Family members of field staff
As a family member, you naturally have many questions, which is quite normal.
Prior to a mission
Before it is time to part, you as a family member may wonder what your life will be like while your next-of-kin is on mission with the MSB. Take the time to talk things through with your next of kin before leaving, and agree on how you will communicate with each other. Discuss when it might be most convenient for both parties to talk on the telephone, and how often you will have the opportunity to do so. In most mission areas, it is usually possible to call, use Skype and to send e-mails. Think about what times would be suitable in view of possible time differences.
If you have any questions about the mission, please ask your next-of-kin to bring them to the pre-deployment briefing that is held before departure.
During a mission
The contract of employment for MSB field staff states whether there will be opportunities for home leave travells during the mission. If this is the case, you as a family member will have something to look forward to and then the mission hopefully will not seem so long.
If you have any questions relating to the mission, please contact the HR Officer or Programme Officer at the MSB whose contact details are given the field staff prior to the departure. Outside office hours the MSB's Duty Officer is responsible for all emergency calls from field staff and also for monitoring the security situation in the countries where they are stationed.
After the homecoming
After your next-of-kin has returned from a mission, it will make things easier if you are prepared for the fact that it may take time to resume your relationship with him or her. It can be quite an adjustment to return home to different routines and conditions from those that he or she was used to on mission.
During the first few days at home it may be a good idea to keep your expectations at a low level, not to be disappointed. It may be important not to plan too much during this initial period and instead allow the person who has been on mission, time to re-adjust to daily life.
As a family member it is positive if you take time to listen to what happened during the mission, ant it may be important to be allowed to talk about the experiences. If it is your partner who has returned home, it may be useful to know that it can take time to get back to a relaxed relationship.
You may need a little time to get to know one another again. If the person who was on mission has children, it may be worth bearing in mind that children (depending on their age) often experience the period, during which a parent was absent from their lives, as being extremely long.
They may cling to the person who remained at home more than usual as they may have felt a little abandoned. Again, it is important to give it time and let the child reassess your respective roles once more.
Try to answer all the questions that the child may bring up and allow room for questions. Avoid giving a polished, too detailed account, but instead talk about the subject and be observant with respect to any questions the child has. As a partner you should be supportive and try to ensure that the child and the parent who has been absent have a little extra time together.