In this month's Redbook they did an article saluting single moms. It had five short stories written by all sorts of single parents, be it divorced, by choice, or even us military folks. One story struck a cord with me. It talked about how a single mom leaned on her "village of moms."
What a concept.
And I'm aware that this isn't a new concept. But it sure does seem like one that a good number of us forget it from time to time. Myself included ... until recently.
As my kids are getting older and I'm getting more involved in the school and community that we live in, I'm finding myself with a closer group of mom friends. I'm the only military spouse and most of the time I'm the only one balancing kids and life with a husband who is elsewhere. But more and more I'm finding that this doesn't matter so much.
What matters is the respect and kindness we show to each other. All moms, military or not, are trying to find some balance in their life. And most moms go through times when they feel like they are coming up short.
A nasty stomach bug came roaring through our village about a month ago. My 7-year-old came down with it in the middle of the night. Out of both ends violent spew was spewing. And in a parenting fail, it was the same day I was going to go to the commissary, so we were out of Popsicle and easy-on-your stomach juice. Hubs was away, and while I fancy myself a brave woman, I was not dragging three kids to the store when one of them had violent diarrhea and vomit. Even I'm not brave enough for that.
And, not to mention, my car has a very light interior.
A friend called to see what was up since she didn't see me at drop-off. When she asked if I needed anything, I let down my guard and asked if she had any Popsicle to spare. Sure enough, a few minutes later she showed up on my porch with some juice, Popsicle, and a sub for me.
I used to keep more to myself. I like to feel like I have everything under control, that all my little ducks are in a row. But the truth is leaning on other people isn't such a bad thing. And I'm learning that by allowing others to help you, you start reaching out more.
When my friend dropped off my stuff I asked her how much I owed her. She just smiled and said "pay it forward."
I'm doing my best to put her instructions into action. Be it bringing home an extra kid after school to give a mom a break, making an extra batch of cookies, offering help, or coverage for a doctors appointment, it's important to circle the wagons and spread a little helpfulness.
It's easy to sit back and snark. I mean, have you read some of my post? But comparing who has it worse, who's working harder, oh-this-stage-is-easy-wait-till-that-stage type of games rarely accomplish anything. Especially within the military community.
Let's circle the wagons, folks.
Deployments aren't equal. Neither are military careers. Some are longer than others, some are scarier, some of us are doing them with kids, some babies, and some solo. If we only remembered to sometimes apply the same theory of kindheartedness to each other, whether the other person look like she needs it or not.
Offer your help in whatever way works for you. Drop off a flower, leave a positive message instead of a biting one on a post. Shoot, just smile at a mom in the commissary who looks like she might be THIS close to loosing her mind.
Drop the pretense, throw trying to make sure everyone knows how much your doing and how hard your working out the window and just do it for the sole purpose of doing good for others.
And make some cookies. I'm certain that more cookies in the world will change it for the better.