Military Spouses: Childcare and Going Out of Town

military spouses childcare

Your Employment Questions Answered: Childcare and Going Out of Town

Sometimes the best way to learn something new is by seeking advice from those who have been there. Asking questions is how we learn about new resources or can give us perspectives that we might never have thought about before. When you ask a question, you can gain the knowledge you are looking for that will help you figure out what you need to know to move forward, whatever the subject might be.

Childcare can be a big issue for military spouses. Their service member could be deployed or working long hours, and they might need to make serious decisions between work and their children. This isn’t going to be easy. Sometimes there is no easy answer and sacrifices are going to have to be made. Luckily there are some resources out there, both civilian and military that can help.

Question: Should I skip my work trip for my son’s attendance award?

My job is having a work retreat and my husband is deployed. My son is only in kindergarten. My friend is able to watch him for three days but won’t be able to take him to school. This means he will have to miss three days of school and will lose his perfect attendance. I could stay home, but I have already missed a retreat and attendance is strongly encouraged. I don’t know what to do. Is my son’s perfect attendance worth more than my work trip? How do I decide which has priority?


Having to choose between your child and your work can be difficult. You don’t want to have to pick one over the other, but in some cases, you might have to. In this case, the work trip should be your priority. You missed out on the last one but now you can go to this one and it sounds like it would be important that you do so. You do have someone who can watch your child and keep them safe which is the most important thing.

As far as his attendance goes, while missing school isn’t ideal, doing so at his age won’t be the end of the world. You can even talk with the teacher about getting some independent work for him to do while he isn’t at school. While earning a perfect attendance award might be fun, earning one, especially at age 5 isn’t totally realistic. During the school year there could be days he would need to miss for illness or even when your spouse returns from a deployment. Risking your job for that type of award wouldn’t be worth it.

Just like your service member spouse, your career is important and it provides for your family. There is nothing wrong with that. Your job is important too.

Childcare Options for Military Spouses

If you really don’t want him to miss school there might be a few options for you or for any childcare needs in the future.

YMCA School Partnerships

Check and see if his school has a YMCA partnership. If they do, they might be able to offer transportation before and after school. Not sure if it is possible for your caregiver to drop or pick up your child earlier before school or later after but that could be an option too.  For more info, please go here.

With, you can find a caregiver to take your son to and from school. He could still stay with your friend but they would take care of transportation. Please make sure to also check out the military discount.  For more info on the program, please go here.

Hourly Care at the CDC

While this might not help in this current situation, most military installations offer hourly care through the CDC (Child Development Center). This is great if you need someone to watch your child for a few hours during school breaks or even after school. In some cases, you might get free hours if your spouse is deployed.  For more info on the program, please go here.

As you can see you do have a few options when it comes to planning work trips around you and your son’s schedule. Hopefully, you will be able to find something that will work.


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