trying to hold down your own job. I’ve alluded to these difficulties when I wrote about my civilian spouse…
Then I had to play the part. Haus took a last minute trip to Nevada for his job and I’ve been playing the stay behind all week.
Did I mention, I stink at playing the stay behind? Day one was awful. Kids decided not to nap. I had to beg one of my friends to loan me their sweet 12-year-old as a sitter so I could teach my Bradley class. Ugh. Second day was O.K. except for trying to start the truck and realizing the kiddos were playing with the lights… yep, dead battery. Found out who my nice neighbors were after pleading for jumper cables and a running car. At some point in the week, Zeke decided he not only despised resting his eyes during the day, but wouldn’t do it until he’d screamed his head off for 55 minutes on average. I think I was on the fourth day of this screaming fit when I called and complained a little to Haus.
Guess it’s payback for all those deployments, right? he joked.
Ouch. Double ouch. Could I really complain about five whole days alone with my kids and house and dog when he’d done everything for months at a time? How about all of my field time prior to the deployments or even my recent National Guard drill requirements? Eeekkk. I laughed half-heartedly and shut my mouth after his comment.
I tell you all of this for two reasons. One, Haus is probably going to have to go back to Nevada in the near future so please pray for my sanity and my children. Poor little dudes will have to put up with me and no daddy back-up.
Two, military spouses are the most selfless people I know. Incredible. Inspiring. I could go on and on about the men and women that support their military heroes with little to no recognition. I tell you all of that because I have to say thank you. You know who you are and if you are reading this and you’ve ever played the stay behind for a service member, I just want to say thank you. You’re my hero. I whine about five days and you’ve done years. Please, tell me your secrets to survival!
Gotta go… Haus just got home. Hurrah!!