I knew we were about halfway through my husband’s second deployment, so I googled the good ‘ole “Donut of Misery,” an Excel spreadsheet formula that graphs how long you have until the end of deployment. I plugged in my correct estimated dates and was beyond thrilled to see the donut show a 50/50 ratio.
But doing so made me realize how poorly the spreadsheet is named, at least for my purposes. “Donut of Misery?” Not true for me at all.
Because for this deployment I have chosen that I will not be miserable. Sure, I have hard days or even weeks. But overall, I have not been miserable at all.
Why? Because I became a “yes” woman.
During my husband’s first deployment, I felt the need to prove that I was capable. I thought I didn’t help or company. And I was worried about coming off as needy and overbearing. But that didn’t work out so well.
This time around, I started saying “yes” to people. When someone I met at Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC) asks me to go to the park with a bunch of women I don’t know, I say “yes.” When I don’t want to commit to a plan because I’m not sure of how the baby will be behaving next week, I say “yes” anyway. I say “yes” to the cashier at the grocery store when she asks if she can help me unload my groceries.
And here comes the shocker — I even said “yes” to my neighbor who offered to take care of my front yard for me until my husband gets home.
The list of things I’ve said “yes” to goes on and on. Being a ‘yes’ woman when it comes to establishing and maintaining friendships and to the helpful people around me has made my deployment experience is not such a miserable one.
And I’ve learned that my friend isn’t going to hate me for cancelling last minute because my kids need to nap. If she does, then she’s probably not the right friend for me. When the day of my plans comes, I’m usually thankful to have plans to get out of the house and don’t need to cancel. And stores have strong employees who work in the back for a reason, and I’ve learned to not feel bad asking one to help me load a heavy box into my car.
Has anybody else found out that learning to say yes, although hard sometimes, is helpful in managing deployment?
Kristen Ford is an Army wife out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Wash. Less than a day after submitting this post Kristen received a call that her husband had been wounded by an Afghan soldier. He is now home recovering.