As a wife of a naval officer, I thought I’d offer some of my experiences while my husband was deployed over the last 10 months and how I stayed “fit.”
While Darren was gone, what were your top three priorities?
Of course, I own a gym so maintaining my fitness was a huge priority. My goals were to take care of me so I would be equipped to take care of our family.
1. I budgeted for a babysitter twice a week so I could just go…with a purpose or not. Sometimes it was a yoga class, a mani-pedi, while other times to the grocery store by myself. Trips to a coffee shop were not uncommon to catch up on work and emails.
2. I decided to get to bed early. I’m a night owl by nature, yet I knew I’d be parenting alone so I needed to awaken with 100 percent to give to my kids. Their routine became my routine. We showered, we read, prayed – together. Then, lights out.
3. Moderation: Not until you give up those almost sinful indulgences of dairy, gluten, sugar do you realize how negatively they affect you. I tried to cut back on a lot of my triggers. I didn’t want food or wine to become a comfort.
What did you find most frustrating?
1. Making every family decision on my own. Darren always gave me permission not to consult him, but I realized how important having him as a sounding board is.
2. I got lonely, and quickly. Having no adult to share good and bad news of your day was difficult.
3. Darren is the cook in our family. Making meals for my kids was a constant challenge and a source stress.
Can you name the three ways you “stayed fit” while Darren was gone?
I thought my eyes were wide open knowing what 10 months would be like. I’ve done this before. However, this deployment was a little different than the last. We now had two kids. Walking in the shoes of a single mom was unknown territory because Darren is such an amazing dad.
What I did know was if I did not care for myself during these 10 months, everyone and everything around me would suffer.
1. I started off with my usual four Fitness on the Run strength workouts per week. What I learned is stress can take a toll in many ways. Four times a week was too much for me to handle. I was starting to feel tight and in my vulnerable areas: hips, lower back, shoulder, and neck. I was headed for injury if I continued down that path. Yet, life was different now. I needed to find a balance of approaching exercise for stress relief while maintaining my fitness level. I listened to my body. I cut back and added a flow/yoga/stretch or went for a walk.
2. I also had an amazing community of support. My family, a small group of close friends, and my church family at Christ the King blessed me abundantly with prayers, calls, running errands for me or helping with the kids, just to name a few.
3. For the most part, I “held it all together.” Yet, I remember distinctly “losing it” twice. And, both times were with Adrien. What a blessing that my business partner is also someone I call one of my dearest friends. In military terms, I often dropped “my pack.” But that’s what they do in the military and that’s what friends do – they carry your “pack” during those challenging times.
Did you have any reflections with the fact that he was gone?
I am grateful for Darren and his amazing patriotism to our country. We have a tremendous admiration for military families who go through multiple deployments. It’s tough.
However, my greatest reflection this Memorial Day weekend is how grateful I am for all the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. We honor and remember them and their families. May we never take for granted what we have because of them.