Let me be clear-I am not writing about the next generation of military brats. I am writing about mommas who are getting ready to shoulder the burden of the military mom backpack we experienced moms carry. I can tell the surge is coming. My Facebook feed is full of prom photos. Smiling beautiful young men and women will soon be graduating and moving on to fulfill their destinies. For some of those new graduates that destination is heading to service academies, college and ROTC, or boot camp. And those mommas will join our sorority-the great Sisterhood of Mothers bound by letting go and pride.
I counted myself fortunate that as a Naval Academy mom and then as a University of North Dakota Army ROTC mom I had four years with my children in a safe harbor before they were on active duty. I had some time to get used to it. Other moms have to make the transition in just a few months! Make no mistake-Plebe Summer and the associated lack of communication and worries about how they were doing was no picnic. But I continue to remind everyone who will listen that those challenges are the beginning of your Momma training. Just like waking up in the middle of the night in the last trimester of pregnancy gets you ready for the sleep deprivation of life with a newborn, basic training is your chance to adjust to life without your son or daughter and knowing they are being put to the test before they are actually in harm’s way.
If you are becoming a military mom-remember when you were a first time mom and everyone told you her labor stories? We have our military momma labor stories too. I want to tell you it will be hard and it will hurt, but the result will be a sense of overwhelming pride, just like when you held that child for the first time. I want you to know you are not alone-that there are thousands of us out here who understand what this transition feels like. I could go on and on but I already wrote a book about it. J
If you are becoming a new military mom or know someone who is, this is the “What to Expect” version for military moms. “ Be Safe, Love Mom: A Military Mom’s Stories of Courage, Comfort, and Surviving Life on the Homefront” is a guide to manage the changes to come and to inspire all of you who love someone in the military. I want to include your stories here on the website too! Do you have a story to share how you managed those first few months as a military mom, or maybe a way you kept yourself from falling apart? You can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will post them in the Mom to Mom section anonymously to protect you and your military loved one but you can bring comfort to the newest members of the Sisterhood.
Welcome Aboard! And Godspeed to your sons and daughters. We are so proud of them too.