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When you have children and then your spouse deploys, you can easily get overwhelmed with the added responsibilities and stress. While the situation is temporary, you still have to make adjustments to your emotional, mental and practical day-to-day feelings and tasks. There may be uncertainty for you and your children.
When you know your spouse is about to deploy, you can prepare in advance to help make the transition easier. If you try to anticipate what might happen and discuss some of the issues you may face, deployment for the whole family goes a lot more smoothly.
First things first: Make sure your partner completes and/or updates the power of attorney, wills, and family care plan before deploying. You will need these documents to act on his or her behalf. If the command hasn't planned a legal assistance preparation day, contact Base Legal yourself.
Set up a joint account if you haven't already done so. Pay during deployment can fluctuate, depending on the environment. You can also get access to your spouse's Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) to make sure things are accurate.
Even if you don't have children in the military childcare system, ask to see if they offer drop-in care for those times when you need a few hours to yourself. It also helps to have a few reliable babysitters on call—just in case.
Getting in touch with the service member may not always be consistent. If your children are old enough to understand that, explain it to them. If they are not, you can try to record videos or audio from the deployment parent as young children might be comforted by the sounds of their deployed parent's voice.