Whether you are transitioning back into your home life after a lengthy deployment or a few weeks away at training, the reintegration process is important and sometimes difficult for the servicemember and their family. In this series I will be providing some helpful and resourceful information to help you and your family throughout the reintegration process. Regardless of what you are struggling with; health issues, emotions, stress or just having trouble getting back into a routine, reintegration can be a slow process and it is important to understand that the adjustment will take some time.
In the first part of the three part series, I discussed the emotions and feelings that are associated with transitioning back into home life. In the second part I discussed ways to control and manage stress as you and your servicemember are transitioning back to pre-deployment life. And in this final third part, I will discuss about fitting back into normal life with your family.
So the stress is being managed a little bit better by this time. Or maybe you are still trying to cope and manage the ongoing stress of life and transition. This is all normal, and we all deal with stress in different ways.
The biggest transition for us was the return of my husband from deployment and seeing him struggle with fitting in. He had gone through many transitions in his military career, but this was the first as a National Guard soldier. Coming back from deployment and being pushed into quickly trying to fit in as a civilian was difficult for him. Out of work and still in “combat mode”, what was he supposed to do?
As his spouse and the one who was “running” the homefront for over 8 months alone, it was even difficult for myself to transition into letting him help around the home and letting him fit into normal home life. So I guess you can say we were both trying to figure out who we were, where we belonged and if there was any place we could fit in. I no longer had to do it all alone and I needed to step back, down and let him in.
Like the seasons that change, families constantly change. In this case your family is transitioning into its next season, post deployment. Fitting into this change isn’t exactly the easiest of tasks and like many other things in life that change, this one can be proven to be one of the most difficult. What are some ways to settle back into normal home life? Is there any guarantee that things will be normal again? There are many ways to help with the transition and although there is no sure way to tell whether it will be a smooth run or normal again, taking one step at a time can help ease the stress of reintegration.
Be patient…don’t expect for everything to be back to normal within the first few days, not even first few weeks.
Communicate about the changes…open up with each other and the family. Set your expectations as to what each family member should be doing to help.
Be realistic…perhaps your servicemember wants to jump right back into the routine, but chances are – they are not as eager as you are. Be realistic as to what they can handle and take on as they return. Another place where practicing patience helps!
For more on Angela Caban, visit her website at www.angelacaban.com.
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