This post originally appeared on MyMommyVents on November 11th, 2015.
Let’s be honest–parenting can sometimes feel like a battlefield. Armed with heavy artillery feuled by the coffee maker, we take on the noble fight, dodging rapid fire toys, maneuvering dinnertime, and putting sleepy children to bed by 1900 hours.
For military moms, the battle is a lot more challenging.
Both Jamilah and her husband entered the service with the hopes of becoming American citizens. As a Navy Equipment Operator, she was responsible for securing the Quarterdeck area during her first pregnancy while her husband was deployed as a Builder.
After delivering a son, she became a heavy equipment operator, driving over 5,000 miles on convoys. While carrying her second child, a daughter, she became a cost report manager, checking the Navy’s inventory.
The road for her family wouldn’t be an easy one. Late nights and early mornings took their toll. Within 6 weeks of their birth, her children began receiving in home care, while she woke each morning at 0430 (that’s 4:30am for us civilians) to prepare breakfast and head to work. “We lived 20 minutes away, so on physical training days, we showered at work.”
Motivated by her dreams for her children, she attended school at night. Thankfully, her mother was there to pitch in. “While my husband was on deployment, I…had the help of my lovely mother. I was in school, so I needed the childcare for night time. When my mother wasn’t there, I felt like I was losing control. Trying to manage it all was so stressful…”
In addition to her work, school, and children, there’s her marriage. Although Jamilah and her husband kept in touch through Viber, Facetime, Skype, and What’s App during his deployments, “My relationship always felt like we were starting over…and having to learn each other all over again.”
Military life can be hard on families. Finding reliable child care while serving your country is difficult. “I found myself constantly having to find a night sitter for duty nights or simply telling them I [couldn’t], due to my kids…one night I had flag duty, and both…kids were sitting in the stroller looking at me lower the flag for evening colors.”
While they were born into the service, their children are still too young to really grasp their father’s absence. “…My oldest (3yrs) kind of understand[s] what’s going on. I told him daddy would be gone for some months and we [would] have to count down to see him. He…[said], ‘when daddy comes home, I hope he never leaves again.”
Chevell, stationed in Camp Pendleton, knows the military mom’s struggle first hand.
“A normal day for me starts at 0400 (4am), getting up to get ready for the day. I…get my 10 month old son up at 0530 (5:30am) to get him ready so he can get dropped off at daycare on base.”
Her days as a Sargeant in the Marine Corps are long, with a short break to see her son before she heads back to work. “I have to be at work at 0700 (7am). While at work, I am responsible for the supply and logistics section, while also ensuring that all facilities are maintained as well as the camp…Lunch is normally at 1130-1300, but during those times I’m still working…I try to visit the daycare during lunch to spend at least 15 mins with my son.”
Like Jamilah, she’s continuing her education with night classes. “A day at work ends at 1630 (4:30pm), where I go straight to pick up my son, drop him off at home to his dad and then I take off for school. Chevell is completing a masters degree, requiring long hours and dedication. She’s “in school from 1730-2230 (5:30-10:30pm)…from there I head home to do homework and get things together for the next day.”
Chevell’s day usually ends at midnight, when she gets a few hours of rest before she’s “back at it at 0400 the next day.”
A mom’s work is never done, and for military moms doing double duty to serve both their country and their families, it’s a tough job. We salute you.
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