By Kat Brown
Community Engagement Specialist at SAY San Diego Military Family Collaborative
Mother’s Day is coming soon. As a military spouse, my husband has missed more holidays and birthdays than I count. But somehow his missing Mother’s Day seems like an especially cruel slap in the face. This is supposed to be my day—a day dedicated to pampering and breakfast in bed and maybe a couple hours of quiet time to myself. Not a day to again be the sole caregiver; holding tight to my daughter as we both wish for Daddy to come home.
Mother’s Day is bittersweet for so many military spouses like me who are missing the other half of their parenting team. Or on the flip side, there’s the mom who’s stuck out to sea or half a world away wishing like anything that she could hold her beautiful babies in her arms. And then there are the moms who have lost their children to these wars. This day is painful for them in a way that not many of us can understand. I weep at the thought of it.
Oftentimes I hear from non-military friends that they want to support, but they just don’t know how. That makes sense. This life is so difficult to understand for those who have never served. The military community in itself is extremely supportive, and they “get it” in a way that my civilian friends just don’t. But, this Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on how you can help the military mommas in your life:
For the Military Spouse:
- Offer to babysit so mom can go workout or have a spa day or even just read a book in a quiet house.
- Buy her a gift, send her flowers, or help the kids make her a card.
- Invite her and the kids to your Mother’s Day brunch or festivities.
- Just. Be. There. It gets lonely parenting by yourself, and sometimes all you need is some adult conversation.
For the Active Duty Mom:
- Send her a video of the kids wishing her a Happy Mother’s Day and telling her what they can’t wait to do when she gets home. You can try to schedule a video chat if she’s able, or simply film it and save it to a flash drive or CD.
- Send a care package. You can buy a flat rate box at the post office and fill it up with things she loves! Amazon also ships to APO/FPO addresses. Don’t forget pictures of the kids and handmade cards.
- Set up a fun day for her and the kids when she returns so they can celebrate Mother’s Day all over again.
For the Mom of a Deployed or Fallen Service Member:
- Offer words of kindness and support. You might not understand what she’s going through, but you can offer to sit with her through her pain.
- Bake her a meal or send flowers to let her know you’re there.
- Invite her to your Mother’s Day event, or offer to keep her company doing whatever it is she wants to do.
No matter what you do, the most important thing is to do something to show your support and appreciation for all she does—both as a mom and as one who serves. This Mother’s Day, let’s all shower the military mommas in our life with a little extra love.