Solo parenting with your partner across the world is not for the faint of heart. But military mamas don’t have to go at it alone either. I’ve gathered up a few ways that I’ve made our daily lives simpler, which in turn, makes me breathe easier when my love is miles and miles and miles away on a deployment. These little life hacks are not military exclusive either–snag a thing or two from this list for when you are kicking it solo or just need to simplify your routine. We are better together, mamas. Take the help. Take time to fill up your cup so you can pour out into your crew. Know that you are not alone.
Set your coffee pot on self-timer
This probably sounds silly but give it a try. There is nothing I love more than when my husband is home and brings me in a hot cup of coffee while I’m still cozied in bed. I love when the smell is piping through our house right when I wake up. Putting my pot on self-timer the night before makes me feel treated every morning. It’s a simple way to take care of myself and start the day out right.
Build a bear with voice recorders
These little pups have been a Godsend. Before my husband left, my mama surprised our kiddos with their own stuffed puppies and a voice recorder for my husband to record good night messages on. When the babes are having a hard day, and when the timezones don’t always allow for a phone call, these come in for the rescue at bedtime. There is something about their dad’s voice that is soothing, safe, and secure. Hearing it makes even the hardest days feel a little brighter.
Grocery pick up
Yes, Duluth local mamas! This is new it’s even better than you can imagine. One of the things I actually loathe about missing my better half is meal planning and grocery shopping with small children. This has solved all my shopping troubles and I feel like its Christmas morning every time I pull into the pickup at Walmart and I don’t have to even unbuckle my babies while they LOAD my groceries. What is this life?!
Plan weekly dinner dates
We have a standing Monday night dinner date at our friends’ and Thursday night dinners at my in-laws. The consistency is key to my sanity. Knowing that I can count on those two places being a solid ground to land on throughout the week is such a gift.
Use paper plates.
I am telling you, when your teammate is on another part of the planet, paper plates are like gold. The reality is that there is so much to do in regular, everyday life and then count yourself a person down. This means that something has to slide. For me fancy plates and extra dishes it is. Paper plates are easy to clean up and they simplify our evening routine.
Curbside to go meals
This has become a tradition that will keep on keeping on even when we’re back to our normal grind. I love Tavern on the Hill’s curbside pick-up for the same reasons I adore grocery pick-up: we can swing in on our way home and everything will be ready for us and I don’t have to unbuckle anyone from car seats. Bonus: on Tuesdays kids eat free (with the purchase of an adult entree). So it’s creamy avocado tacos and sweet potato fries for me and my kids split the kids’ menu cheese pizza. Perfect.
This app was a game changer for us. We could talk, Facetime, text, send photos across the world clear as day! It was a serious gift and you don’t have to be connected to WIFI for it to work!
Welcome home signs
We were given a tip that some banner websites gives away welcome home banners for military homecomings! (Just pay shipping!) The quality of ours is top notch and we made it generic enough that we can pass it on to another family on their happiest day! It reads: BEST DAY EVER! Welcome home, Dad!
If you are in the thick of things with a deployed spouse, just know that you’ve got this. If its looming ahead, I know you will do it with courage and a beautiful strength you may never have known you had. Any time anyone asks me how I do it, I simply reply “Grace upon grace.” And its true… along with the help of a community of people who love us so well and a couple silly life hacks that simplify our lives.