Why Do I Have My Shit Together Better While He’s Deployed?

When my husband’s gone, I do it all. I get into a routine that helps me stay busy so that I don’t have the time to mope and miss him and drown in my self pity. So I set rules for myself and the kids and make sure we stick to them. It’s the only way I stay sane. Organized is the only way to survive a deployment for me. I become this machine, going through the motions; and make sure there are plenty of motions.

I am Super Girl.

I create a tight budget and stick to it. All the bills are set to auto pay and those that aren’t I have reminders.

I work out and eat healthy. I find a way to make sure the kids are busy and I work out, fantasizing about the face he’ll make when he sees my progress. And I focus on how proud I’ll make him when he sees that not every dish I make has cheese and pasta. And I’m proud that I’m making meals that are keeping  me and my family healthy.

I meal plan for the week. I look up new recipes and plan the week. Sometimes the entire month. I make lists for grocery stores weeks in advance. By the time he gets home I’ve stocked the freezer full of meals to just heat and go with very little extra stress. It just clicks into place. Me in the kitchen while he’s gone just feels like happiness. (It also helps that I pretty much always have happy music playing while I’m cooking. Thanks, Alexa.)

I paint the house and buy furniture. Mostly because he hates doing these things, and hates when I do them. The process is what he can’t stand; not the result. So I do the things he hates, but I think need done.

When he’s gone, I am my most efficient me.

And then he comes home.

And it all goes to shit. I start using the meals in the freezer and don’t replenish.The budget goes all to hell because I forgot how much he eats. And drinks. And while his happiness at healthy food is wonderful… it’s nothing like the pride in making your man groan when he eats cheesey goodness you’ve made him. My kids eat chicken nuggets and french fries. They eat fruit sacks for lunch. They buy lunch at school.

So why do I have my shit together better when he’s deployed? Because I have to. If I don’t, my kids starve, the house goes to shit, we wear dirty clothes, we’re broke and shit gets moldy. I have to ask myself pretty regularly: Do I really want to live through this shitty deployment adding stress on myself? Because no one is going to pick up my slack.

I have no safety net.

I may be a much less efficient me while he’s home. I’m prone to being lazy and eating junk. Netflix and Chill isn’t just a funny saying in our house; it’s life. I eat like it’s my job to gain 50 lbs in two weeks. (And I am excellent at my job.) Bills get forgotten. Laundry piles up.

But when he’s home, I’m the happiest version of me. Fair Trade. Because Supergirl never gets laid.

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