I have spent many summers without my husband. I was thinking this morning of the different ways not having your husband home during the summer can make life more difficult than it normally would be. Since my husband is going to be home for a few days during the summer, I am reminded of what I am able to do just because here is here and what I have to do when he isn’t. I am reminded of deployment years and those summers and how difficult they became because I was solo parenting. I have learned to make the summer work as best I can but it still can get pretty hard when you are the only parent in the home during the months your children are out of school.
1) Grocery shopping. Normally I go grocery shopping when at least two of my kids if not all three are in school. No one is asking for extra foods. No one thinks we need to buy every little item of food that they like, no one is freaking out because they don’t want to be there. I can just go in with my list and be done with it. During the summer, I have to take at least two kids with me, if not all three. We always end up with extra stuff, it is always a little chaotic and I always miss those child-free shopping trips.
2) Appointments. Dentist appointments, doctor appointments, etc. I try not to schedule any during the summer but sometimes you have to go. So I have to either find a babysitter or take all the kids with me. This gets a little crazy sometimes. Doctors appointments mean waiting and even if you come prepared, if you have to wait a long time the kids just hit a point and it is pretty frustrating.
3) No time Off. During the school year I have a lot of time to myself. I can get work done, clean in peace or even go to lunch with my friends. During the summer I always have at least one kid with me. My alone time has to just get pushed aside which can get to you sometimes. Luckily, a lot of Military locations do have some sort of childcare for deployments. Here they have Super Saturdays where you can leave your kids with childcare workers from 9-5 on certain Saturdays. I tried to take advantage of this during our last deployment.
4) Later hours. My kids stay up later during the summer. It gets darker later, no need for them to get up as early. It just happens that way. I could stay up later too, after they go to bed. I could give myself more alone time but I get tired too. I usually go to sleep just an hour after they do. During the school year I have a little more time to myself after the boys’ bedtime.
5) No family trips. This is the hardest thing for me sometimes. When your husband is gone all summer long, you won’t be going on any family vacations together. You can take the kids and go on your own vacations but that isn’t always an option for everyone. You just have to wait the summer out and plan to take a vacation once your spouse gets home or has time off. If you are lucky, you might be able to plan R&R during the summer and get away somewhere nice.