While They're Away
Five Strategies for Summer Deployments
Deployments are never easy, but they can be extra challenging in the summer when school is out. However, there are ways to make it a little easier. Below are some tips for surviving summer and deployment.
Try a new outdoor activity, or take up one you used to do. Making it one you can do with your kids can be a great way of not only getting fresh air and exercise for everyone, but it is also a great way to spend some quality time together. It doesn’t have to be complicated – it can be as easy as going for hikes, cycling on local trails, or geocaching in your area. Be sure to check out the local PSP – they often offer many fun family activities.
ONLINE GROCERY SHOPPING
Try getting your groceries delivered. Life is busy enough without a stop at the grocery store, and it’s always that much harder with young kids. It’s also easy to go over budget with all the yummy food – especially if you are already hungry when you are there. While there is a small fee to have your groceries delivered, you do often save money in the long run.
Not only does it force you to meal plan, but you avoid impulse purchases. If your area doesn’t have a grocery store that delivers, many are now offering grocery pickup – you create your order online, they prep it, and you just have to pick it up. One of the features I find handy is that you can track your total as you shop online, which means you know exactly how much you are spending before you ever even get to the cashier. You can also add items as you remember them – no more creating paper lists.
As things get low in the kitchen, just log in and add whatever items are needed. When your list is ready, you are a click or two away from done. The best part of ordering online? It means you don’t need to bring your little darlings into the grocery store!
LOOK AFTER YOU
Take care of yourself! This is very important – you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. It could be a simple walk or run, time to read a book, or coffee with a friend. If getting out is difficult – childcare can be expensive – there are some great workout and mindfulness videos available on YouTube.
One of my favourites is Yoga with Adrienne. Another one if you are looking for cardio is Walk at Home with Leslie Sansone. Remember, it’s okay to say no to people and activities if you are feeling overwhelmed. Better yet, start using the word before life gets overwhelming and you are burnt out. Life is really busy, especially when your spouse is away. Use your time wisely, and don’t feel you need to do everything everyone asks of you. The idea is to stay healthy – both mentally and physically.
USE AVAILABLE SERVICES
Make use of the services offered at your local MFRC. Keep in mind they may be limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The MFRC often has many supports and services for families, especially families experiencing a deployment. They often have special childcare for deployed families. You can take that time to run errands, attend appointments, or just get a bit of quality you time. MFRCs also provide fun and informative programs for spouses and families.
These can involve playgroups, special events, language classes, cooking classes, and much more. There is also a deployment co-ordinator available to help you, too. They usually have books and resources to help you and your children cope with the deployment. They will also help you ship parcels for your loved one, too. Also, did you know that they can offer emergency childcare? Make sure you reach out to find out exactly what your local MFRC offers and don’t hesitate in taking advantage of all they have to offer.
If you need to talk to someone, remember, there is the Family Information Line and Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program (CFMAP). CFMAP is available for military personnel and their immediate family members.
The summer can be long with children home. Try dedicating time each week for a special outing with your family. This doesn’t have to be expensive – check out your local library for summer programs or local community centre for playgroups to attend.
It could be as simple as family game night or even a family video game competition. Set up a family movie in the backyard, and eat your dinner outdoors while watching it. Your local public library will have a fantastic movie collection, and many now lend out video games. Again, there are often lots of fun programs and events at your local MFRC and PSP.
PASSING THE TIME QUICKLY
Deployments can be difficult, but there are many ways of making the time pass more smoothly. Get outside, get together with friends, if you can due to the pandemic. Try something new – there are many ways to have fun, get to know your community, and make new friends, or build new skills.
Again, I cannot stress enough the value of getting to know your local MFRC – they are there to help. Make sure you know the resources available to you, and that you take care of yourself!
The deployment will be over before you know it, and your loved one will be returning. Right now it might feel like you will never make it through, but it will end eventually.