I started to reply with an essay, but then I thought other people might be wondering too, and perhaps might find what I was going to say useful. So I'm posting it here, in no particular order:
I have two routines. One for when Mr Accident is away, and one for when he is home.
I used to procrastinate on "his" household jobs, refusing to empty the bins or clean the floor until they were in dire need of attention, then finally doing them with a sooky attitude, a massive grudge against his work, and usually spiced with delightful profanity.
Every time I looked at the filthy floors or almost overflowing bin, (both kind of hard to ignore) I would be reminded about his absence. It wasn't making life happy.
|Mr A and Peanut in 2009, just before he deployed for 8 months|
Keeping occupied is vital. Find something that excites you and keeps your hands and mind busy. This is why I bought chickens, why I took up knitting, why I made hair clips, why I began to bake bread, and why I started the Saturday playgroup (do I need to go on? I could...)
They are all hobbies that interest me and keep my mind occupied ticking over with plans and improvements, especially during the evening when I would normally be pining for Mr A.
I still have difficulties on the weekend. It tends to drag on horrendously. I try to plan a special event every weekend so I have something to look forward to, even if it's a trip to a new park for a picnic lunch, or a visit to my grandpa for morning tea. When all else fails, I throw myself on the mercy of my friends and beg to come over. Classy.
Look after yourself.
I am a MESS when I don't eat properly. An absolute mess. Almost certifiable. It's easy to let the business of food slide when you're cooking for just one or two (or even three, in my case!) So I make an effort to eat three square, healthy meals a day, and plenty of snacks too. I try to keep that blood sugar stable. Unfortunately this keeps my waist stable too, but thems the breaks.
Exercise is a lifesaver. I'm a big fan of walking. It's cheap and easy to do with young kids, you won't tire yourself out too badly and be incapacitated for the rest of the day (ugh, pump classes), and if you put on a couple of bursts of speed you get a lovely punch of endorphins with your change of scenery.
Keeping Daddy in the mind of the kids, especially when they young, can be very tricky. Before Mr A deployed, when Peanut was four months old, I plied him with wine and had him read her favourite books on video. They are HILARIOUS. Tipsy daddy is even funnier and more witty than sober daddy. We would watch a story together a couple of times a week. Skype is also a winner, if that's available.
|Daddy-in-the-computer. Pants optional.|
|Paper daddy, laminated to protect against enthusiastic smooching|
Guard your thoughts
When your other half is away, and you are stuck at home with the daily grind, it's easy to get thinking about what fun they might be having (and with who?) and how tough it all is on you.
Just don't. Don't.
It's your brain, you get to think what you want. Choose to think positive thoughts. Watch positive TV shows. Listen to positive music.
But don't be too hard on yourself if you happen to spend the evening of your first wedding anniversary sobbing in the corner on the kitchen floor. Hey, we've all done it at some time... right?
Find someone to talk to
Having someone to listen makes a big difference. Everyone needs to feel validated - to feel like the things they do actually matter to someone! That's normally a role that a husband would fill, but when he's away it can get difficult to find someone to fill that gap. Suitable friends can be hard to find, (and can get tired of the daily minutiae I would normally foist on my husband!) so a diary or a blog is a good substitute.
When all else fails, I call my mum and make her listen.
I also like having people in the same boat as me. I made one of my best friends when our husbands deployed at the same time, leaving us both home with new babies (hi Kate!) These people don't necessarily need to be geographically co located, just someone who understands what you are on about when you vent. You know, like a random woman on the internet who you can email with questions and receive a whole essay in reply. *ahem*
My lovely corespondent also asked, does it get better? Well, yes and no (helpful, aren't I?)
You get used to it.
But I'm not going to pretend it's easy.
And every deployment is different.
I think everyone just does the best they can on the day they have, and then wakes up and does it all again tomorrow.
And now, finally, I am going to direct you over to my friend Posie's blog, to read her lovely posts about her husband coming home. Because every cloud has a silver lining!
Has anyone had to cope with an occasionally absent husband? Especially one who is gone for long periods? If I've missed any advice, share it below...