I heard you last night in the Costco parking lot. You were yelling at your kids to get in the car and get buckled. It was obvious you were at the end of your rope. It was dinnertime and here you were with a cart full of groceries. Your kids were pinging off the wall and you were done-stick me with a fork I am outta here done.
If you think this is about mommy shaming you are totally wrong. You took me back to the end of long days when I felt like I was spinning apart as I tried to make it to bedtime. You still needed to get home, feed the kids unless you had already gotten them hot dogs, get them bathed and in bed. And yes that cart full of groceries needed to be unloaded. I could remember the weariness that came from proverbially herding cats-in my case a passle of kids-and trying to get it all done.
I wanted to walk over there and put my hand on your shoulders and say, “ This will pass. They will get older and at some point you will be like me-buying six things in Costco. You won’t have to try to make it down the aisle with a two year old climbing out of the cart or a six year old disappearing in the cereal aisle. You will go home and things will be quiet and the only messes you will clean up will be yours. This will pass.”
Of course I did not do that. You would have thought I was out of my mind. But as long as I am having this pretend conversation with you I would also say, “ I would give anything right now to buckle my kids in their car seats and take them home and tuck them in. Because I would know they are safe. I would know that no one was mortaring them or trying to knock them out of the air. The world news would not be my enemy. Because that is my life as a military mom not able to protect my children any more “
It’s hard work to be a mom. Relentless, exhausting, sometimes mind numbing work. But we are building something of value –young men and women who hopefully will do great things. Try to hang onto that tired momma. It’s what gets me through deployment after deployment. I raised people who are changing the world by their service. They are making a difference. And that helps me as I walk the tightrope of pride and fear that is the life of a military mom.
Be brave Momma. You are doing good work. Take good care of them while you can. I wish I still could.