I’m Not Ready For Him to Come Home

lori volkman

We’re counting days now instead of months until my husband returns from a one year “plus” deployment. And I’m not ready for him to come home. I’m just not ready.

I mean, I haven’t finished the basement. I haven’t organized the playroom. I haven’t finished the refi. It feels like I haven’t done anything. It feels like all I’ve done is laundry and dishes and grocery shopping.

Over and over.  And over.

But I have hugged the kids. Over and over. And over. And there was the half-marathon. And there was that little writing project that, well, kinda went viral. And there was that nonprofit-thingy.

And other things.

I’m horribly insecure about my failings and yet entrenched in what may be my own stupidity. I’m really dialed in to the well-worn track of my own complicated routine. I’m not ready for him to come here and retrace my steps and attempt to create efficiency out of chaos. I don’t want him to put me on an alternate track, even if it’s better. I don’t want him to tell me I’ve done it wrong while he’s been gone. Even if I have done it wrong. I’m not ready for that.

And I’ve developed bad habits, some he won’t tolerate well. I turn the TV on too loud to drown out the silence, sometimes. I spend too much time on the computer, sometimes. I escape from the kids by disappearing in the bathroom, sometimes. I drink wine with dinner too often. I kick and flip and toss and don’t sleep. I feel antisocial on Fridays at the end of the workweek. I use too much ketchup on the turkey burgers that I keep making even though I’m the only one that likes them. And I’m stupidly late, all the time. Too late. Too often.

And other things.

I’m ready to look up past his chin into his clear eyes and know that he remembers the real me. But I’ve changed a little too much for him to find me and I don’t know how clear his eyes will be. I’m ready for him to get off the airplane, hold me in his arms tight, and promise me he’ll never leave for that long again. But he won’t be able to make the promises I want. And even if he does, I won’t believe him. I’m ready for him to sweep me off my feet and tell me we will live happily ever after. But happily ever after is a lot more work than that.

I’m not ready. Not today.

What do you do to remind yourself that you’ve accomplished ALOT during this deployment, regardless of what the house looks like today?

About the Author

Lori Volkman
Lori Volkman is a Deputy Prosecutor, mother of two, and wife of a Navy reservist. She is also an award-winning writer at Witty Little Secret, a military family blog about her experiences as a military brat, active duty wife, and now reservist family. She volunteers as the Communications Director at www.MSJDN.com, an organization that advocates for military spouse licensing in all 50 states. She was voted the 2013 Navy Base San Diego Military Spouse of the Year by her peers.

31 Comments on "I’m Not Ready For Him to Come Home"

  1. I am NEVER ready for him to come home, there is ALWAYS a list a mile long that I want to check off before he walks in, but he'll come home anyway and we're fine and the list doesn't matter anymore. I dare say it's normal to fret, normal in MY world anyway ;)

  2. There is a flip side to this…as noted in many “reunion” classes guys have a hard time fitting back into the family after being gone. We feel guilty having been absent from our post for far too long…off doing Uncle Sam’s bidding. We feel guilty for leaving all the grunt work of taking care of home and hearth to the wife. We feel sheepish that maybe, just maybe, our dear wife has come to realize that we’re just not so relevant after all. The fears and anxieties often cut both ways.

  3. Lady's, take it from me, we honestly don't care about any list or the things that you think are so important to us. The main thing that we want is for you to greet us with a big hug, wet kisses and to look at us with your beautiful eyes and say it's glad to have you home again.

  4. Things are going to be sort of "transitional" for me still when the hubster finally comes home from Afghanistan next month. He's a geographic bachelor. I live in Kansas City, he lives at Fort Polk. I still haven't wrapped my head around how things will change. I'll still be managing the house (and the zoo) at our home in the Midwest while he goes on about his business in the South. So does that mean I have more time to check things off my list before he moves up to be with me permanently? I think in the end, the weight of the stuff I am doing by myself to manage our lives is heavier than the weight of all the things I didn't quite get done while he's gone that I wanted to. I'm ready.

  5. wittylittlesecret | September 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm |

    Happy homecoming, Heather. I'm glad to hear he's on his way to you. I think we live extraordinary lives, and it takes extraordinary understanding at times. But it sounds like you're up to the task. Lighten that weight by plugging in here or with a military support group. It has really saved me this deployment!

  6. HM2 Don Bradshaw | September 21, 2011 at 5:44 pm |

    I have to agree with wittylittlesecret. For us the guys, we do our job and we do it with our head held high, and watch over our Brothers' next to us. Our duty is to one another when we are deployed. and believe it or not, i've been over there 8 times, and i hate to say it, but not once did i worry about the home front. the military wives are the bravest creatures on earth. they are tougher warriors' than we are. how my wife was able to manage the kids', the bills, her job and the day to day bussle of all is beyond me. The US should award every spouse that has gone above and beyond with the highest medal we can give a civilian. they have earned it. I love you Vicky Bradshaw.

  7. I wasn’t ready either! It took about 2 seconds of being in his arms again for me to forget about that list of stiff not done though. When we finally got back to the house, it turned out that he didn’t care either! My husband kindly reminded me that coming home to all that change is harder for him. He had it rough knowing he missed a year of our lives as it is. He was quite happy to see the same messy play room, the same kitchen cabinets that I never got refinished, and the same ugly carpet I never replaced.

  8. You’re setting your bar pretty high. It’s not a bad thing, I do it too. But I try and remember a couple things: my children are important and he’s happy to be coming home. It is most important that you do the things for the kids–laundry and projects will get done…sometime! Also, your husband is probably thrilled to come home. If I do too much, he feels left out.

    So, drink your wine, as I do too, and realize that being perfect or super efficient isn’t fun and is very difficult. He loves his family, not the projects.

  9. Best I can tell, you're awesome. Can't imagine him being disappointed in you, so give yourself a break!

    God bless you, your husband and all the other families like you. Thank you from a grateful country.

  10. My husband told me after the first deployment that all he wants when he gets home is me. Now, I don't worry. He doesn't care if the house is vacuumed or the dog is groomed or the laundry is done. He gets a running leap and wrap-around hug as soon as the formation is dismissed. It doesn't matter if he's been awake for 30 hours. That's what he wants and he gets it and I hold him like there's no one else around us for as long as I can. Three deployments, countless schools, 14 years of marriage and going stronger every day. Hoorah!

  11. Vanna Rainwater | September 27, 2011 at 6:42 pm |

    I don’t really have anything to say on this subject since I am new at being a military spouse. However my husband and I just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, he is so ready to deploy again, but for myself I’m not sure I’m ready for him to deploy this will be my first deployment since we’ve been together a yr. 10 October, 2011 if he gets this upcoming deployment I have no idea what I’m going to do, and to top it all off we just pcs to Hawaii and I have absolutely no friends which means I have no support groups. I’m not one to make friends very easily any suggestions for me? Sorry I went off the subject.

  12. goldentiger426 | September 27, 2011 at 7:30 pm |

    Been through multiple deployments during my husband's career and though it took a while – for me, that is – I finally figured something out. He's coming home – everything else? Negotiable.

  13. I had a hard time just when my husband came home for his 2 weeks of RR after the second day I was ready for him to go back. I know that's not a very nice thing to say…… But after a couple of days thing settled down and we were good. I just hope that it's not like that when he comes home in about 3 an a half weeks. The FRG has sent me different emails on retreats and I am really thinking of going to one for couples.

  14. Spouse underpressure | September 27, 2011 at 8:31 pm |

    Hey guys, You all are awesome by the way! I'm a new military spouse and my husband has been gone since april 12th. We will be stationed in Washington in December when he comes back. It's really not easy as a military wife and mother.

  15. My husband's been gone for five months and I am so ready for him to come home. What I wouldn't give to have him here with me now! I confess I can't really relate to the I'm-not-ready-for-him-to-come-home mentality. I notice that many spouses set hugely unrealistic expectations for themselves when their husbands deploy. Paint the house! Remodel the kitchen! Run a marathon! Learn a new language! No wonder you feel as if your to-do list hasn't been touched! I actually did the opposite–I lowered the expectations for myself because I knew this would be an incredibly difficult time and I wanted to give myself some cushion and some allowances. At a minimum, I care for my kids to the best of my ability, I feed them well, I keep my house clean and keep up with the chores, and if I have a little time left over, I indulge in my favorite past time: reading. Oh, and I do have wine with dinner. I'm trying to keep "the home fires burning," so to speak, so when my husband comes home, he finds everything as he left it: neat, orderly, and comfortable. Just….home. I think, of course, that everyone's minimum is different, but ladies, you don't have to reinvent yourself while your husband is gone. Relax and cut yourself some slack. It sucks having your husband gone and it's okay to admit it.

  16. I'm ready! I'm ready to hand over the kids and blame him when they're too wound up to sleep. I'm ready to tell him to quit buying potato chips and to please remember to balance the check book. I have learned over these past few months that I am flawed and human and really hard to live with.

  17. wittylittlesecret | September 27, 2011 at 11:20 pm |

    Well harshly delivered but true sentiments, nonetheless. My follow-up posts (which are not here) reflect this feeling somewhat, even if only to myself. In fact "big girl panties" are mentioned. And I've managed to put in a whole-assed, whole-hearted effort this year. But somehow, it doesn't seem like enough in comparison. This post was about that moment where I'm figuring it out. I guess not everyone gets there as quickly as you did.

  18. My husband got home from a year and a half deployment and I am finding myself strugling with him being here. Dont get me wrong, I love him and I wanted for him to be home, but there’s a part of me that feels just like you.
    Thank you for sharing and for remembering us that we are not one on this process.

  19. What's embarrasing is the lack of compassion and integregrity for the military spouse family. Obviously no one has schooled you on that yet. Or…maybe you are the dictator in your house and lack any empathy.

  20. That does sound right! No wife would really say that no matter what! After putting his life on the line for sdo long your gonna say that! Sound like and I could be wrong but as a retired NCOIC of many soldiers. This sound like you have been PARTYING to much and have neglected chores around the house and now you need to clear thing out. Does not sound like there is much love there when you are a soldier dying to get home to be with the ones you love and miss. And to hear them say I'm not ready for you to come home! at that point and time I really don't care what you haven't fixed up or Organize. We can do that together and the Refi as well!!!! you know your biggest task to help him re-adjust and what better way than to get him involve with some of the things going on in the house. make him feel needed and missed. Because he you will be shocked at what problems will lie ahead for him in his readjustment to family life and regular work routine. Your concerns should lie with your support to him and his immediate concerns when he gets back.

  21. easy street…you must never had really been married to a soldier deployed a year or more. I am a dedicated, educated, full time working, full time student spouse with two children and living with a disability. Easy is deffinataly not on my agenda. We have been married almost 20 years, been through over 5 deployments together, some yes less then a year, but deployments, none the less, not to mention the countless field deployments, near death experiances from both of us, family loss, financial situations, not because my "half assed" bull *&^% on that one self was not working but because the military oh lord help me not to get started on the governements haf assed ability to pull a no pay due because theuir records were wrong..and half assed ability to provide support for new familiy members who unlike your numb and unattached self requires to sustain life beyond what their means may be.

  22. PART TWO Half assed military that envoked the awesome…NOT early retirement plan..that was a great shoke to our college planning..half assed is numb, inconsiderate, potentially self destructive spouses like yourself that see opening up as whining, and not the self therepy that it is. Had our great hahahaah president not cut back on the much needed military behavioral health sunding the military so desperatly deserves and needs, and without this great Website, spouses who could not vent any other way might well require medical behavioral medications. As a Psychologist, this way of opening up and defending your inner behaviiors is not whining..my numb and most likely angered friend..but it is therepy at its greatest, and at no cost to taxpayers and not hit in the military financial budget. BIg girl panties, eh..I wonder how you would still be writing this if you really were an active duty pilots wife, or active duty foot soldiers wife, or a dedicated wife of a military member deployed, that is not wanting to live alone.

  23. Part four casue being nconsiderate in itself is lame, for lack of better educated wording that you would prpobably not understand anyway…
    We are not looking for praise, we are looking to vent, to examine other possibilities with acceptance of new life changes, look for a connection to other spouses who have actually gone through deployements, with kids, with employment sturuggles, with cars breaking down, with roofs leaking, and goteen through it partially unskathed, for tha I say military wives are the most dedicated, complex, flexible, intuitive and genuninly chameleon type humans that I would stand by, and dedicate my time freely to and have on my side for their durability and resistance to self elimination even in the face of danger. I tip my hat fellow wives of awareness and discipline. Military wives under go stresses many other wives will never ev en recognize. For that I , as a fellow military wife, say thank you for your dedication and determination and consideration.

  24. Wow, you're mean. Clearly, you have some pain in your life that you're having trouble dealing with.

  25. I'm not ready for my husband to come home either. He's lost over 30 lbs. and I've actually gained weight. Our lifestyles are different now. He's fit and active, he works out and runs everyday. I work 2 jobs, and by the time I get home, I'm too tired to work out. I eat late, and I drink ALOT. I've also started smoking again. It's sad to say, but I'm not ready for him to come home because I'm afraid he'll leave me. I know exactly how you feel.

  26. This site is UNREAL… managed & edited & comments deleted, not allowing ALL views to be represented… tailoring, controlling, censoring, & catering to own agenda of how he/she/it/Big Brother/whoever wants the image of military wives/significant others to be portrayed. Absolutely putrid! So if you think it's ok to be real here, then think again… If your reality is not inline w/ what they support, posting here is a total waste of time and energy. People, find another platform/blog that is REAL & honors freedom of speech– one of our American rights!!

  27. We had a rule…2 week guest status…for both he and I. We couldn't say anything negative…we'd write down what we observed and then discussed them at the end of two weeks. By that time…not having painted the whole house reasoned itself out. You could discuss this normally. The rule worked with our daughter too…at 5 years old…she wanted dad's attention even in a negative way and was just being bratty…at two weeks he said "OK…I'm home…now why in the world are you acting this way?" To this day we still reason things out…or take the time to allow them to work themselves out. It helps to be patient.

  28. Then count the days down ………….til………………I hold my Soldier again.
    The time they leave seems forever, the R&R 2 weeks seemed like 2 days….I hope the coming home
    goes back to normal.
    Remember we are Strong ….Army Strong!!! We held down the fort, took care of the home front and we will be at ease when they take the home front position again. I pray for the safe return of all our Soldiers. Hooah
    God Bless

  29. I'm not ready to go home. Husband Human got out in Pensacola, I stayed to finish up A School. Now Im in C school across the country from him. I go to DC in about a week, and he's moving up from Roanoke soon. I'm terrifed to have to get a house or mobile home. I'm terrified about living together. I'm scared of a new city, hitting the fleet, scared of setting up a household. I'm scared of the possibility of getting pregnant…I'm just not ready to go home to him. I'm excited, yes, I haven't lived in the same geographical area as my hubby for 3 or 4 months, but I'm still scared. We lived in the barracks in Pensacola. We're newlyweds still, and we don't have anything execpt our truck and two seabags. But, everything will be ok, right?

  30. I know EXACTLY how y'all felt. My (then) boyfriend was deployed to Iraq when I packed up my 3 kids and moved to Hawai'i to be there when he came back. I had to sell much of my stuff, fly to Hawai'i, and find a house. Then I had to find his' truck that was in storage, his' furniture that was in storage, and move it all by myself. I had to recieve my own household stuff when it arrived, enroll the girls in school, and put everything away. We even made huge signs for his' redeployment ceremony. But I was worried about the house not being perfect, lol. We all do it! And our spouses just want us. My husband didn't care that everything wasn't finished, in fact he was glad because he worried I wouldn't 'need' him. Our family was stuck together like glue for the first few days he was home!

  31. Very Instersing article, I know I have felt this way once…so much I wanted to catch up on before he came home. I know realize it's not going to be Perfect, and "that's okay". We do the best we can, but we are human and that all we can do. Great Article!!

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