My journey from military to motherhood didn’t go quite like I expected.
Go and have children they said…
You can stay at home with the kids and life will be easy…
So…I took the bait, but they were wrong. So very wrong.
Before I left the military behind to become a stay at home mom I thought that my accolades and accomplishments were pretty impressive. Not only was in the military, but I was an officer. I had completed my degree in Civil Engineering alongside my Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program and became a second lieutenant. I had met my husband while in college and we were both military officers.
Life was as great as it could be with both of us serving in the military. A lot of separation, a lot of sacrifices, a deployment.
I was so very proud of all I had accomplished. While deployed I received a Combat Action Medal and a Bronze Star. I was doing work to help rebuild the country of Afghanistan. I came home to continue working this time diving deep in Energy Management.
And then we decided maybe we should see what life would be like as a family. I went back and forth on staying in or leaving the military, but in the end, it made the most sense to leave the military to be a stay at home mom. I had surely proven my ability to do all the things. Motherhood would be so easy.
But motherhood was the farthest thing from easy. I was knee-deep in parenting books that made logical sense, but trying to get our son to follow these magic books wasn’t going so well. Once I would figure out some sense of routine or schedule he would drop a nap or change something. I felt like I was on a road to failure after failure.
Failure, something I hadn’t experienced in my military career, but almost immediately felt after my sons birth on a daily basis.
Why did I leave the military behind to become a mom? This question haunted me. Here I was doing this thing that was supposed to be so amazing and I was hating myself almost every minute of it. Feeling as if I just couldn’t measure up to the impossible standards I had for myself. And to add to the pain of feeling as if I was failing at life, I also felt so alone.
In the shift from military to motherhood I had completely missed out on creating a tribe of people. I had people I knew. But my closest friends still had jobs and my mom friends still hadn’t adjusted to me actually being free during the day and able to hang out. And I was definitely not bold enough to reach out in the midst of my struggle.
But then the Air Force moved us. It was a fresh start, a place to start over and leave the past behind. My loneliness intensified for the first few weeks, but as I got out of the house and started exploring I found a group of friends.
It completely changed my perspective on motherhood and made me realize I wasn’t a failure, just a mom.
It made my second son’s birth a different experience. I had learned to give myself grace. And even though there were still some really hard days when I wanted to quit. I had a new look on life.
Now my boys are 5 and 2. Life is starting to change.
We are leaving behind the baby stage and quickly running into a new phase where we get to have a lot of fun. I’m ready for time to slow down and enjoy the days that seem to be flying by.
Becoming a mom and going through the change from military to motherhood was a painful process. It required work not only on the daily tasks but inner work to help me grow into the person God wanted me to be.
Looking back, I know the hard work was worth it. And I am even happy with the choice to leave the military behind. Motherhood was the hardest work I ever had to do, but it was worth the pain and hard work to be where I am at today.