Military Homecomings, OPSEC, and Blogging Integrity

During the past few weeks, I knew my husband would be on the move – but I couldn’t talk about it.

Because of OPSEC – Operational Security -  being aware of what you are sharing because it could give away more information than you intended – this is usually related to military or combat operations.

This was incredibly frustrating for me.

I wanted to tell my Mom.
I wanted to tell HIS Mom.
I wanted to tell OUR CHILDREN.

And I wanted to tell all. of. YOU.


As a Blogger, integrity and authenticity are very important to me.

Through my blog, I have chosen to write about my life in a positive way with humor and photographs describing life as a Military Family.  I’ll be the first to admit – my life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows – but I make an cognitive decision each day to attempt to interact with our online community in a mostly positive way.

Mostly.  (Unless it’s shark week.)

Because I am a Military Spouse – my online integrity ALSO involves OPSEC.

I CAN’T share his mission.
I CAN’T write about troop movements.
I CAN’T write about these things because it puts them in danger.


So when Seth sent home a footlocker with the last of his gear, I wanted to write about it.  But I didn’t.
I wanted to write about how he had all of his bags packed and would start “moving” any day now.
How weird it was to have our could be ‘last phone call’ to Afghanistan.
That he had left his base.
That I dreamed of roadside bombs.
That he had caught the first flight.
That I didn’t know where he was.
But I knew he was on his way home.

How excited I was to get a note from him on facebook.  It was 5 days after that last phone call.

How freaked out I was when I googled the air base he was at and saw satellite pictures of it.


Then it was time to make beds at the Barracks for single soldiers who would be flying with my husband.
How WEIRD it was that everyone was SO EXCITED for me – and I didn’t feel any of it.
WHY was this? WHAT is wrong with me?

Every other deployment, there is a season of last minute cleaning before Seth comes home.
It’s like I’m nine months pregnant again and I have to dust the ceiling and shampoo the carpets.
This didn’t seem to kick in for me until the moment I knew Seth was at the very last stop in his journey.

Then I shampooed the dining room carpet…
and the couches… even the side against the wall…
and I might have dusted the ceilings too…

The only problem was – a group of soldiers were stuck at this last stop for 2 weeks in December.
A very dear friend of mine was just. so. over. it. by the time she finally got the call about her husband.
I just couldn’t figure her out – WHY wasn’t she EXCITED?  He’ll be home ANY DAY NOW!

But now I get it.

It just didn’t seem real until I got the official phone call the day of the Homecoming Ceremony.
“For sure? Seth is on THIS flight?” “Yes yes! You knew he was! Why are you asking?” “Um I dont know…”

I think it was because I couldn’t really tell anyone above a whisper.
“Psssst! I’m going to be wearing a DRESS this weekend!”
“Just keep your fingers crossed for no delays!”

This deployment, a large part of my support network has been my online community.  Whether it is the wonderful Military Spouses I’ve met in the past 7 years of Military Life or through Social Media – these women “get me”. They’ve been there. And they understand sometimes all I need them to do is listen to me rant and rave for an hour on the phone about how mad I am about something  ridiculously  minuscule  because I’m STRESSED – and I’m MAD – and it’s much easier to focus that negative energy on anything but the realities of deployment with small children.


I also feel so grateful for the amazing people I’ve met online who are not part of the military.  Bridget from Bake at 350 who spent a few hours with me one day walking through her Royal Icing recipe and has since become an amazing friend.  Cheryl at TidyMom.  Darcy at My3Boybarians. Susan and Janice at 5 Minutes for Mom.  Each of these ladies and many others who share their support, feedback, and heartfelt comments on posts I’ve written about this deployment.

Living in Germany, I don’t have much daily interaction with non-military folks.
So when someone comments on my blog that they ‘had no idea’ it surprises me.
I had no idea, you had no idea, that this is what life is really like for military families.

And so – I am encouraged to write and share through this blog.

Thank you all for being part of my support network during this deployment.

Thank you for understanding that the days I posted a single picture with humor were probably the most challenging.

I look forward to sharing this next chapter of Reintegration in the coming days, weeks, and months.


In what way has your online community enhanced your life?

How do you handle topics you “can’t” write about or share online?

, ,

About Ann Marie @ Household6 Diva

View all posts by Ann Marie @ Household6 Diva

37 Responses to “Military Homecomings, OPSEC, and Blogging Integrity”

  1. Julie Says:

    So happy for you and your family Ann! God bless!

  2. Jenn K Says:

    Thank you for sharing, Ann! I’m so glad that he’s home. How exciting! Thank you for your blog and laughs. It’s nice to be an ARMY wife and laugh at similar experiences! :) Have fun!

  3. lisa Says:

    You took the words right out of my mouth! Bravo! Seriously, Thank you! I have thought about deleting my facebook many many times. But I thought about. When your a military spouse, moving every few years, getting use to a new area, making new friends, it’s not easy! My husbands been in the Navy for 11 years. I’ve met majority of my friends via social networking. When the earthquake happened in Japan (we were there when it happened) my first reaction was to go on to FB to see what the base FB was posting. Right now I am dealing with a deployment and when ever I get lonely, want to talk to someone, I hop on to FB and talk to the other wives who are dealing with the deployment too. It’s a place where I can vent, and find support.

  4. Betsy @JavaCupcake Says:

    I am so incredibly happy for you, Ann Marie! Homecominmgs are THE BEST part about military life for me. I spent most of yesterday wondering what you were doing every minute and wishing everything went smoothly for you. <3

    Enjoy your fabulous soldier!!!!! I know you will ;)
    Betsy @JavaCupcake recently posted..Breakfast CupcakesMy Profile

  5. amy s Says:

    How do I handle topics I can’t share or write online…I whisper them to my very greatest, mostest wonderful, dear hearted, loving, compassionate and understand friend…Thanks Ann!!!!! And CONGRATS and WELCOME HOME!!! ((I STILL am excited about my HC, even though I still have NO idea!!! ROFL)) Seriously NO IDEA…….xo

  6. Instant student Says:

    I am SO happy for you to finally have him home!

    I am not military so I guess I have no idea how it feels for you but by reading your blog I good a food idea I guess.

    Well anyways, separation always sucks and I am SO happy for you to have him back!
    Instant student recently posted..Dear So and So…My Profile

  7. Cricket Says:

    Thank you for always voicing what so many of us are thinking. It’s hard keeping it all to yourself, in these days when everyone screams everything from the highest mountains (seems like), we as military spouses have an obligation to keep our spouses safe when they’re gone (and not all of us understand that). It’s hard keeping it all from our children too, because it is a reality that they may be delayed for weeks after making it to their last stop before coming home, and who wants to drag kids along that emotional roller coaster? No way! It’s hard enough for me to get through it and I’m a “grown up”! =o) Love you like cake girl <3

  8. Juliann Says:

    Overjoyed to see your family together again! Love your blog. Been following you for about two years. I am not a military wife, just a homeschooling momma of four. But my dearest friend is the wife of an army chaplain. Love for military families runs deep in my heart! God Bless you all with peace and joy and grace as you adjust to life together again as a family of five!

  9. whiskey tango foxtrot Says:

    Yayyy!!! I am so happy for you! We havent gone through our first deployment yet but I know its going to be super frustrating. Thanks for sharing!!
    whiskey tango foxtrot recently posted..How to: Color your hair at homeMy Profile

  10. TidyMom Says:

    awwwweee, that last picture gave me tears!!! I’m so happy for you guys! I just can’t imagine how rough it is for you . Do you know Janet ? I think you two would make great buddies! I know she feels your pain, waiting between phonecalls and homecomings with her son.

    Thanks for everything your husband AND YOU do for all of us Ann Marie!!
    TidyMom recently posted..I’m Lovin’ It Wrap Up: Valentine Ideas & moreMy Profile

  11. My Traveling Troop Says:

    Hooray! Congrats on finally having your hubby home! I hope you all enjoy this special time together.


  12. Bridget Says:

    Oh my gosh! That must have been so hard…not sharing the news. YOU are such an amazing example of a military spouse. I’m so grateful to you and your family….you all make such big sacrifices for us EVERY day.

    I’m so, so happy that your hubby is home safe and sound! I hope you get to enjoy LOTS of time with him…and that he doesn’t head out again too quickly.

    So glad we’ve met…and happy to call you a friend. :)
    Bridget recently posted..Do YOU Have Valentine’s Day on the Brain?My Profile

  13. darcy Says:

    What a beautiful post. The laundry pic cracks me up… then a moment later an “awwwwwwww” moment. I’m happy for you all. While I can’t imagine all the small sacrifices and little moments, I really do appreciate them. While we are always careful to thank our troops and try to express our gratitude, I’m not sure we really ever thank those who are left behind worrying and waiting. So thanks.

    I really do appreciate what our military families do for our safety and well-being.

    Now, go.. off the computer. Go smooch that hubby of yours!
    darcy recently posted..Project 52 Week 2: Made with LoveMy Profile

  14. Julie Says:

    It is so hard to know you are going to go through something wonderful very very soon and then you just can’t blog about it. I have so been there. I am so glad your husband is home!
    Julie recently posted..Calling All Lurkers, It is National Delurking DayMy Profile

  15. Leanne Says:

    So happy for you Ann Marie and the whole family! Reintegration is a challenge. But you have “been there, done that” just as so many of us military-spouses have. But it must feel *so* good to have him home.

    Thanks for the OPSEC. When we want to scream from the roof-top HE’S COMING HOME! we just can’t. When we want to tell how excited we are to all those that have taken part in our lives somehow during deployment, we just can’t. Loose lips sink ships as the saying goes. And you are right, there is nothing *known* about the military.

    Many blessings to your family these coming weeks ahead! – Leanne
    Leanne recently posted..What is essential …My Profile

  16. Paula Says:

    I’m so happy that your beautiful family is united once again and I hope that your husband has seen the last of his deployments for awhile. Sincere best wishes with the reintegration over the coming weeks and may God keep you all safe and happy. Not everyone is cut out to be in the military and not everyone is cut out to be a military spouse. You two certainly epitomize the *military family* and what it takes to carry it all of with great pride and dignity.
    Paula recently posted..Birthday Cookies Inspired by Eddie Spence – Royal Icing MasterMy Profile

  17. Marie Lester Says:

    God Bless y’all! you just made my day so much better with this post! So very happy for you and your family! Two more weeks till my soldier is home :) and it still hasn’t hit me yet but everyone else is super excited for me LOL
    Marie Lester recently posted..PinterestMy Profile

  18. cassy Says:

    I appreciate your blog soooo much! Thank you. We are currently inactive while my husband goes to school, but he is part of a local reserve unit. I appreciate everything you talk about and can relate or understand a lot of it. Thank you for being real!

  19. Tracy Says:

    So thankful he is home! Praying for all of you through reintergration. :)

  20. Allie Says:

    I am so glad your husband is home!!! It’s tough that we all depend in social media and our blogs like we do, we want to share the good news with everyone! But OPSEC is always going to be important, thank you for reminding us of that. Good luck with reintegration and enjoy your time as a family together!!!
    Allie recently posted..Go Big Blue!My Profile

  21. Bonnie Says:

    SO happy for you! Great post….

  22. Chambanachik Says:

    Congratulations! How wonderful.
    Chambanachik recently posted..Sky’s PostMy Profile

  23. Koko @ Koko Likes Says:

    So well said. So happy for you and your family. So so thrilled.
    Koko @ Koko Likes recently posted..Heaven on a PlateMy Profile

  24. Hallee the Homemaker Says:

    I’m so thrilled for you. You and your Seth have been in my prayers. How amazing and wonderful to have your family back together again at last.

    I keep praying that this war will end soon. Like you, I’m sure, I look forward to the day I can say that my husband and I have spent more time together than apart.

    Hallee the Homemaker recently posted..Menu Monday 16 JAN 12My Profile

  25. the whyte house Says:

    i completely get the cleaning. i do that cleaning rush now…and he’s only doing 2 wk traveling. ha!
    the whyte house recently i know my abc’s.My Profile

  26. Morhia Says:

    I totally feel what you are saying. I had no idea of OPSEC until reading many of your posts. I am a new military wife and just now learning about this stuff. I have so many times wanted to put on my blog, FB how many weeks before my husband leaves or how long he will be gone. Actually at first I did. Then after reading your blog postings I pulled them down quickly and reposted more friendly OPSEC blogs. Thanks for sharing your ups and downs.
    Morhia recently posted..Our House SoldMy Profile

  27. Jennifer Says:

    Omg! Congrats to you and your family!!! And I LOVE the picture of you (I’m assuming that’s you!) behind the dryer! Too funny! You are one strong wife and mama and I know your husband is so proud!! Can’t wait to hear about the reintegration and hope everything goes smoothly!!!
    Jennifer recently posted..#2, #13, #25= DONEMy Profile

  28. Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) Says:

    Oh girl – I am just SO thrilled that your man is back, safe and sound! I just can’t imagine how hard deployment with little ones must be!

    Sorry I am so late reading and commenting. I was just catching up on your posts and saw you mentioned us! How sweet! I was offline at Christine Young’s house for the weekend — an online friend whom I flew to spend time with. Cause yes, my online friends have also become some of my best friends in the world!
    Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) recently posted..Find Your Inner Supermom with Ultra Immune-GiveawayMy Profile

  29. Kathy Says:

    Hi Ann Marie – I recently wrote a blog article for child care providers on why a parent in a military family might not share information about events going on at home that may affect the child at school. After reading your post, I went back and added OPSEC as another reason that I had overlooked. I know you were gearing your comments toward info shared on the internet, but it’s certainly a factor in what parents share with child care providers as well. Oh, and I also linked back to this post so that child care folks can better understand the view from the homefront parent’s perspective (since you shared it so eloquently!). Thanks for helping me and others better understand the viewpoint of the military parent! (Here’s the link to the blog post I wrote, if you’re interested – feel free to add more from the parent perspective!

  30. Rena Nichole Says:

    Omg! Delays! My husband came home early from a deployment, because he broke his collar bone. Exciting, right!? The date changed like a million times, because it wasn’t a standerd thingy. Then they chartered him on the wrong kind of plane, so it changed again. Then someone ran into their plane with a water truck, and grounded them for 3 more days. I was going nuts! It took like a month! LoL.
    Rena Nichole recently posted..I am the Most Supportive Milspouse in ExistenceMy Profile

  31. Florence18Moore Says:

    I know that it’s not easy to have a partners that protect our world and seek for the peace, you have a lovely image of what family called is…
    Florence18Moore recently posted..Web Hosting Uptime Reports March 2012My Profile


  1. Humorous OPSEC prevented online updates | Household6Diva - January 16, 2012

    [...] Blogging, Military Life Welcome! If you are new to Household6Diva I would love for you to subscribe via RSS feed or Email. I would also love to connect with you via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Thanks for stopping by – I hope to see more of you!Yesterday’s post was on the serious side – so today I thought I’d lighten things up with a list of facebook/twitter updates I’ve been collecting in a Word document.  These are some of the thoughts and updates I would have wanted to share during the days leading up to the day my husband returned from Afghanistan.  (Check out yesterday’s post to learn more about OPSEC / Operational Security and how it impacts us as Military Family.) [...]

  2. Reintegration: Why am I not sleeping? | Household6Diva - January 21, 2012

    [...] As I sit here to type this, I we are on Day 7 of Reintegration. (The day he marched into the Gym is considered Day 0.) [...]

  3. Love, War, and Social Media | - April 18, 2012

    [...] And when it was finally time for my soldier to walk through those doors… [...]