Deployment forces single-parenthood on a military family. How to become a blessing in that scenario.
Posted in , Mar 21, 2017
The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. (Psalm 146:9, ESV)
March 21 is National Single Parent Day. My husband and I raised three sons, and I cannot imagine doing the job of parenting alone. However, we have numerous friends who do just that. Some are permanent single parents, others go through seasons of being single parents because they have a spouse serving in the military.
Those who deal with raising kids while a spouse is deployed face difficulties many of us can only imagine. The first is a logistics. Keeping up with who needs to be where is a challenge even when there are two adults in a household.
But I believe an even harder struggle is the fact that everyone in the family is worried about the absent parent’s safety and well-being during deployment.
As a faith community, we can share the responsibilities with these sometimes-single parents. Here are ways to ease the workload of the parent at home and lighten the worry of the one who’s deployed:
1. Act before deployment happens.
Before a family in your community faces time apart, get to know them. Be a friend now, and it will make it easier for them to ask for help when they need it. By getting to know their routines and kids, you will be in place when chaos hits.
2. Offer to be a stand-in parent.
Help with sporting events and other activities. Sometimes there are parent-specific gatherings, like father-daughter or mother-son. If the designated parent is gone, it can leave everyone feeling awkward. Having a close friend who can step in means a lot to the parent and child.
3. Keep burnout at bay.
Without a spouse to help, the remaining parent can get overwhelmed. Give them a much-needed break by offering to take the kiddos out or stay with them while the at-home parent gets an outing.
4. Stock the freezer and the wallet.
By having a meal in the freezer to pull out and reheat or restaurant gift cards to use when cooking is just too difficult can be a huge help to a weary parent.
God promises to take care of those whose spouse isn’t present. But He often uses us to fulfill that promise. By making ourselves open, we can bless others by being there when they need us most.