It has been nearly a year now since my husband was sent overseas for six months—my how the time flies. I can recall feeling strangely confident in my abilities to hold down the fort and raise two kids all by myself for the next six months. Looking back on it now it was probably some sort of defense mechanism; a way to trick my brain into not panicking at the thought of flying solo for half a year while my husband was sitting in a hot bed of terrorist activity.
The ploy worked, for about a month, and then I started to understand the meaning of the phrase “no (wo)man is an island”. I needed some sort of break in the routine where I could have a little “me” time and the girls could do something fun at the same time. Thankfully, this is where the Military Family Resource Center (M.F.R.C.) came to the rescue.
I’d been aware of the M.F.R.C. prior to my husband’s latest deployment but hadn’t really required their services before. I knew they had a daycare for military children and they hosted various evening classes on such things as card making and learn a second language for the wives but who was to know they’d take your kids for a full day free of charge?
My friend and I discovered this little gem about two months into my husband’s deployment and just shortly after her husband was sent on training for six months. At first we thought we’d heard the lady wrong when she said we could drop the kids off every Friday, all day, and let them have a play day while we did whatever we wanted. It sounded just too good to be true to two tired mothers so we went to investigate further. Sure enough, all that was required were a couple of forms filled out stating who our husbands were and where they were deployed and we were off and running…without the kids!
We could book them in for any Friday that we wanted, as long as space was available, so we made sure to call early in the week and snag a spot. They had various rooms for the kids and all food and drinks were provided free of charge except, of course, for the baby who had to B.Y.O.B. (bring your own bottle). The kids had a blast playing with new friends and toys while we Mommies went out for lunch, got shopping done without having to keep an eye on the kids and got to talk about grown up things for a few hours…such as what our kids did this week.
I highly recommend checking out your local M.F.R.C. if your spouse is slated for deployment and you have young children. There is no hourly charge for leaving your children as long as your spouse is deployed. They also have evening events occasionally and will watch your kids in the daycare area while you attend a class in another room. It provides a much need break for both Mom and kids and makes getting through those long deployments a little more bearable.