Being around the Army for almost 30 years has taught me two very important things:
- The only constant is change.
- Murphy’s Law exists throughout all the changes.
Being an Army wife and mom are the greatest experiences that I have ever had. With that said, there is one big key to success to ensure being independent in a dependent organization is a successful endeavor. Deployment, and being apart from one’s service member is one change that is always constant. Whether that time apart is for training, school, or deployment to a combat zone, the key to success is being prepared. Knowledge is power. Being prepared for any situation empowers one to not only survive, but thrive. Here are a few things to keep in mind during time away from your service member:
ID Card – Always know where it is and always be prepared with a power of attorney to get another one if something happens to it. Having a power of attorney is critical for deployment and the absence of your service member. Also make certain that it has not expired or is close to expiring while your service member is away. The ID card is your ticket to all of the things you need to survive on post with the basics of military life- food (commissary), medical services (clinics, hospitals, medical referrals), and access (your service member’s information).
Battle Buddy – This person is someone who knows your personal information in case there is a problem with you, your service member, your family, your kids, or your pets. You check in on each other daily to make certain all is well, especially if it is just you at home while your service member is away. It is great having a family member as your battle buddy. But, if your family member lives in Tennessee, you live in Georgia, and your spouse is in Afghanistan, and you have a medical emergency, there’s nobody to help when time is of the essence. Find someone you trust that lives nearby that you are confident enough with to have an extra key to your house, or at the very least, the number to someone who can be called to help if needed after the initial emergency is taken care of.
Power List of Important Numbers to YOU – Service member’s unit/chain of command, Red Cross, your office, battle buddy, kids’ school or daycare, doctors, next of kin/emergency contacts, service member, vet, babysitters, your personal contact information, landlord/ housing, etc.….those numbers important to YOU.
Remember Murphy’s Law is in effect. If Fido gets into a scuff at the dog park, Junior/Juniorette breaks his/her arm, baby is early, test results come back bad, the flu bug bites when the moving truck shows up, you lock your keys in the car or house, the washing machine overflows, the garbage disposal backs up and floods the kitchen, the car battery dies, there is record heat and the air conditioning goes out, the snow blower or shovel breaks and there is record snowfall, you need to be able to contact somebody quickly. ALL of this and more will happen when the service member is gone. Have a plan of action and numbers to contact for any and all of worst-case scenarios.
Through all of the moves and time spent away from my soldier, being prepared for independence is what made the Army life so enjoyable to me. Also, my family got so much bigger with all of my battle buddies that became a part of my extended family. The memories of being military spouses with our own “war stories” are worth it and make us all empowered to live life to the fullest. Your life begins with your ID card and grows with the battle buddies you make and the numbers on your list. This becomes your life story. Being prepared is the best way to prepare for Murphy’s visit.
Do you have “war stories” to share? How could you have been more prepared?