When you’re a soldier serving in the reserves, the challenges of juggling military duties with family life are frustrating. With monthly drills and, oftentimes, extended summer stretches, finding quality time with our loved ones can be a real challenge. In this blog, I want to share some ideas and tips on how we can make the most of our weekends and create cherished memories with our families while fulfilling military commitments.
1. Plan in Advance
When you know your drill schedule, mark those weekends on the family calendar. Planning ahead allows you to anticipate your time together and adjust your family’s activities accordingly. This not only gives you something to look forward to but also ensures your family knows you value the time you have together.
2. Turn Drills into Mini-Adventures
Make the most of your drill weekends by involving the family in military-related activities. At an appropriate time, bring them along to the base if possible, show them the equipment you use, and introduce them to your military friends. This can help your family understand and appreciate your service better, and it makes the weekends feel like special adventures.
3. Embrace Staycations
When you have limited time during the weekends, consider staycations as a wonderful option. Explore nearby parks, museums, or historical sites. A day trip to a beautiful location can be just as memorable as a long vacation, and it minimizes travel time, giving you more hours to spend with your spouse and kids.
4. Quality Over Quantity
While we may not have the luxury of every weekend together, focus on making the time you do have count. Be present and engaged during those precious moments. Put away distractions and dedicate that time solely to your family.
5. Create Family Traditions
Family traditions help create lasting memories and strengthen bonds. Whether it’s a weekend BBQ, movie night, or a Sunday morning hike, establish traditions that you can maintain even during busy times. These traditions will be something your family can look forward to and cherish.
6. Utilize Technology
When military duties keep you away for longer stretches during the summer, take advantage of technology to stay connected. Regular video calls, sharing pictures, and even playing online games together can help bridge the distance and make your presence felt.
7. Involve Your Family in Hobbies
Find activities that you and your family can enjoy together. Whether it’s fishing, gardening, or cooking, involving your spouse and kids in your hobbies can be a fun and rewarding way to spend weekends together.
8. Seek Support from Military Community
Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Connect with other military families who face similar challenges. Local support groups, online forums, and base events can be great places to meet others who understand your situation and can offer valuable advice and friendship.
Being in the reserves and balancing military duties with family life may not always be easy, but it is possible to make the most of the weekends you have. By planning ahead, being present during family time, and involving your loved ones in your military life, you can create meaningful and cherished moments together.
Remember, your service is essential, but so is the well-being and happiness of your family. With a little creativity and determination, we can navigate these challenges and make our weekends truly special for those we love most. Stay strong, and thank you for your service!
If you have any more tips or ideas for making the most of weekends in the reserves, share them in the comments below! Let’s continue supporting and uplifting each other in this incredible journey of military service and family life.