Advice. A combination of recommendations, opinions, and experiences shared by willing participants and accepted by those who are open to receiving them. When learning about your loved one’s decision to join the military, you’ll pause for a moment to process their decision. Sooner than later, you’ll realize that their choice is what is best for them as your heart fills with gratitude towards their selfless service.
As a military mom to a soldier in the Massachusetts National Guard, I’ve learned a few things about navigating the military mom journey. Like so many other military moms, I wonder, support, and at times, I worry. Not just about our son but about all who serve. I wish them nothing but safety and success.
While each military mom’s experience towards their child’s service may differ, we have a lot in common. What I appreciate most is that military moms form a strong bond. Our bond is priceless, and it stands for strength. In the beginning, we search for a supportive connection and once we do, we come to rely on it.
Military moms come from all walks of life, and we are located all over the globe. Each day we support one another by offering caring words. We share laughter, meaningful quotes and phrases, accomplishments, hardships, and we offer and display respect towards all service members past and present. My journey as a military mom never came with an instruction booklet. It arrives daily from experiencing it. Allow me to share my top four tips of advice to help you navigate your military mom journey.
Tip #1: Offer endless support
When news arrives about your child’s decision to enlist, congratulations should be offered by sharing a hug, a handshake, a high five, better yet, all three. Plan to lend your listening ears. There’ll be times when your son or daughter will request your feedback and respect our caring thoughts so do your best to keep in touch. When our soldier is on duty, share support toward their selfless service by locating what comforts you. I find that collecting service memorabilia and adding to our son’s military scrapbooks keeps me connected. These activities along with displaying photos, plagues, and badges of our son’s achievements, make me feel closer to him when he is off performing his duties.
READ MORE: The first year of my son’s National Guard service
Tip #2: Find your way
As our son rose his right hand and took the oath to become a guardsman, I knew that I had to take his words to heart. He shared, “This is what I want to do, and I’m committed to my service.” I appreciate being able to observe his dedication. During my journey, I’ve discovered ways to share my pride as a proud military mom. Through writing, scrapbooking, and joining online military mom support groups, these activities feed me. A few personal favorites are Proud Army Moms — an online Facebook support group, Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc., and reading current and former issues of Military Families and Reserve and National Guard Magazine.
Tip #3: Balance, availability, and showcasing pride
Being a military mom can have its ups and downs. Communication can be sporadic and eventually we learn to embrace the suck. There will be phone calls and text messages you crave to receive and those that you miss. Try to establish a substitute talking partner when your service member is not available. Through discovering what works for you, you’ll begin to feel a sense of inner peace. Make sure that when you connect with other military moms, that you share what you have found helpful during your journey. I greatly appreciate the relationship I have formed with my Blue Star Bestie.
Tip #4: Pat yourself and your loved one on the back
Caring about our past and present service members comes naturally. As military moms, just like our military family service members, we strive for peace. While it is not always easy, I feel that it’s our job to communicate that our loved one’s training and mission are an essential part of protecting our nation and its people. The military mom bond we offer to past, present, and future military moms should always come with gratitude and thanks. Please remember to take a moment to pat yourself and our service members on the back for our combined commitment to support and serve.