Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Homecoming Again

After 4 previous deployments, and homecomings, and R&R's, I'd like to say that I am always prepared for reintegration.

Instead, what I know, is that every reintegration is different, and each one comes with its own challenges.

Will he be different?  Will we get right back in the swing of things?  How will the kids react?

So, I am sure I am not the only one who needs to know or needs a refresher course on reintegration.

I know to take things slow.

We wait about two weeks before he takes on disciplining the kids.  He's been gone for a year, he doesn't need to start jumping all over them because they didn't pick up a mess or the dog hasn't been fed.

What else do we need to know?  What worked well for you?  What was the biggest problem that you faced during the reintegration process?  What was the best thing your husband did for you when he came home?  (The CSM mentioned giving Gunner "shopping" time before he came home.  How could I argue with that and I immediately put money in his account!  What's good from Afghanistan?)

How did you help the kids readjust to having their dad home?

Please let me know how reintegration worked or didn't work for you!


ArmyWifey021010 said...

When my husband came home from his past deployment, to help his reintigration(I know I spelled that wrong lol) process I had him do things with me. Ie: cook dinner together,walk the dogs together, so on and so on. Just so he knew my routine. Then slowly we would get used to him being home and we were able to pick up where we left off. I noticed he doesn't like to be told how to do something when he gets home. I let him adjust slowly, and I neve force him to do something. Now we don't have kids yet, but from my own experience of my dad coming home from a 15 month deployment when I was younger. My mom would encourage my dad to take part in mine and my sisters softball activities. It helped us girls and my dad readjust. I hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

Hello ABW:

Something that my DH and I did was do things together with our son in the beginning but shortly after my DH's return, the two of them would do something special like go on a hike or lunch and a movie, that sort of thing. It really helped our son and was good for my DH as well. I am an Army brat too and I fondly remember my dad returning from Vietnam and after the third day of his return, he took me, my sister and brother out shopping. He bought us each a small Kodak camera. I have always remembered that he wanted to buy us something special to mark his return home. Of course, we all spent one on one time with Dad as well in the following weeks until everything fell into place.

The Medrano Family said...

My hubby just bought an Afhan Rug. It's actually really nice! He said he's going to bring it home on R&R.

Just Another MilSpouse said...

I agree, they are ALL different because we are at different points in our lives for each. Either new babies, new financial issues, new milestones with the kids, new schools, etc.

The most important thing I have to remind myself of every time is to givehim his space. He needs to be able to walk away if things get stressful, he isn't used to it. The kids arguing, me before my morning cup of Joe, homework time... it's all something that he has not been around in a while and he may need to step away from time to time.

Amanda said...

I second the comments about making sure he gets time with everyone individually. I think that is really important. Also, the one about making sure to carve out some time for him to spend by himself if he wants it. Some deployments (and some jobs) have less personal space involved than others; he may or may not have had any time to himself over the past year. Just walking through his house while nobody else is around could be a huge deal to him.

I'm a relatively new reader, so I don't know how long you were at your current duty station before he left. If he's not very familiar with the area, maybe find a couple of new-to-you places to take everyone after he returns. It's only natural that the kids are going to be inspired to tell him their "this one time" stories when you go to your usual haunts. He's going to want to hear those stories, but I think it can sometimes be a reminder of all that he missed out on while he was away. A trip to a new state park or trying out a new restaurant (or whatever) gives everyone the opportunity to start rebuilding whole family memories while giving your husband a little break from the reminder that he hasn't been around.

Steph said...

Im so glad I came across your blog. I am trying to learn as much as i can since my husband is soon to be leaving for BCT & AIT. We are looking forward to starting the next chapter of our life together. For therapeutic purposes, I started my own blog today. I placed a link to your blog on mine, so people can see it. If you care to visit my blog, and maybe give me a few pointers, i would appreciate it.


Jessica said...

I completely agree, each reintergration is completely different.
When my hubby returned from his 2nd deployment, we tried to do as much as possible together so he would be familiar with how we were doing things at the time. It helped some, but our youngest child had a very hard time. She only wanted mommy. (she was 14 months when he left and 2 1/2 when he returned) That was very hard on my husband. It actually took me leaving the house so it was just the 2 of them together for her to finally let go of me.
Not only did I want him to have time with each of us individually, I wanted to make sure he had some time to himself as well.

As far as gifts from Afghanistan, I just got a beautiful throw from there and some great new tennis shoes. ;)