My husband and I have experienced two extensive deployments togetherthe first as newlyweds and now, as parents to four. It is not lost on me that our deployment experience, so to speak, is not as substantial as other military families. But the sacrifice and hard are absolutely the same.

Around the 2-month mark of each deployment, it really hits you just how long 9-12 months is. It’s the 2-month mark when you start to establish a routine and settle.

It’s the 2-month mark when your kids just miss their dad and you miss your best friend. It’s that 2-month mark when it’s really easy to set up camp in resentment. You know, when you take another sick kid to the doctor while your spouse messages you a scenic view from a European town square (ask me how I know!).

RELATED: We’ll Get Through Daddy’s Deployment Together

Twelve years ago it was a jar of spaghetti sauce that I just couldn’t open that made the tears come. Today? When the diaper pail broke as I was putting a diaper in it. I’m not going to pretend like this deployment is easy because it is anything but. And while the tears today happened because of the diaper pail, it really wasn’t about the diaper pail, the same way that 12 years ago they weren’t about a jar of spaghetti sauce.

Deployments are hard. For us here at home. For the family across the country who want to help, but geographically just can’t. For the soldier abroad.

But here is what I know. Deployments are even harder if you make camp resentment your home base. They are harder if you don’t allow the tears to come when the diaper pail (randomly) breaks. They are harder if you don’t take breaks before you need them and if you don’t ask for help before you need it.

My best advice? Make the pointed effort to be glad that your spouse is experiencing an exciting thing. Sure, it sucks to miss out on it, but if your husband is like mine, he would trade fixing a diaper pail with his scenic square view any day, any time. You’re going to spend some time in camp resentment, sure, but make it a quick visit. Remember, misery loves company.

RELATED: What I Didn’t Know When I Became a Military Spouse

Cry when you need to. Let your kids see you cry. Cry with them. Show them it’s okay to not be okay and to show emotion. It’s hard guys! And that’s okay. I have had so many amazing conversations with my crew in these past two months. So many learning opportunities.

Hire a babysitter. Enroll in daycare. Get yourself a village. You can do anything, but you simply cannot do everything. Read that again. And you shouldn’t have to. You have to prioritize your sanity if you have ANY chance of moving beyond survival mode. Have something that is for you only.

Here’s to being just over two months in to this crazy rotation. It feels like it’s been a whole lot longer than it has been. We got some time to go over here, and we will all be okay. But I absolutely know this crazy train stays on the tracks a heck of a lot better when my husband is here helping me co-pilot.

Originally published on the author’s blog

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Ali Van Arsdale

Ali is an elementary school teacher, mom of four, and military spouse. When she isn't planning the next cross-country move for her husband's military career, managing the chaos that four young children bring, or lesson planning for her fifth-grade classroom, she can be found enjoying her family or taking a well-deserved nap. She believes in uplifting other women and reminding them that their feelings are valid in hard, messy seasons. You can also find her at www.alisonvanarsdale.com or Instagram @alivanarsdale

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