Being a mom in the military is truly a unique job; one that takes on many shapes and roles. Like dads, birthing a baby doesn’t exactly qualify a woman to be called a mother so I’m not referencing all women who gave birth in this post. However, I am referring to those mothers who have endured restless nights, toiling with decisions on how to juggle parenthood and the military.
There are many mothers in the civilian work force who I am sure make tough decisions everyday in regard to their children.
How soon should they should return to work?
Whether or not to allow their children to attend daycare?
Being a working mom is tough, and this takes nothing away from stay at home moms which is a tough job in its own element; but I often feel working mothers are overlooked. More overlooked than that is the military mother. Consider the hidden factors included in this job:
*waking your children up in the dark to get them to daycare-and picking them up in the dark to head home.
*leaving your children as early as 4 months of age to deploy for anywhere from 8 months to a year.
*missing out on doctors appointments, school recitals, sports games etc.
And worst of all:
*being targeted and criticized not necessarily for having children but for wanting to mother them while in the military.
How I envied the moms in their aerobic gear walking their school aged children to school while strolling the babies. I hated the fact that the PTA, and room mom positions would never be an option for me. Because of these reasons and more I chose (about 4 years ago) to mother my children the way I believe God intended regardless of my military status.
I started to take off work and go to their doctors appointments, when they had a room party or event at school-I was there! I chose them first, career second; which felt great! But boy oh boy was I punished. The consequences at times seemed unbearable. I was targeted and persecuted, given evaluations that fell far short of my worth. I cringed inside as I watched friends gain promotions I knew I was more worthy of. Ultimately, because of those things the end result will be the Navy not allowing me to reenlist after my term is up December 2012. I will have made 14 years in by then.
I am at peace with that, I weighed the career consequences and to me they are worth it. For those moms who can hold on and make it to your 20 year mark, my hat goes off to you. I can truly say that I cannot and would not be able to do it! I pray for you collectively because I know it is hard. When I sometimes feel down about my career ending short, about walking away from something I’ve known since I was 19. I remember what God created me to do. That is to mother my children and lead them to Him. Everyday when I walk them to school, pack their lunches, or conduct another room party as their PTA room mom I thank God for the opportunity. It’s something stay at home moms may have taken for granted but for me it’s a true gift..and no I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world!