Shaping a Successful Summer While Your Spouse is Away

Wendy Poling
Frequent Contributor

Summer is fast approaching. Are you ready for longer days and having the kids home? What about that summer vacation, will you be taking one this year?


When it comes to planning summer fun it can be hard or even feel inappropriate to schedule summer vacations, day trips, BBQ's, etc., when our spouses are in harms way.


I think it's important to start off by saying I believe our spouses would like us to be happy on the homefront. With that in mind, our summer does not have to be filled with trips to exotic locations spending every extra dime we have. However, it can be filled with activities that are free, require little set up time and include things we enjoy doing. Taking the time to step away from the stress and organized chaos that can encompass our lives on the homefront is important. There is a reason ships pull into ports after completing long missions. Everyone needs a break and time to rest and recover before getting "back in the game".


Here are some ways to map out your summer and fill it with things to look forward to in an effort to not only give you a much needed break, but to also make the time go by faster!


Ways to shape up a successful summer:


  1. Must have Options! Create a Summer Fun calendar - Start by making a list of any important events. Example: Birthdays, Holidays and Special Occasions (concerts, plays, festivals, deployment half way night, FRG meetings, etc.). Once you have all your options, pick which events you'd like to attend and highlight special days like birthdays that you'll need to plan. Now add all those things to your Summer Fun calendar!!
  2. Day Tripping - Print out a map of your location and highlight a 2 hr. radius from your home. This will be your day trip playground. Pick a few places to explore and put it on your calendar.
  3. Summer Camp - If you have kids, consider finding a summer camp they can attend. I found my son was happier when he had something to look forward to and I was less stressed trying to be his social / activity director. Camp ideas include: Vacation Bible School, Soccer Camp, Music Camp, Adventure Camp, Golf Camp etc. A good place to start is your local base Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR).
  4. Local beaches or water parks - Pack a picnic lunch, plenty of sunscreen, water, favorite sand toys and head out for some sun, sand and playing in the water. If you don't have kids, take along a book and enjoy "going off the grid" for a few hours.
  5. Project day - Crafts can be a wonderful way to engage with your children and in the process make something to send to your deployed spouse! Pick a few days during the summer to plan a craft and enjoy the messy, gluey, glittery fun of it all!
  6. Join a walking or running club. Now that the days are warmer it's a good time to re-engage your fitness routine if it's been on the back burner or a good time to find a 5k or 10k you can register for and set a goal to participate! Grab a girlfriend and get to training!
  7. Summer Vacation. Whether you plan a week to visit family, a trip to a new city to explore or have a "stay-cation", take the time to plan some fun and enjoy your family, grandmas and grandpas and/or close friends!

You get the idea. I know for me weekends are the hardest during a deployment. When life slows down I notice the absence of my spouse more. With the lazy days of summer approaching it's important to have something to look forward to, something to keep us busy that we actually enjoy and something interesting to share with our spouses.


That reminds me; don't forget to discuss your ideas and plans with your spouse! Take photos and videos and include them in your next care package so they feel like they are sharing in the experience. Maybe even create your own version of "Flat Stanley", a "Flat Mommy or Daddy"!


If you need that extra push, consider your outings as scouting missions for possible locations to bring your spouse once they return!


I hope you'll join me in creating a summer fun calendar!


Do you have any tips for shaping up a successful summer while a spouse is deployed? Be sure to leave a comment!!


Be sure to consult your physician before starting any exercise routine.


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