• Michelle Dalgleish

Forces Family Life

Daddy leaves for deployment, but I should be used to it, shouldn't I ?


Forces Family


You never get used to your partner going on deployment, but what you are able to do is grow on your coping strategies the more deployments happen. Grant left for deployment yesterday. This is our first deployment as a family of five. The children have been very lucky to have daddy around for the last couple of years but Grant’s job role has changed and he has now been assigned to a ship, a ship that is already on deployment.

You may think to yourself you should be used to it, you picked this life and you knew what you were getting yourself into.

True

But at the same time my life has had to go into a different direction. There is no handbook to tell you what to expect from going from a married forces couple to a forces family. Plans, plans are often short lived and often planned out several more times. There is something that always happens unexpectedly and this is when I’m truly grateful for my support network around me. This past week our home has been taken over by piles of uniform and paperwork, these are constant reminders that deployment is around the corner. You never get used to this feeling the feeling that the dreaded goodbye is looming.

You may think to yourself you should be used to it, you picked this life and you knew what you were getting yourself into.

True

But what I didn’t know is how it felt with having a family. I never got told as a mummy of children in the forces about the resilience I would have to find and the emotional strength I would have to draw upon. The gap I would have to try and fill to make sure I could provide “a normal” environment for my children.

I didn’t know in the beginning the path I would take as a parent with two children requiring extra support. Therapies, appointments and upsetting diagnosis all fell on my shoulders. No handbook told me how my marriage will grow apart and then come together again, no handbook told me how you would struggle to feel connected to my spouse when they are away for 6 to 9 months at a time.

You may think to yourself you should be used to it, you picked this life and you knew what you were getting yourself into.

True, I did.

I always thought though I could have my career, but my choices in life come second to supporting my husbands career path and you are completely powerless to the needs of your husbands service. I could never be prepared enough for the behavioural problems that follow a deployment and more so when daddy is coming home. It takes your children a while to adjust to the new routine and its just the same for when you become a family again.

What I’m trying to say is that as a family you never get used to it, you never know entirely what you’re getting yourself into and it’s hard work. There is no handbook about transitions within the forces life, no handbook to tell you the emotional rollercoaster your will ride and no handbook to tell you how to keep things together. You could be lucky to have family around you but many forces families move around, building new friendships of support is a must.

Before we were married of course deployment was hard but deployment with children, a house, responsibility’s is a different level and I don’t think you truly know at the beginning what you are getting yourself into.

I am incredibly proud of my husbands journey, I am eternally grateful for my supportive parents and close friends around me and I’m incredibly lucky that the forces provides us as a family with a comfortable lifestyle. Will I ever get used to the lifestyle ? Probably not.

Much Love

Shelly XXX


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