By Lizann Lightfoot
Deployment is hard on a military family. It doesn’t matter how many kids you have or how many hours you work each week, every spouse carries the burden of stress and single-handedly taking care of every family issue that occurs during deployment.
Thankfully, a military spouse doesn’t have to do it alone. There are many services that can do some of the work for you, bring what you need to your door, or take some of the stress off your shoulders. If you are a military spouse facing a deployment, you will want to take notes on all of these services.
Meals are easier when the food is delivered to your door
There are numerous meal delivery services such as Blue Apron, Chef’D, Home Chef, Plated, and Hello Fresh that save you trips to the grocery store and provide every ingredient you need for a healthy homemade meal. All you have to do is open the box and follow the directions. Compare them to understand the differences, then choose one that works for you.
To avoid trips to the grocery store, try a grocery delivery service like Amazon Fresh or Giant grocery store’s Peapod service. The delivery fee is totally worth skipping the experience of shopping with all your kids in tow.
Some Sam’s Club and Costco locations allow you to place an order online, then pick it up curbside. This can save you the time and hassle of pushing those oversized carts through crowded aisles.
Call for help with cleaning or yard work
It’s easy to fall behind on chores during deployment, especially when you are taking care of everything on your own. If you need extra hands, check your base Facebook page for military spouses or teenage milkids who are willing to help with house cleaning or yard work. There are many military spouse-owned cleaning businesses that would be happy to help you. Sometimes, paying the neighbor’s kid $20 to mow your yard is money well spent.
These services help military kids during deployment
If your milkid is struggling at school during deployment, you are not alone. After-school tutoring service is free for military kids through Tutor.com. At some military base locations, an after-school program called Operation Help a Hero helps with homework and does mentoring activities with children of deployed service members.
The USO’s United Through Reading program allows service members to make a video of themselves reading a book to their child. The USO helps them ship the video along with the book so that military kids can stay connected to their deployed parent.
If you need a few hours away from the kids, find a quality babysitter or mother’s helper through Care.com. A sitter watches your children at your house or theirs while you are away. A mother’s helper comes to your house and plays with your children while you are still there so you can get work done. Prospective sitters should have completed childcare and CPR training through the Red Cross.
If you are giving birth during deployment, a doula is a birth coach, trained to assist pregnant women during delivery. Operation Special Delivery offers professional doulas to wives of deployed service members at a reduced cost. Fees are based on the service member’s rank and monthly pay.
Don’t let car trouble slow you down
Murphy’s Law dictates that something must go wrong with every vehicle at least once during deployment. Sometimes this is because the spouse at home is too busy or distracted to keep up with regular car maintenance. There are good tips to maintaining a vehicle during deployment here. Other times, things go wrong without a warning.
If your car insurance includes roadside assistance, most plans will cover a tow truck when you break down, a rental car if you have an accident, and a locksmith when you lock yourself out. Because yes, that happens. USAA is popular car insurance for military families, but similar services are available through Geico and other companies.
Technical services can save your electronics
The Geek Squad from Best Buy has saved more than one electronic device that decided to crash during deployment. For serious issues, you have to bring a device into a Best Buy store location. However, if your computer and Internet are still functioning, then the Geek Squad can log into your device remotely and fix it before your eyes. Their restoration service starts at $100, but that is much cheaper than buying a new computer.
Fight stress with these fitness services
Base gyms are free to military spouses. Some have childcare options or family-friendly workout rooms. Many bases offer free or discounted classes such as Zumba, cardio and strength training, or Mommy and Me classes.
Some YMCA fitness centers offer a military discount which includes a lower monthly membership fee and no enrollment charges. YMCA locations allow members to use up to two hours per day of on-site childcare for free. This offers peace of mind and a chance to work on that homecoming body.
Lizann Lightfoot is an associate editor at Military One Click and a Marine Corps spouse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.