There are certain days that just about every guy fears when it comes to recognizing his wife. The big ones are anniversaries, her birthday, Valentine's Day and of course, Mother's Day for the moms.
As men we are forced by the social norm to go above and beyond on these days to recognize our wife. It used to be chocolate and flowers would do the trick. Then elegant jewelry became the status quo. But in the culture we live in today, we now are expected to be original, unique and have the ability to do something so special our wife can blast on Facebook to all her friends how awesome we are (or else the "my husband sucks" update is blasted).
One thing I have never understood is, as long as we have been attaching a stigma to these holidays, why is it that Mother's Day and Father's Day are so different? Could you imagine how it would go over if a wife received a new set of pot holders for Mother's Day? Or how about that $19.99 blender? And don't forget the woman's equivalent to a tie, a "will never be worn" scarf. How come us guys get a cheesey electric weedeater? Seriously, if you want to get us guys a weedeater as a gift, you should go to a lawn mower shop and by a commercial grade weedeater. If not, the next time you want a top of the line blender you may just get a whisk and some sports cream for when your elbow tires.
With Mother's Day quickly approaching (I know, it's been on the calendar for a year), I am at a loss of what to do for my wife. Because really, what do you get a soldier for Mother's Day?
My wife and I have been married for almost six years. We have two kids, 11 and 2. The older one is mine from a previous relationship, but we have custody. As far as I am concerned, my wife IS his mom. She provides for him each and every day since she has our only income. When I was the bread winner she did his laundry, took him to school, signed him up for sports and all those other things moms typically do. While she is his mom, they do lack that natural mother/child bond just like many blended families experience. In years past we have recognized her on Mother's Day and she has received some jewelry, candy, artwork, candy, "I will do for you" cards, candy, breakfast in bed, candy and all those other typical things. Wait, did I mention candy?
While this isn't our first go round with Mother's Day in our home, it is the first Mother's Day she will be around since we have had our son, her only biological child. The first Mother's Day she was in Basic Combat Training (BCT). I am guessing there was no breakfast in bed for that one or a sweet card from one of her Drill Instructors wishing her a happy Mother's Day.
For her second Mother's Day she was somewhere in a VERY remote location in Afghanistan. I am pretty sure they had the running water all hooked up by this time, so at least she had the chance to take a shower. But I am sure it was far from a day at the spa like many moms enjoy during the "salute the mother's" time of the year. Thankfully, she did have dinner made for her that night. Although, maybe an MRE doesn't count ... hmmm?
Of course for that first Mother's Day which was spent at BCT I did all I could: I sent her a card. And knowing me, I sent two, one home made by the boys and one store bought from me.
Last year I sent a card and a piece of artwork our one-year-old made at daycare one day.
Both of those Mother's Days were kind of like a free pass though. I didn't have to go crazy trying to find the perfect gift. But now I am afraid that not only do I need to go over the top like us men are expected to, but I feel I need to make up for the last two years as well. But really, what do you get a soldier for Mother's Day?
Here are some options so far. Why don't you all tell me if any of these will work:
Some odor eaters for her boots to be used for all those ruck marches. An extra ammo clip holder. A new tough box. A manicure. (Wait, that won't work. She will be going in the field soon. So don't want to waste the money.) An appointment with a famous hair stylist. (That won't work either. She chopped her hair off so she wouldn't have to pull it back every day). A new Gerber multi-tool. Some girlie underwear. (Nope.... that's against regs.) Combat Boots. A new outfit. (All I have to do is check her size then hit up clothing and sales. Can't mess this one up. ACU's come in two patterns, for deployment or Garrison. And she's home, so ....) Breakfast in bed for a week. (Just need to serve it at 3 a.m. so she can make it out of the house for PT.)
Awwww ... heck ... I better just get her some candy.
Hmmm ... now that she does PT every day I can get her a whole bunch of candy and she won't have to worry about it going to her hips.
Or maybe, just maybe, one of you has a better suggestion to find for the mom who is a servicemember.
Wayne Perry and his wife reside in Fort Riley, Kansas where his wife serves as a combat medic in the US Army. His wife enlisted in 2010 and they were married in 2006. They have two children, ages 2 and 11. Wayne is currently a stay at home dad. He blogs under the name TheArmyWife(DUDE) and you can find it here. Wayne is honored to be part of the core team for the Army Wife Network. He also is one of the founders of the group MANning the Homefront that works to connect MANspouses. The group at Fort Riley meets once a month for dinner just for the guys and at least once a month for either a family or MANly event. They hope to see similiar groups start across the globe at all military installations. You can find the facebook page for MANning the Homefront here.