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There are so many things to do before your spouse leaves on deployment. It’s such a stressful time. So many appointments and errands to run and the time just slips away from you. But you did good! You updated the will, got a new power of attorney, and made sure your ID card is up to date. You washed his socks, purchased new t-shirts, and gotten new name tapes sewn. Everything is checked off his to-do list. But what about yours? Don’t let him leave without completing the milspouse deployment checklist!
How Does the Milspouse Deployment Checklist Differ From His Checklist?
Over many deployments I’ve learned a lot about what I wish I’d settled before Mr. CrazyMilspouse left. I can’t wait to speak to him on the phone and Skype dates are the absolute best part of my week (or month). I love hearing about what he’s up to and keeping him updated with our lives back home. The worst is wasting precious phone time on household business. While some events pop up out of the blue, most things can be discussed beforehand. It makes the whole deployment that much more pleasant.
Milspouse Checklist #1: Finances
Finances should be first and foremost in pre-deployment talks. While I know you’ve been wise and have access to all accounts and set up auto payments when able, there really is so much more to discuss.
You may have a budget, but have you discussed how it’ll change when you’re one family member down? In my house I spend about half as much on groceries when my husband deploys. Our take out budget does seem to rise since I’m not much of a cook and I like to avoid it as much as I can.
Milspouse Deployment Checklist #2: Post Deployment Leave
Talk about if you want to go somewhere on post-deployment leave. It’s so soon after they come home that if you want to go somewhere you should save for it throughout the deployment.
This is also a good time to talk about homecoming expectations. Does he want his parents there? Will he want your parents there? Does he want to do something big or does he want McDonalds and Game of Thrones? Some couples are on the same page with this one and for others this may be a sticking point. Better to get it over with face to face than to argue about it just before he comes home.
Milspouse Deployment Checklist #3: Vehicles
There’s always the usual things with cars, make sure payments are made, insurance switched to storage to save money, and keep on a maintenance schedule.
On my husband’s first deployment I let his truck sit in the driveway for 9 months without moving. When he came home the dang thing wouldn’t start. Not only that, but we couldn’t even jump it. We ended up having to buy a new battery. Not the end of the world, but it’s easily avoided. Now I drive his car to church every Sunday. Problem solved.
Milspouse Deployment Checklist #4: Resource List
Create a list of go to numbers that you’ll need. Not just emergency ones! Get the contact info for Ranger Joe’s (the big off post clothing and sales in Columbus, they ship anywhere). It’ll come in handy when he needs new knee pads or other random gear that can’t get at the Post Exchange.
Figure out the best airport shuttle service. I find that I have more visitors during deployment than at any other time.
Make a list of bucket list activities that you don’t think your spouse wants to do. I’ve been to Forks, WA, sang karaoke at Bluebird Cafe, and wandered around Magnolia Silo. It’ll give you something to look forward to and this way you won’t have any regrets when you get orders to the next duty station.
Basically, I just want you to think of the things that you think you can deal with as it comes up. Those are the kind of things you can discuss beforehand and keep your phone calls for the fun stuff!