4 Things No One Tells You Before Deployment

Soldier hugging his daughter before deployment | Finding Mandee

Deployment is, hands-down, one of the worst parts of military life. Everyone knows that. The days before deployment are some of the worst.

Those weeks and days before deployment are emotional and full of dread. Even if your service member is eager and willing to deploy, you can bet they are dreading saying goodbye.

Here are 4 things no one tells you about before deployment.

1. Deployment is Expensive

No one tells you that deploying is expensive!

I honestly lost track of how much money Heff spent before he left for this Europe rotation. But I know that just the things that he needed ended up costing more than $500.

He needed another ground uniform, European outlet adapters, new socks, a charging brick, new cold weather gear, toiletries, etc.

And that didn’t include the things that he wanted – the things that will hopefully make his time there somewhat enjoyable. Because we also bought a Nintendo Switch and games, some new books, a neck pillow, snacks, etc.

Thankfully, we had the money and were able to get these things. But there have definitely been times when we couldn’t afford these extra expenses. And I’m sure that we’re not alone in that struggle.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the Army provides everything you need, because getting ready for deployment is expensive!

Bags laid out and ready to go before deployment.
(Bags lined up to get loaded up before deployment.)

2. It’s Normal to Argue Before Deployment

Before deployment, you will argue with each other. No one wants to talk about it, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening.

Emotions are HIGH before deployment. There’s a lot going on at work and at home for service members. There’s a lot going on for spouses and children too.

Dreading an approaching deployment can almost be as bad as the deployment itself. It puts you in a state of constant anxiety. You feel like you need to make this time ‘count’. You may try to squeeze in too much and make things stressful or you may not plan enough and sit around the house getting on each other’s nerves.

The days and weeks before deployment are not going to be perfect. They’re not going to be a dreamy, love-y, honeymoon phase like you might hope they’ll be. It’s a sad and stressful time.

It’s true that you might also give each other extra attention and affection, but arguing before deployment is normal. Don’t let other spouse’s social media convince you that it’s not.

(On our trip to Dallas before he left. We had such a great time, we never guessed we’d be arguing about everything later that week.)

3. His Packing Will Wreck Your House

Packing for a 9-month trip isn’t an easy task, especially when the military is involved.

No matter how much you try to keep your house picked up, there will be gear, uniforms, packing lists, documents, `do items that are laying around half-done and the whole house is destroyed.

Don’t let it get to you and don’t think that you’re the only one. It’ll get cleaned up….eventually…..after they’re gone and you have nothing to do, but mope around and clean up.

Soldier packing before deployment.
(Most of the deployment packing mess was contained in the play room.)

4. Deployment Days Don’t Get Easier

I stupidly thought that the longer I lived this Army life, the easier it would get.

I was wrong.

Why on Earth did I ever think that deployments would get easier as my girls got older?

If anything, it’s WORSE – much, much worse!

Dropping their dad off this time was the worst ‘see you later’ we’ve ever had. My kids were devastated. I was devastated. It was just horrible.

I had planned to stay with Heff until they did roll call, before they got in formation, but my kids were already so upset that we didn’t even make it out of the parking lot. We all thought it was best if we left then instead of dragging out their misery for the next couple of hours. (And good thing we did, because we dropped him off at 1:00 and he didn’t get on the bus until after 7:00 that night!)

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that deployment days will get easier. I’ve been an Army wife for 11 years now and it still sucks.

Soldier hugging daughter before deployment | Finding Mandee
(This is the most heartbreaking picture I’ve ever taken, but it’s the reality for thousands of military kids.)

There is so much more to military life than you could ever know before you married into it. People like to say, “You knew what you were getting into.” But that is absolutely NOT TRUE.

Normally, I try to keep things on the blog upbeat and positive, but that’s not always the reality of military life. And I wish someone would have told me these things before deployment.

If you want to see what we’re doing during this deployment to stay busy, check out our new Deployment Bucket List or follow me on Instagram!

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