About Me

Fort Bragg, NC, United States
I'm a stay at home dad raising four beautiful children. I am the proud spouse of an Army Lieutenant Colonel. I do my best to keep up with the kids and all of their activities. I enjoy playing the bass and the occasional bass guitar building project. You can follow me on twitter if you so desire...@ArmySpouse007.

Monday, May 16, 2011

It's that time of year again! (deployments-R-us)

Well, it's that time of year again. No, I'm not talking about the coming of Spring or Summer. I'm talking about the upcoming deployment. We're about 2 months out from my wife's next deployment. And while it is nice to be able to plan for it, knowing it is coming doesn't make it any easier to deal with. Like so many other spouses who go through this every other year, I'm already gearing up my mind to what is ahead. As I sit here writing this, I'm trying to remember all of the things that got me through the last deployment. As I wrote about last year, I learned so much about myself while my wife was gone. My hope was that I wouldn't forget any of the hard earned lessons and growth once she came home and life returned to normal. With that said, I'd like to share a couple of the basic things I did to get through. Perhaps you've been doing these things all along and I'm simply the last one to the party. Maybe you're new to this and these tips will be able to make life a bit easier for you.

Of all of the many things that I learned while my wife was gone, none was more helpful to me that foregoing dishes and glasses in favor of paper cups and paper plates. Yes, I know, not very environmentally friendly; honestly, though, I wasn't as concerned with saving the polar bears as I was with saving my sanity. Now, you might have a small family and don't have to do the dishes that often (twice a day for us on some days!). But for a family of 6, the dishes and glasses and plastic cups and spoons and forks and bowls...well, you get the idea. It became overwhelming. Having the kids simply throw their plates and cups away after meals made life so much easier. Obviously, once my wife came home we reverted back to normal plates and such (I had help at the point!). But for my money, it was worth it not to have to do the dishes very often.

One of the most important things that we as parents do for our children is also one of the most basic. That's bath time. Now, imagine, if you will, needing to get four kids clean every day. If you're a parent, you know that kids love bath time. Suds, bubbles, warm water, toys... what's not to love??? It's all fun and games until you're the one doing the cleaning. That's why I came up with the assembly line method. When my wife is deployed we almost never do baths. We do showers. I'll line my kids up in the bathroom, bare bottoms and all. The first one gets into the shower. I wash him/her up and down, side to side. I then pull him/her out of the shower and dry him/her off while kid #2 gets in. I then repeat the process until everyone is clean. I can get all of my kids squeaky clean in about 5 minutes. No, it's not happy fun bath time, but the mission is accomplished and I can move on to the next task at hand on that given night. Now, in the year since the last deployment, my oldest has gotten to where he does all of that himself in the mornings, so bath/shower time for the upcoming deployment doesn't look quite as daunting!

There are several other little tips and tricks I used to make life a bit smoother while my wife was gone, things I'll use again when she leaves us this Summer. The above two, though, are probably the most useful in terms of easing the job of being a single parent in a deployment. With any luck, I'll come up with a few more in the year ahead. Remember, never cut corners unless you need to cut corners!

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You can follow me on Twitter if you so choose... @Armyspouse007


  1. I cannot tell you how funny this was for me. The assembly line shower thing is cracking me up. My husband (Army) was watching me and just smiling... :) I am definitely a blog stalker of yours now. :P

  2. Laughing so hard at the assembly line showers! I have four boys & I remember the first deployment doing two kids to the tub at a time- cut down bath time a lot! Now thank goodness they are much older going into deployment #4 . We too use paper products all the ime especially in the summers when I have no help.

  3. Wow. I just realized my kids are 2 years older than the beginning of last deployment. Which means they can do CHORES!!! Dishwasher unloading. Putting their own laundry away. Pet care. They can even, with some bribery, lysol wipe down their bathroom between my cleanings. And during deployment I am not above bribery.

  4. Great Article. I look forward to your articles but not at the expense of your wife being deployed. Everything will be ok.. Chores are ok, everyone helping is great. Paper plates, showers, laundry helpers are fantastic... Keep writing.. I love it..

  5. Love your blog. It sounds like our spoues are on similar deployment cycles. I'll be rooting for you! Thanks for sharing with us!

  6. I'm back to say that your topic and graphic gave me an idea for our first FRG meeting after the troops are gone. I love the idea of "Cation: Deployment Challenges Ahead!" I'll let you know how it goes!

  7. The visual of naked little butts made me laugh. Good One!
    We're coming up on another deployment; our 5th major separation. NOT looking forward to it.
    I put this quote on my blog today:

    "We deceive ourselves when we fancy that only weakness needs support. Strength needs it far more."

    - Anne-Sophie Swetchine

    I hope that time goes by quickly for you, with no major hassles along the way...