(Thomas is 3.5 inches taller, 95% potty trained and knows his letters, numbers 1-20 and can have a conversation with you AND Abby is not just a newborn... she has 3 teeth, is crawling EVERY where and is babbling up a storm); the deployed spouse has seen new people, places and things; and the spouse that stayed behind has developed a routine that works for them. Most of the time these changes aren’t drastic changes, they’re simply things like a change in dinner time, or shopping at a different store, or using a different brand of coffee. Experts tell us that it is important for the returning military member to keep in mind that any changes that were made were done so with the family’s best interests in mind. Some of these changes may be ones they can learn to live with; others may need some compromise.
It’s equally important for the other spouse to remember that the military member has in their mind a picture of what the family was like when they left. In our specific case, Thomas was just beginning to potty train but also was in a "terrible twos" stage. Abby, on the other hand, was only 3 weeks old and we had barely figured out her feeding schedule when it was time for Brian to leave. It may be difficult for them to return to a house full of changes. Easing them back into things and not dumping every last change on them at one time can help with this.
Spouses should also keep the lines of communication open while renegotiating their roles. One spouse has had to handle most, if not all, household responsibilities during the deployment. The couple should discuss what roles each person will take on now that the military member is back home. For us, that is one of the easier things to adjust to... I can't wait to hand back yardwork, handling all bills and money issues, fixing EVERY thing when it breaks, putting together EVERY thing when there is a new toy, Christmas tree responsibility, car/truck stuff and my least favorite... clipping Zigs nails. What is harder to transition and adjust to is having a 2nd set of hands around but him not knowing the routine yet or Abby not fulling comfortable yet with Daddy. I know that will smooth out in time, but it is something I'm having to remind myself of quite often. I'll admit, I have lost my cool and come unglued (a little) but Brian and I just have to continue to work through it and we both know that our "normal" will be back sooner rather than later.
Children can have a wide array of emotions as well. They’re excited, yet anxious, and maybe a little scared. They want to see their
Everyone should remember to keep a positive attitude during the readjustment phase. Everyone’s been through a lot during the deployment and worked hard to make things function well. We are trying to take the time to enjoy each other’s company now that we are a family of four again, & rediscover one another (and even get to know one another like Daddy & Abby are doing).