Editor’s note: During COVID, some of these options might not apply, but please file them away for the future.
Your spouse just left for yet another deployment, and you are overwhelmed with everything you will have to do to keep your house and family running while they are gone. It’s time to give yourself a break. Here are six things you shouldn’t feel guilty about paying for during a deployment:
Solo parenting is hard. It’s totally okay to spend money on a babysitter. You should also take advantage of the hourly care at your local CDC. They are usually cheaper than an in-home babysitter and can make for an easy way to go shopping alone or to have a day to yourself. The truth is, all spouses need some time away from our kids, if for no other reason than to give us a chance to breathe and refresh so we can be the best parent we can be.
2. Someone to mow your lawn
Mowing the lawn is a never-ending chore during the spring and summer months, especially if you live in a place that gets a lot of rain. Trying to figure out how to get the lawn done can be challenging and confusing. Where should your kids go when you mow the lawn? If they are little, do you feel comfortable leaving them in the house? What if you are too tired after a day of work to get the lawn done and the weekends just seem to busy to be able to make time for it? It’s okay to hire someone to mow your lawn. You can pay the local neighbor kid or set something up with a service to come out every week during the mowing season.
3. Cleaning service
If you are struggling with cleaning your house while your service member is deployed, look into a cleaning service. Have someone come out every six weeks to do a deep cleaning or pay for a weekly service. Don’t feel bad if you need to do this. A cleaning service is a well-spent expense. You can always cancel the service when you have that extra set of hands to help out around the house. If you are moving, you can hire a company to do your pre-move cleaning. This can save you not only time but the stress that comes with trying to get everything done that you need to do to get ready for your move.
4. Take out
Cooking and deployments don’t always see eye to eye. Sometimes you need a night off. This is when you can order pizza, Chinese, or some other type of take-out food and leave the cooking to someone else. Don’t feel guilty if you need to do this every once in a while or if you want to have pizza every Friday night. The kids will enjoy this; it will give you something to look forward to and ordering delivery means fewer dishes to wash.
5. Plane tickets home
Planning a trip home will break up a deployment. The money you spend on the plane tickets will be worth every penny. If you don’t want to visit home, take another trip. You don’t have to go on an epic journey–a weekend to visit your best friend can be just what you need during your deployment.
6. Extra fun
While your spouse is deployed, you are going to want to stay engaged. This might mean spending a little more every week on fun and activities. While there are plenty of free events going on, you will also enjoy going to a movie or taking the kids to the fair. Don’t feel guilty about doing so. You are making memories and filling up your calendar at the same time.