Thursday, February 17, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the MILITARY Mom

Of all the enemies in all the world, we think Military Mommies have the brass knuckle on who's to say what's what...that sounded way cooler in my head. The point is, military moms know who the real enemies are, and girls, these are it...and Lydia and I love her for her peek into what it's like to live base-to-base, war-to-war and deployment-to-deployment. Enjoy...and thank her for what she does, so her main squeeze can go out into that big bad world and do what he does to keep us all safe...
xoxo K&L

Military Mama is 25, the mom to two adorable (if also sassy) little girls presently clocking in at 3.5 years and 13 months, and hasn't slept a decent nights sleep in three and half years (it's interesting how that coincides exactly with how long I've been a mother). I spent 5 years with a military boyfriend/husband, before we decided that the lifestyle had a high probability of making me seriously lose my schmidt in the very near future which then led to the grand adventure of me and the girls driving from up state New York to Colorado and moving back in with my parents the beginning of January. I'm looking into new life plan options, and have narrowed it down to either finding a job and an apartment or moving into a hippie commune and living off of home grown arugula and dandelions.

When you have a moment, read her blog: http://marthaheller.blogspot.com/


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Being the mommy to a soldier daddy presents a few unique challenges (not the least of which is dealing with your husband being deployed every two or three years). I picked a few of my personal favorites to tell you about.

Base Housing
Living on base is great. Your husband has a five minute commute to work, your neighbors are other military families (with their own hordes of military brats) and you’re conveniently located to the Commissary (grocery store), PX (everything else store), Class 6 (liquor store), and base childcare facility (mommy alone time...sweet!)

Except that base housing comes with base housing regulations. And they have no qualms about giving you tickets for violating them. Grass must be kept trimmed and orderly, snow must be removed promptly, and don’t even think about customizing your yard with some new flower beds. No no, you are merely RENTING a house from the military, and they have stricter regulations about the condition it can be returned in than your college dorm room did.

Did I mention that this is the same organization that also sends your husband away for a year at time? Now, I’m a pretty gung ho kind of mama, I hang my own shelves and assemble my own particle board TV stand and usually even manage to open my own pickle jars, but I don’t do lawn mowers. Ever tried to shovel snow while being 9 months pregnant? Or even rake leaves for that matter? Umm, even no-er. Not a fun time for any involved...and most especially wretched for my back. And what about the regulations saying children under the age of 10 aren’t to be left alone in the house or the car? Who, exactly, is watching them while I almost die trying to operate a snow blower so I can clear off the stupid sidewalk in sub freezing temperatures before getting another freaking ticket??

Tell you what Army, give me my husband back and I’ll be more than happy to tell him to perform a catchy song and dance number to boot while moving that “lake effect snow dusting” from your precious sidewalks. The kids and I will be watching some high quality children’s programming (OK, it’ll probably be Shrek, but we don’t need to go into my letting the two year old watch PG stuff right now) and drinking hot chocolate -- with extra marshmallows for them and a little Baileys for me -- all snuggled together in the warm indoors.

CYS Cards
Child and Youth Services is the bureaucratic power that controls everything from childcare to afterschool programs to youth sports on the military base. If you have children, you get to deal with them. *Super.* Where normal organizations would just have you scribble your name on a sign in roster, CYS has you swipe your child in and out with a bar coded pass. And as each child gets their own pass, you had better be paying attention or you’ll be trying to check the baby into football practice and the 12 year old into preschool. And what about the mornings when you forgot your passes? And your coffee, shoes, and sanity? Yeah, don’t plan on leaving your child that day, they don’t take rain checks -- even if you can tell them precisely where the passes are in your purse which is sitting on top of your dresser.Thanks, ya snitches.

But it gets even better! Did you forget to pay for preschool last week? Passes for the whole family are deactivated! Did you not remember to turn in the shot records from the baby’s 18 month well child physical? Hope you didn’t really want to leave her at the gym childcare today! And they expire annually too! So you have to re-register them! Just for fun!!

Fundraisers
Your husband’s unit will organize a whole slew of these to raise money for parties and care packages, and you have the delightful opportunity to participate in them at least once a month. You're thinking, "Hmmm, maybe not" right? Well, you’ll be so lonely and bored, you’ll do it anyways. The bake sale is a tried-and-true classic, except that on top of the normal mommy complaints of needing to bake and decorate six dozen adorable patriotic themed cupcakes in the next eight hours while the baby has decided to be permanently attached to your right nipple and the dishwasher is flooding, you also get to spend the next morning selling them!

Then, while you’re sitting around eating the merchandise waiting for customers, you’ll be scrupulously comparing your goods with the other spouses’ offerings. And if you’re being especially blessed by Maude that day, your husband will come by and talk about how much the guys liked your chocolate chip cookies, at which point you will sweetly remind him that you didn’t make chocolate chip cookies, you made rice crispy bars, and that the divine chocolate creations he’s been bragging about are actually made by his CO’s wife, who was so kind as to comment about how *easy* your rice crispy bars were.

R&R Leave
R&R is the two week trip home soldiers get from their year of tropical working vacation [Writer's Note: OK, so Iraq isn’t exactly tropical, but it’s warm and has sand...] and it is much anticipated by all involved. Including your mother-in-law, old college roommates, and that guy down the street he went fishing with once last summer. And since you now will be hosting big family gatherings and house guests, you also get to spend the week leading up to it frantically cleaning the house and remembering how to cook something beside Easy-Mac. But it’s OK, because soon Daddy will be here! And then in a blink of an eye, Daddy is leaving again. And the kids are going through their separation issues all over. Again. Oh well, at least I’m not preg-- Ah crap.


(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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