Recently, I was trying to plan out some vacation time for our family. As you might imagine it required looking at work schedules and school calendars. Trying to plan time off can get complicated. The one thing we don’t have to worry about anymore is the dreaded “duty schedule.” Through the years the dreaded duty schedule had a way of interfering with so many weekends and holidays. There would be times I thought my husband would have the day off only to discover “I have duty that day.”
If your loved one is on a watch bill, duty roster or [insert what your branch calls it here], here are three ways to embrace duty days:
Have a girl’s night in
If the duty day happens to fall on a weekend night, then you can bet there are other spouses in your command whose loved ones have duty with your spouse. Post a message on the command Facebook page or email them directly and plan a simple potluck get-together. You’ll have the chance to have some fun and it's the perfect opportunity to get to know the spouses in your unit.
Go see that movie you’ve wanted to see that your loved one has no interest in
Check the theater listings and make plans to see that film your spouse has absolutely no interest in seeing. For me this would involve anything written by Nicholas Sparks and if my husband was picking, I skip anything with a superhero. Plan to invite a friend and make a fun night out of what could otherwise be a very lonely, long night. I don’t know about you, but when my spouse is gone it doesn't bother me until the evening sets in and then I miss him like crazy. If there are no movies at the theater that interest you, try your Netflix or Amazon Prime queue. Personally, there is never a bad time for a Downton Abbey marathon.
Have dinner on board the ship or in the office
Having “duty” traditionally means your loved one will be on board/at work for at least a 24-hour period. Depending on his job, you should be able to coordinate a time when they have dinner and you can either bring dinner to them or have dinner in the galley/office with them. This really just depends on the command and requires pre-planning. If you have never been to their workplace, this is actually the best time to go because there are less people around and you get can a short tour of the place giving you some insight into what your spouses job entails. Every time I was able to go on board his submarine I always felt in awe of being on board and left with a slightly better understanding of the arduous living conditions. It helped me be more flexible and understanding.
How have you managed to have fun on duty nights? I’d love to hear your ideas.