If he's gone during deployment should I go on vacation? by Angela Caban

This seems to be a hot topic within our military community these days, going away on vacation during a separation. Do you feel guilty, or do you just pick up your bags and leave as if nothing were different? We all go on living our normal day-to-day lives, don’t we?

When my husband left in November for a yearlong TDY, he wanted to make sure this wouldn’t interrupt our lives, especially the children. He said to me, “I want you and the kids to enjoy yourselves over the summer if I don’t come home. I don’t want you to miss the summer because of me.” Well, that was that then. I received his blessing and I would quickly go about making our usual summer plans. Wrong.

I don’t think he quite understood that a vacation wasn’t worth taking if it wasn’t with the complete family. When I have traveled in the past by myself for work or with family, I end up having such a lousy time because I think of him and all the great things we could be doing together. I can miss him at home; I surely don’t want to miss him in the Bahamas!

After almost 11 years of marriage, I am still head-over-heels for this guy, being away from him is always hard. Would he take a vacation with the kids without me? Probably, that doesn’t bother me – but my point isn’t to make anyone feel bad about this; we are each going to make our own decisions that are right for our families. Not one military spouse can speak for another. Staying or going does not measure how committed you are in your relationship, it is all about how you both feel.

Here’s how I look at it, whether you are for a separation vacation or not, here are three things to factor into your decision making process:

  1. How does your spouse feel about it? Make sure you are open and honest with each other. Explain why you feel the way you do, and let them do the same.
  2. Would you end up feeling too guilty to enjoy your time away? If you are going to end up being a Mrs. Grumpy Pants, then the vacation will honestly not benefit anyone, especially if you have children.
  3. If you have kids, think about their well-being. If you notice that your children are in that summer funk, talk with your spouse about going away and helping the kids get through their separation anxiety. If you have it, imagine the kids!

If he's gone during deployment should I go on vacation?

So after discussing this over with my husband, we decided what was best for our family was to fill the summer with fun activities for both the kids and myself instead of taking one long vacation without him. Day trips can be extremely beneficial in this situation, or even if you decide to go away for the weekend.

We may all have different opinions when it comes to this topic. One thing to keep in mind is to do what is best for your family; don’t let anyone make you feel as if your choice is wrong. Find your balance with your spouse.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. How do you handle vacations during separations? How do you find your balance? Share with us in the comments below!

Related article:
Finding the Positive Side of Deployment

Angela CabanAngela Caban is a military columnist and published author. Her husband, who was deployed in 2008, was one of the many soldiers impacted by the unprecedented activation of the Army National Guard. In 2010 she founded the Homefront United Network to provide assistance and family support through encouragement, educational articles and resources. She is dedicated to assisting National Guard and Reserve families with resources and ensuring no spouse or family member is left behind.