Things to have when your spouse is deploying


When a service member deploys or prepares to head out to sea, there are checklists to ensure they are fully prepared to accomplish the mission.


The checklists us spouses know about and assist with usually involve legal paperwork, family care plans, home maintenance items and finances.


Here are some of my "can't live without" deployment checklist items that are not on any traditional checklist for those of you getting ready for your first deployment. If you have been through a deployment or going through one now, please feel free to add to this list:


My Smart Phone - I like knowing I can be anywhere including the commissary and still receive a Facebook chat message or Skype call. Brilliant!

Virtual Calendar - As much as I am a planner, I also love to be spontaneous. I can't be spontaneous though if I have no idea of the commitments that cannot be changed. Having my calendar on my phone and a printed version helps me stay organized when planning out significant dates, appointments, mini-vacations, block leave, etc.

Written budget with Plan of Attack for Saving - An afternoon of retail therapy can derail any good intentioned homecoming leave reunion. My written budget in the form of a simple Excel spreadsheet helps me stay on track. We decided how much we wanted to save in advance and we deduct that amount FIRST. I encourage you to do the same and do not touch that money. No. Matter. What.

A Deployment Goal(s) - Each time my spouse went out to sea or downrange I set new goals. It helps keep me focused on something positive. Some goals you might consider: work towards improving a skill you already know your good at, join a gym, or commit to paying down any debt you may have. Write down a list of possible goals and make it a priority to set and accomplish at least one new goal this deployment. Include a reward as well!

A clock set to the "in theater" time zone - I look at this clock at least 4-5 times a day, it's so much easier than trying to convert time zones in my head! I know in an instant the time and can better imagine what he might be doing. It helps me stay connected.


I also asked some military spouses and one veteran their advice; here is what they had to say:


"...a Battle Buddy, someone who lives in town who I can count on for emergencies." - Bianca Strzalkowski

"Frozen food and paper plates for the first week until you've developed a new deployment routine!" - Ann Marie D. - Household 6 Diva


"...a backup handy man to help with something you can't quite do on your own at home." - Anastasia R.


"...a good support system thru multiple avenues like play group, craft groups, running club, church groups, etc. and I feel volunteering helps pass the time and takes the focus off of me and uses my energy for something positive rather than sitting around depressed because my spouse is deployed." - Rebecca G.


"...a plan for doing United Through Reading." - Doug Nordman - The Military Guide


"...a bottle of his deodorant/ cologne" - Tiffany F.


"Get a battery tender for any cars you won't be driving, or make a weekly plan to drive them. Also, having a roadside assistance program is essential..." - Erin C - Aim High Erin


One last item I almost forgot: My Keurig!


What can't you live without during a deployment?


Related story:
New Deployment New You
Turning Deployment Into a Personal Growth Opportunity


Aim High Erin
To add onto my suggestion above - Battery Tenders work with motorcycles as well! Perfect for the homefront spouse who doesn't/won't ride their deployed spouse's bike while they're gone. Just turn over the engine every now and then to keep the fuels moving through the system!
Wendy Poling USAA

Erin, If only I had known about Battery Tenders during that deployment! Great tip!