Being able to plan Girls Night Out is part of deployment survival. If you have an event to look forward to–whether it is one weekend or one month from now–then you can live off of that positive energy for a while. Social events provide a great distraction, give you something to do, bring you closer to friends, and help time to go by more quickly!
That’s why I recommend celebrating everything during deployment! You should celebrate every month that passes. Give yourself small celebrations to look forward to each week or each month to keep some positive momentum. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive. Even a coffee date with friends can brighten your whole week!
You can also celebrate your own achievements during deployment: when you complete a class, finish a big project, potty-train your toddler, etc. You are working hard, staying strong, and doing your best to keep everything running smoothly on the home front. Be proud of what you are doing, and reward yourself!
And then there are holidays. Every holiday is a challenge during deployment. Without your person around to celebrate with, holidays can feel doubly frustrating: you miss your traditions, and you can’t help being jealous of all the other families making fun plans all around you.
So of course, celebrating with friends and working together to plan girls night can be a fun way to stay motivated during deployment. The trouble is, what if you are new to a unit or to the base, and don’t have many friends to celebrate with?
If you aren’t sure how to plan Girls Night with people who are only acquaintances and Facebook friends, then here are some tips.Use these ideas to plan a fun girls' night out during deployment! #ThisisDeployment #milso #milspouse Click To Tweet
Plan girls night events for your milspouse group
Choose group activities open to everyone
Maybe there is a restaurant you have been wanting to try, or a local event or attraction that is not very kid-friendly. Is there someplace you have been wanting to check out, but are nervous to go on your own? Then the chances are that others are just waiting for an excuse to go too! Here are some favorites:
- sushi or fondue restaurants, or any special ethnic cuisine
- watching a new movie in theaters (especially if it is part of a series)
- a group package at a spa
- a recipe exchange potluck party
- a comedy club, or place with live music
- a Paint and Sip painting party (with wine), or a pottery painting session
- wine tasting or vineyard tour
- wine and cheese party (haha, notice a theme here? Milspouses like wine, ok?)
- Christmas cookie exchange party
- activities like Go-Karting, Laser Tag, or Paintball
- group horse riding class or trail
- cooking class
- game night (could be board games or Escape Room games, or any fun group game)
Use Facebook groups and events to plan girls night
Most units have a page for spouses. Mention you want to plan Girls Night, and throw out some ideas. Chances are, people will say “Yes, PLEASE!” Then you can create an event and use that to nail down details–time, place, who is going, cost, etc. This is a great way to make some new friends and invite a large group, even when many of them aren’t your personal Facebook friends.
Timing is important if you want group participation
Plan to meet around 7 pm on a weekend. I’ve learned through trial and error that this works best for mixed groups. On a weekday, most working milspouses won’t be able to attend. If your group will include anyone with kids, this is the easiest time for them. They can feed the kids before the babysitter arrives, then scoot out the door to meet you, and let the babysitter put the kids to bed. If you plan something in the middle of the day, that makes it hard for moms to find a babysitter and attend.
Also, plan girls night events on a payday. Yep, we all get paid the same 2 weekends of the month. Some people have a tighter budget than others, and won’t have extra cash to spend on themselves during the other weekends.
Find more deployment support in my book, Open When: Letters of Encouragement for Military Spouses. It has thoughtful letters to inspire you through many common challenges of military life! You can purchase it on Amazon, buy it directly from the publisher, or order an autographed copy here!
You can be a host, even if you have a tiny apartment
Just because you are the one with an idea doesn’t mean you have to host a Girls’ Night at your own house. Contact your base housing office to reserve (for FREE) one of the community centers. Or you can be the group coordinator for an event at a restaurant or other public location. And then you won’t even need to clean your apartment!
Keep costs low
During a deployment, many people want to save money. They may also feel guilty doing something expensive without their husband. So if you want to suggest something fancy, try to find a good deal, or an offer that makes it easier to accept. Is there a group rate? Or can you do something affordable like a potluck party where everyone brings an appetizer, a dessert, or a bottle of wine?
Dress up a little
Plan girls night with a fun theme and a chance to look your best. Have fun choosing an outfit and doing your hair and make-up. Do your nails if you have the time and enjoy that. Wear your heels. You want to feel good about yourself this night, so wear whatever gives you the most joy and confidence, weather that is tight jeans or a cute dress.
Plan girls night to welcome everyone
Even if you and a close friend attend an event together, remember that there may be someone there who doesn’t know anyone. They could be new to the unit or the area. So try not to talk to only people you already know. Instead, greet everyone, learn some new names, and draw others into your conversations.
Have fun planning AND participating!
The whole point of a Girls Night is to provide entertainment, distract you, and let you laugh and enjoy yourself more than usual. (Good food and/or wine is a huge bonus, too). It shouldn’t be stressful or frustrating. If it is, then try a very different approach next time.
So what are you waiting for? If you want time to fly by more quickly during deployment, you better start to plan girls night for your crew!