As a military spouse, who sometimes parents four kids solo, I frequently get asked “how do you do it?” I hear, “I could never do what you do,” regularly. I really don’t see it that way, though. Sure, sometimes my daily life is more complicated, busy and stressful than the average household’s, but I try not to dwell on the momentary blip in the radar of my existence.As I have said many times before, it’s all about perspective. Sure, I could crumble to pieces when Horatio hits the road/airways/seas, yet again, for parts unknown, but what would be the point to it? I don’t need sympathy. I definitely need a support network, of course, just like any other person, but I can live without the looks of pity.
I freely offer my perspective to anyone who asks.
My secret? I put myself first.
Friends and family who are reading this probably just choked on their coffee, not believing what I wrote, but it’s true. What others may see as someone who takes care of her kids and husband first, and volunteers and helps others more often than not, truly is someone who does these things after carefully considering the consequences.
Before I ever commit to a job or volunteer position, I always first consider the consequences to my family and me. That simple step is the secret to my sanity and (usually) calm demeanor. Sometimes, volunteering at one of the boys’ schools (there are three) or our synagogue, is actually an active step toward putting myself first. It’s what I want to do. I feel good being an active part of our community. The kids don’t mind a quick dinner of pizza rolls or pancakes before or after my time out of the house. No one is worse off when I get out of the house to help someone else. I make sure of it.
When it’s just the kids and me at home during times when Horatio is deployed, it would be easy to get bogged down by the daily routines and grind of packing lunches, tidying up and making dinners, but when I feel myself starting to get run down and tired of it all, I mix it up. I make things easier for myself and I don’t feel bad about it. There’s nothing wrong with ordering the occasional (or weekly) pizza or stopping at the nearest fast food spot. I encourage my peers to do the same. The twenty odd dollars is money well spent for an evening of calm and a break from the chores. Using paper plates is one of my favorite ways to make my days easier. It’s simple and effective.
I encourage all parents to teach the kids to help with the laundry and then get them to help. You will be surprised by the time you can save by not stopping what you are doing to move a load to from the wash to the dryer or from the dryer to the basket to be carried upstairs to be folded. Kids who are big enough to reach into the washer or dryer can easily help with these simple tasks. Not only will you save some time, you are teaching them valuable skills. Really!
One of the most effective uses of my “me” time is to pamper myself. Of course it’s tempting to just put my feet up and watch Scandal on TV, but doing that while giving myself a mani pedi works better in the long run because the visual result is a constant reminder of the time out I took for myself. The little bit of effort has a long lasting, somewhat calming, effect. Try it.
I’ve joined forces with MilitaryTownAdvisor.com to offer a giveaway of a $100 Sephora gift card.
provides, neighborhood and area reviews written by military families to help other military families during the PCS and House Hunting Process. Military Town Advisor’s blog is a great, daily resource for things to do near duty stations. From where to shop and dine to free things to do with kids, they cover it all.
About The Giveaway:
I, along with Military Town Advisor, know that military wives put their families before themselves. We’ve teamed up to give one lucky lady a $100 Sephora Gift Card. Sure, we could’ve picked a Visa Gift Card, but we didn’t want you to go and pay bills or treat someone else. It’s time to treat YOU. So enter to win on the Rafflecopter widget below and on your way down there, get to know these other awesome military spouse bloggers!
Erin is a parenting coach, writer, academic writing coach, Navy wife and mom to 4 sons (one who has Autism Spectrum Disorder). She recently parented solo during her husband’s 20-month deployment. Her boys are 14, 12, 8 1/2 and 5 years old. The Been There Done That mom offers insight into military family life and no nonsense parenting.
Kristine, Marine Corps Wife
USMC Life provides an overview of major Marine Corps bases focusing on base information, housing, schools, youth, getting to and from each installation and links helpful to Marines and their families. The site also provides resources about Tricare healthcare, discounts, money for education, PCS tips, separating from the Corps and more.
Kara, Marine Corps Wife
Hi! I’m Kara, wife to a Marine and mom to two little boogers. We are currently stationed in Japan! I tend to blog about our adventures in a foreign country and life in general. I’m an avid fan of my kids, free stuff, sweepstakes, and making the most of this life.
Samantha, Army Wife
A lifestyle blog centering around fashion, family, and fun. At Hooah and Hiccups, you’ll find my latest fashion finds, parents advice, and heartfelt posts on just about anything!
Christy, Navy Wife
Navy wife and mother of 2 keeping writing about military life and keeping you informed of deals and events for military families in the San Diego and Camp Pendleton area.
Morgan, Army Wife
Everyday lifestyle blog about our time at Ft Bragg while I go to culinary school & open a restaurant.
Raven, Army Wife
The focus on Ms. MommyHH6 is moms! All moms, especially military moms and special needs moms. There is a weekly profile on a special mom. Product and book reviews are also a weekly staple. Topics covered on a rotating basis by Ms. MommyHH6 and guest bloggers are Cooking Simply, Cleaning & Laundry Tips, Organizing for Home & Life, Children’s Activities, Just for Mom, Special Needs Family Tips and Military Life “Simplified”. Every week also features a personal post from Ms. MommyHH6, a surprise Sunday Post and a special “6″ list!
Good Luck! The giveaway runs from Monday, June 3 through Thursday, June 13. Winner will be contacted via email and must respond within 24 hours or another winner will be chosen. The giveaway is open to all readers, not just military spouses. If you are not a spouse, please leave a review for your neighborhood, even if it’s not in a military town.