24. Mentally prepare for the kids to go to your spouse every time you say “No!”…at least for a couple of weeks.

25. Calmly rehearse your story of why there is a dent in the car, a brand new dining room table, new fish for pets and why the picture of your mother-in-law is missing.

26. Start thinking of all the ways you might need to adjust your parenting style or the way the household runs. You might not be the “buck stops here” person when they return, but it can be hard to remember that it’s okay to adjust the routine.

27. Rearrange the shower items to now include new bottles for your spouse. Turn it back into a closet for two again. Stock the fridge with the favorites you know they have missed while gone. Make it look like your spouse lives there once again.

28. Call to have cell service reactivated and the car insurance updated.

29. Wait. Pace. Stare, hoping the clock will speed up. Bite off freshly manicured nails. Cry one last time as the little kids decide to throw another temper tantrum. Consider joining them in said tantrum.

30. Change outfits. Again. Change shoes. Again. Re-style hair. Again.

31. Decide you hate all your clothes and just buy a new outfit. (Like this.)

32. Shave your legs, again. Because the homecoming time changed THAT much.

33. Worry that the house isn’t as clean as they will expect. Hint: The house is fine. It’s called “home”coming for a reason. Not “perfect-house”coming. They just want to be home.

34. Worry that re-connecting in the bedroom won’t be as exciting as the two of you have hoped. Hint: It’s not perfect or mind-blowing for everyone…and that is OK. Give yourselves some time if you need it and re-connect when you are both ready.

35. Worry that your spouse has changed…or that you have changed. Hint: You have both probably been through many changes. It is very possible that one or both of you will be a little (or a lot) different after deployment. This doesn’t always need to equal something negative for your marriage. It can be a chance to grow and learn in a different way as a couple.

If you are having trouble adjusting after homecoming or if you and your spouse are having a hard time with re-integration, please contact Military One Source for many resources, including free mental health services.

Contributors: Lakesha Cole, MJ Boice, Erin Whitehead, Morgan Slade, Rebekah Sanderlin, Ashley Broadway Mack, Develda Edgington, Stacy Huisman, Michelle Aikman

Read Next: The Deployment Curse

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