Home-comings are tough on all involved. Spouses, especially, have learned to cope without us, and now, suddenly, we no longer know where we fit in the daily grind of chores, kids, and homework.
We might feel as if we have missed out on the daily interactions with our children and may be mourning that lost time. It might also feel as if the rules that we thought were in place have been discarded, and we might feel as if our opinion is no longer valid.
We also don’t know if anyone will understand what we’ve been through, and we are sometimes reluctant to talk about it, perhaps further creating distance. This can especially be true if we are struggling with any type of emotional distress or post-trauma issues.
How To Help Both You And Your Loved Ones
Good Communication Is The Key
Engage in active conversations with your spouse and children, really getting to know what their lives are about, what is new, exciting, or challenging. The more you can ask and learn about their interests, the more interested they can become in your time away too.
Acknowledge And Seek To Better Understand The Challenges Of Home Life
Yes, there are huge differences between service life and home life. Different battles involve different challenges. It is important to be aware that things have shifted slightly, and have open discussions about roles and chores with both spouses and kids (making sure to appreciate the hard work of the spouse who stayed home).
Expect Some Mood Swings As All Family Members Readjust
Know that transition phases like this are sort of like the grief process: there will be ups and downs, moments when you think you’ve “got it all together”, and them moments where it all seems to fall apart again. It will get easier.
For more information and help, check out my accompanying article: Returning Home To Family On Long Island From A Military Or Service Tour.
My wish for you today is that you find peace in this new part of your "old" life, and that you reach out for help if needed
Kathleen Dwyer Blair, LCSW, BCD, Director