Coming home from training, deployment or unaccompanied tour of duty is always difficult for everyone. This is especially true when the Service Member has been away for a significant period of time. But there are a few common pieces of advice that Military Spouses can share with their Service Members, that can help make reintegrating into family life a little smoother. So go ahead and share these tips!
1. Go with the flow. Tell your Service Member that when he/she gets home, he/she will notice that a lot has changed. Help him/her to understand that the kids have matured, house rules and routines have changed and everyone is use to having the at home parent call the shots. You are not used to collaborating your Service Member and he/she needs to understand this and take time to observe the new rules of the house and lay low for a while.
2. Don’t try and change anything too fast. Suggestions are great but a Service Member should take time to observe and wait a bit before he/she makes them. Things have been running smoothly, like a well oil machine, without the Service Member and sometimes, a Military Spouse can feel resentful if the Service Member starts changing and challenging all the rules and routines. Tell your Service Member to be slow to make suggestions and to be thoughtful about when and how he/she does it.
3. You are going to be asked to help out… a lot. When your Service Member returns home, he/she doesn’t quite know how to fit in or how to be helpful. Some Service Members might ask for guidance and others just feel lost. Share with your Service Member that you will be asking for help and giving direction about how he/she can fit into family routines. You are going to need to be patient as your Service Member figures out how to navigate being back in the family dynamics.
4. Don’t be shocked by how mundane and routine daily life can be. Coming back to family life can be a difficult adjustment for the Service Member: less routine, less intensity, less stimulation. The Service Member is use to a dynamic and challenging environment where he/she has had tremendous responsibility and may have been supervising others. It is not uncommon for Service Members to feel that home life is a bit boring. Realize that it is going to take time for him/her to adjust to the calmness of his/her new environment and to learn to hang with the family.
Remember, reintegrating into the family, the community and society at large takes time. Just know, that with love and support on both of your ends, your family life and relationship will be back to a comfortable and familiar place in no time.
Rhonda Milrad, Founder