I’ve learned that being prepared for a deployment doesn’t usually make me feel better about it happening. It does, however, prevent me from having total meltdowns when Murphy’s Law decides to hit after he’s gone. Murphy’s Law is the saying that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. Setbacks happen in everyday life, but when it happens while your significant other is deployed, and you’re emotionally vulnerable, the crisis you are enduring alone becomes magnified. It’s extremely important to have all of your ducks in a row so when the car breaks down, a raging hurricane comes at you, or you have to file taxes they are minor inconveniences, not a major crisis.
- Power of Attorney– GET.A. POWER.OF. ATTORNEY!!!! I cannot stress this enough! There are 2 types of a POA. A general and a specific. Get both. I’ve had to use the power of attorney to file taxes, fight Sprint on a phone bill when they decided to charge us double one month, put my newborn in the DEERS system, and put new plates on our vehicles. You never know what may come up so make sure you are covered with a POA. Most places wouldn’t even talk to me unless I had the POA in my hand.
- Will– This one is pretty self-explanatory. In the event of your spouse’s death while deployed (or not deployed, it’s useful anytime) the will gives you guidance on what they want and legal protection from family/friends who want to do otherwise. Also get a will for yourself. If both of you die at the same time in a car crash then who will raise your children? Who will inherit your money? Each branch of the military has a legal team on base/post who can give will and power of attorneys, to active-duty and their dependents, free of cost. So, buck it up and get it done!
- Car Maintenance– There’s almost nothing worse than having your vehicle full of kids break down in the middle of nowhere. Before every deployment my husband took our vehicles in to the mechanic and had them look it over to see if any maintenance needed done. Know your insurance coverage and have the mechanic’s name on hand in case you do have a vehicle malfunction during deployment.
- Evacuation Route– My husband was gone more than he was home, so with the probability of having to evacuate our home by myself, I always made sure I knew the evacuation route out of town. I also had a specific destination in mind where family/friends could find me. I’m so grateful I was prepared when I had to evacuate during hurricane Matthew.
- Set a budget– If your pre-deployed significant other usually pays the bills than it’s a good idea to sit down and have the dreaded money talk before they leave. They won’t always be in a position to pay the bills on time so you need to know the due dates and passwords to pay the bills if they can’t. Also, determine how much “play” money the deployed member will get. I’ve seen way too many families suffer because the deployed member spent all the money on souvenirs or take-out, leaving the family with $0 to pay the bills. What are your goals? To pay off debt with separation pay? Sit down, have the talk, and make a money plan.
- Contact List– Have a list on your fridge with contact info. The numbers to the internet company, maintenance line, military police, FRG leader, non-emergency police, doctor’s office, and poison control are good places to start.
- Know what to do if your military I.D. gets lost or will expire while they’re deployed– Does your husband have to fill out a form ahead of time giving you permission to get a new one? Do you know where the PSD office is? It’s important to know, especially if you live in base housing and need to show your I.D. to get on. I don’t know about you, but it would ruin my day if I was a couple blocks from home but couldn’t get there because my I.D. expired.
These are the most important things that I made sure to have done before my husband deployed, and they saved me a lot of headaches. What would you seasoned military spouses add to your list?
Go HERE for tips on getting yourself emotionally prepared for deployment.