How to Deal When “Murphy” Sets Up Camp and Stays a While


Murphy is my new BFF. You know, the Murphy from “Murphy’s Law.”

At least, that’s how I should feel about someone who has so clearly moved into my guest room and made himself at home. We’re not even two months into this deployment, and everything is breaking. At the same time. The day my husband left, the washer and the vacuum both died. Then the cat had some infection that required hundreds of dollars in vet bills. Of course, this was right before Christmas, and right when the tires on the minivan badly need to be replaced before the road trip to visit family.

Then the kitchen sink faucet broke right off (a kid probably yanked on it a bit too hard in the fight over who gets to fill their water cup first). Then the toddler threw legos in the toilet and flushed. The most recent is the water heater that went out the day of my kid’s birthday party when I haven’t showered in a day or two. Hey, the Hubs goes without showering on deployment sometimes… I guess I can too, right? Baby wipes and perfume for the win.

Not only is stuff breaking at our new (rental) place, it’s breaking at the home we own that we just moved away from. We struggled finding a tenant to pay rent, but we now have repairs on top of that. Did I mention I just had to leave my job because we PCSed, and though I’ve pieced together a few part-time jobs (4), I haven’t seen much income from them yet? A lot of it just funnels right in and out of the bank account in child care fees. Savings doesn’t last long when you’re paying mortgage and rent simultaneously on half the income you used to make.

When it all feels like it’s coming down at once and I can’t get a breath, I have to take a step back.

All the military spouses I know have encountered this at some point; they all have different ways of dealing with it. The few ways I have learned are: call a friend (preferably another milspouse), make some tea, eat some chocolate, put on my headphones with some good music going, volunteer (it gives me great perspective when I fall into self-pity), and escape into a great book.

Sometimes I have to do them simultaneously (eating chocolate while drinking tea and listening to music). Sometimes they don’t work well and I throw myself a little pity party. Fortunately those times are relatively infrequent, though this deployment is testing that. Then I’ll finish my little meltdown, and pull it back together and remember why I do this: because my Hubs loves what he does, and what he does is important. I’m proud of him and I love him, and that means supporting him through the rough parts of that work.

Do you ever feel like Murphy is your BFF? How do you keep yourself grounded?

Posted by Jessica Strong, NMFA Volunteer and military spouse

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