There are working moms and stay at home moms. There are single moms who raise their children without a spouse. And then there are ‘solo moms’–women who are married, but temporarily raise the children on their own while their spouse is away for work. If you are a military wife taking care of the kids during a deployment, you are a solo mom.
I know the days are exhausting: you get up early, feed children, then spend the day trying to accomplish one task after another, while you are constantly interrupted by whining and more messes. Your to-do list is always longer than your patience and energy levels. At the end of the day, when the kids are in bed, you breathe an audible sigh and collapse on the couch… until you remember that you have to do dishes and laundry and get things ready for tomorrow.
Then you do it all again, day after day.
You are strong, solo mom! I know you don’t feel strong every moment, but you are doing your best and putting all of your effort into holding the family together. You should be proud of yourself. It doesn’t matter if your house is messy or Pinterest-photo worthy. You have made that house a home. It doesn’t matter if dinner is roasted chicken and autumn vegetables, or just a frozen pizza. What matters is that there is food on the table when the family gathers around it. You are your family’s rock, even if no one in the house is able to thank you yet.
That’s why I’m honored to thank a military mom this year with a $1,000 gift card from Verizon! You can nominate a mom (including yourself!) to win this ‘tech makeover.’ Entry form here.
So this Mother’s Day, I will thank you, solo mom, for all the challenges you face with a brave face and a sense of humor. Thank you for the meals you plan and throw together. Thank you for doing the endless thankless tasks like dishes and laundry. Thank you for giving your children a wonderful life, even though their deployed parent can’t be there half the time. You are both mother and father to them sometimes, and you’re doing an amazing job!
You probably get tired of strangers who say, “I don’t know how you do it” when you mention that your spouse will be gone for the rest of the year. To you, that has become normal and you bear the weight of deployment proudly. It’s an awkward, heavy weight, but you have grown used to it on your shoulders. To strangers, your lifestyle is unfathomable. Those who have a spouse home every night to help prepare dinner and share household chores or make plans for the weekend–they cannot understand the work that you do every day. In the same way, you probably cannot fathom the work of a true single mom, who cares for the kids on her own with only her own paycheck to cover the bills.
But I have spent my own fair share of time as a solo mom, so I know how you do it: you get up and do one thing at a time, day after day. You get by on a wing and a prayer… and with a lot of help from your friends. So this year, on Mother’s Day, I applaud you, solo mom. Stay strong and don’t give up. Keep doing your best, because you won’t be a solo mom forever. Deployment will end, the kids will get older, and things will get easier. For now, your best is good enough. You are amazing, and I hope you know how important you are!