You don’t need help. You can do it all yourself. But when your spouse is deployed for an extended period of time, doing everything yourself comes at a cost. You have to make your life “smaller” so you can handle everything alone. If you don’t, you’ll likely burn out trying to keep the same cadence as when there were two parents, even though now you’re solo-parenting. That’s why it’s essential to learn how to ask for help and allow your friends, family, and acquaintances to provide you with military wife help during deployments.
How Do You Ask for Help When Struggling During Deployment?
Knowing how to ask for help is most difficult because we get in our own way. We have a long list of excuses and reasons why we can’t ask for deployment help:
- It’s too hard to ask for help
- It won’t work
- There’s nobody to help me
- I don’t need help
Hanging on to your independence or pride or lack of willingness to be vulnerable can keep you from asking for help. Being aware of your excuses is the first step in learning how to ask for help when your spouse is deployed. Once you do, you will see how much it benefits you, your kids, your deployed service member, and the person offering the help. So how do you do it? Keep reading to learn how to ask for help without being a burden during your spouse’s deployment.
How to Ask for Help: Practical Tips to Get Military Wife Help During Deployments
Learning how to ask for help without being a burden requires a mindset shift. If you believe you are a burden to your friends and family, it will be so hard to ask for and receive help. Instead, trust that people in your life love and care for you and want to provide deployment help for you and your family. How do you do that? Start by taking these three steps toward getting military wife help from people in your life.
1. Make a List of Specific People Who You Can Ask for Help
Did your brain just tell you, “You don’t have anyone you can ask. Nobody wants to help you.”? Our brains are funny like that. They like to tell us nobody is willing to help and remind us of all the excuses we mentioned earlier. But I encourage you to push through that and show your brain it’s wrong.
Pull out a piece of paper and a pen, and write your list. Start with a few local people who can help physically. Then write down a few long-distance people who can help mentally and emotionally.
Add to the List When People Offer Deployment Help
As you plan for an upcoming deployment or find yourself in the midst of one, you’ll experience people saying, “Let me know what I can do to help.” For the most part, those offers are completely genuine, and those people would be thrilled if you called them. On occasion, people say it and don’t mean it. But we tend to put everyone in that category.
Instead, give people a chance. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Take people at their word. And add them to your list as they offer deployment help. That way, when you’re in a moment of need–when you need a ride or a tire changed or a gallon of milk–you have a list of people you know you can call.
Use Your List Strategically
Not everyone is the right “helper” for each scenario. So, when a moment of need arises, pick the person who is the best fit for the current situation. Move through the list, so you know you aren’t relying too much on one person. Save smaller favors for people you don’t know as well. And put a star next to the people you know would be there for a big favor.
When you’re solo-parenting for six months to a year, big things will come up. It’s inevitable. Maybe you have to make a 2 AM emergency room run with one kid and need someone to stay home with the other one. Stuff happens. Knowing you have “big favor people” on your list will relieve a ton of stress and worry during deployment.
2. Make a List of Specific Ways People Can Help You
Has your mind ever gone blank as soon as someone asks you how they can help? Mine, too–I don’t know why our brains do that, but it’s not uncommon. I’ve overcome this by having a running list of specific ways people can help.
As you notice things throughout your day-to-day life–a chore or errand someone could do for you, etc.–write them down. Perhaps you need someone to fix your printer or mow the lawn. Maybe you’re running low on milk or need someone to pick up medication for your sick kid. Whatever it may be, write it down. That way, you have an answer when someone asks how they can help.
3. Ask, Respond, and Receive Help in a New Way
During my husband’s last deployment, I started asking for help in a new way. I’d ask people to give me a little bit of their time. This was beneficial when I couldn’t think of anything in the moment. Instead, I’d say something like, “If you could come over on Saturday morning for two hours, I’ll have a few things you can help me with.” Or, “I’d love to have an hour to myself on Friday afternoon. Could you take my kids to the park?” Rather than asking for specific things, I started asking for a specific amount of time.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with how to ask for help. Sometimes you don’t need milk or yard work done. What you really want is someone to go to dinner and a movie with you. That’s helpful too, and it’s just as important as the day-to-day stuff.
Want more tips and ideas for how to ask for help without being a burden? Listen to Simply Resilient Podcast Episode 46: Why Is It So Hard to Ask for Help?
Looking for More Military Wife Help During Your Spouse’s Deployment?
I would love to be a source of military wife help and support during your husband’s upcoming or current deployment. If you feel like you’re merely surviving until your spouse returns, I’m here to tell you there’s a better way. You can thrive as a military wife during deployments and beyond. And as a resilience coach for military wives, I can show you how to access the resilient superpowers inside of you. Want to learn more? Schedule a free mini-coaching call, and we’ll chat about how to get you the military wife help you need to enjoy life more.
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