As the summer of 2009 was approaching, I knew I had to do something. My husband was deployed yet again and I was in Germany with 2 small little boys. I couldn’t imagine going through a whole school-free summer by myself. I needed a break, a big one.
That was when I decided to go live with my parents for the summer. We took a Space-A flight out the end of May and stayed until the last week in August, a few weeks before school started again.
Moving back home was one of the best things I have ever done to help me get through a deployment.
There were so many benefits to going home for the summer. For one thing, I no longer had to be the only adult in the house. I had my parents right there to help me out. My brother and other family members and friends were also around to spend time with. I was able to plan an amazing summer taking my kids to some of the same places I went to as a child. I loved being able to do that with them. My husband even went there for his R&R and we were able to take a romantic trip for a few days while my parents watched our kids.
For me it was a big fat break from the regular deployment routine. I didn’t have to do everything for a few months. I got to enjoy time with my family and my parents were able to bond a little bit with my boys. It worked really well for us and helped speed up the deployment. By the time I got back to Germany we only had about 6 weeks before he came home.
Living with my parents worked for my family, but this temporary living arrangement doesn’t always work for everyone.
You need a good place to go that will be a comfortable home for you and your children. You will have a much harder time if the place you will be staying is more stressful than staying put at your current duty station.
Another thing to consider is what you are giving up. You might not have any other military friends nearby. I was OK with this but others might not be. There is a lot of support to be found in a military community and you give up some of that empathy when you move home for a deployment.
You also need to find out what will happen to your housing if you do leave. Some places will make you move out if you are gone for a certain amount of time. We were lucky in that we could keep our home in Germany, I just had to find someone to keep an eye on things while we were away. I knew when we went back everything would be there waiting for me. If your spouse is planning to ETS back home after the deployment, it might be a good idea to move home early and get settled. It can make the whole transition a lot easier when he comes back from deployment.
If your children are older, moving in with the grandparents might not be an option for you. You won’t want to pull them out of school. They won’t want to leave their friends. I know I wouldn’t be able to go home for a whole summer again because of the ages of my children. When we went home in 2009 they were only 2 and 4 years old.
You really have to think hard about if going home during a deployment is the right thing to do. For some people it is and for others it’s better to stay where they are.