What does it take to be a successful military mom?

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What does it take to be a successful military mom?

by: . | .
Stripes Kanto | .
published: May 07, 2013

"The key to being a successful military mother is communication and love because in real life, moms get stressed and lose patience. Sometimes, we even raise our voice. One of the things that most people do not realize (and I’ve experienced) is that children are very resilient. Our children know that when you act in love that you’re acting on their behalf. Doing what you believe is best for your children and your family makes you a good military mother.”

1st Lt. Melissa L. Pugh, 505th Quartermaster Battalion,Okinawa
Battalion adjutant and mother of four, ages 8, 13, 19 and 20

"To be a military mom, it takes a selfless woman. A woman who is willing to put her family first. A military mom signs up for the military when her spouse or child does. Military moms serve their country by raising America’s children.”

Allyson Snowden,
Kadena Air Base, Okinawa
U.S. History Teacher and mother of one, age 2

"Patience and understanding. Sometimes, I get frustrated with my children. But I think they should be adjusting, and sometimes it is not so easy for them to adjust. So you need to listen to them and understand they are having a hard time adjusting to a new environment.”

Laura Pinard, Yokota Air Base, Japan
Mother of three

"I believe it takes dedication, humility, forgiveness, patience, love, perseverance and prayer to be a successful military mom.”

Amy McMillan, Camp Foster, Okinawa
Mother of two, ages 4 and 8

"I am military brat, military wife, still on active myself, and also a military mother of two active duty military sons. I believe the key to being a successful military mother is to set an example where my sons are proud to say that I’m their mother. It passes on a tradition of sacrifice and service to our country through future generations. Being a successful military mother has shown not only my children, but other military mothers that they can also be successful in their careers, even with the deployments and moving from place to place. I have risen from the rank of E-1 to 04, raised children and soon will be celebrating my 32 wedding anniversary to my USN retired husband. I’m not going to say that it was easy, but it was very rewarding and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. My children proudly serve, just like generations before them. I have a picture of my oldest and I in Iraq together and one of my youngest and I in uniform when he returned from Afghanistan – God Bless America!”

Lt. Cmdr. Patricia Renée Wilson
United States Forces Korea

"What does it take to be a successful military mom? Balance. A career provides stability, but there is no replacement for spending quality time with loved ones, sharing those special moments that make family so important.”

Lt. Catherine Thompson, Okinawa
Mother of three, age 16 and 8-month-old twins

"I think being flexible. Being a military wife, you move around so often, and you are only in a place for a certain amount of time, so you want to embrace the environment you are in, and you need to be flexible. But you also want to share the experience with your children and see and travel as much as you can.”

Shari Woolley, Yokota Air Base, Japan
Mother of three, ages 9, 12 and 17

"To be a strong military mom you have to be resilient, have patience and a good sense of humor about life.”

Natasha Zack, Torii Station, Okinawa
Mother of one, age 2 1/2

"As a single mother of a young son there are two things that help my family continue to be successful. One, is the support of my sons father and the support of our families. Without a shadow of a doubt, my sisters and my mother would care for my son. The second thing that helps my family continue to progress is the support of my leaders and soldiers. When my son is sick my soldiers know what to do, and my leaders allow me to tend to my child’s needs.”

Spc. Tonya Gilson, Yongsan Garrison, Korea
HHB I&S, 8th Army

"Being a successful military mother is all about work-life balance. I am currently on my second unaccompanied tour away from my Active Duty husband and 2 children (ages 5 and 6). While I work very hard during my tour, I ensure that I take the time to talk daily with them over the computer. I like to sight see, so I use these opportunities to share these ‘adventures’ with them. This helps create a strong bond with them. While it’s challenging to be separated from them right now, we all understand it’s only for a short time and one day we’ll be together again. This gives me the peace of mind to be confident as a military member. Having a strong supportive family at home frees my mind to concentrate on the mission.”

MSgt Cori Croteau,
United States Forces Korea J3

"The key to being a military mom is to be present in the lives of my children. My experience as a veteran and spouse of an Army retiree, having spent my entire adult life working for and living within the military community equipped me with a unique perspective. A perspective I used in the development of my parenting style. To be ‘present’ is the true essence of being a military parent. To be present, engaged and involved in all aspects of their lives. To be there mother, nurse, counselor, teacher, advocate, warden, disciplinarian and No. 1 fan demands my full attention. Frequent moves and ever changing environment exacerbates the complexities associated with raising a child in a military community.  I make being present a priority as my presence is the only constant in their live.”

Maria Hope Jackson, Camp Zama, Japan
Army retiree and mother of two, ages 21 and 23

"Unconditional love, lots of patience, tons of flexibility, a great sense of humor and a good bottle of wine.”

Trish Siegrist, Yongsan Garrison, South Korea
Army wife and mother of four,
ages 7, 9, 11 and 16

"To be a successful military mom you need to maintain a balance between family and work. Don’t make your family your hobby and your work your main priority.”

Petty Officer 1st Class Lucia Foshe, Okinawa
Hospital corpsman and mother of two, ages 7 and 15

"I believe the key to being a successful military mother is communication and staying connected with my loved ones. Unfortunately, I have had to be stationed away from my family at different times in my military career, to include my current unaccompanied tour here in Guam. It is definitely difficult not being with my husband and children on a daily basis, but we talk, text and e-mail often, and that certainly helps. I also travel home as often as I can. I am so fortunate to have a husband that truly supports me, and is able to keep everything running smoothly at home in San Dan Diego. Even with the sacrifices I have made, I don’t regret the career I have chosen. I believe being in the military is one of the most honorable professions one can choose, and it is a privilege to serve my country. My family understands that, and they are proud of me, as I am of them.”

Cmdr. Tara McArthur-Milton, U.S. Naval Base Guam
Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR)
and mother, ages 16 and 17

"I believe that the key to being a successful mother with a spouse in the military is being emotional and mentally strong, acting as the glue that holds the family together and keeps them grounded. As a military family, change is constantly occurring. Whether it may be a deployed spouse, a PCS, a new home or school, new friends or hard goodbyes, change is never-ending. For this reason, the children need a mother that they can depend upon to keep the family unit strong and stable, someone that can provide the security and love needed to feel safe. It’s through this that the children are able to adapt and flourish, building the resiliency needed to take on the life as a military child and to be successful in their futures in general.”

Barbara Secor, Camp Zama, Japan
Mother of two, ages 2 and 6

"Time management is key. Trying to juggle my activities with his, without ignoring him. Constantly having to figure out how to make time for him and work.”

Sgt. Eva Austin, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam
Technician and mother of one, age 7

"Organization, just being ready for the unexpected. It is all organized chaos.”

Sgt. Pamela Byrd, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam
Technician and mother of three, ages 4, 6 and 9

"Keeping faith and friends and family in my forefront; staying positive and in the right frame of mind to keep moving forward.”

Kandace Davis, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa
Mother of three, ages 8 months, 2 and 4

"Patience, because my husband is deployed, and it is difficult being a new mom. But patience really pays off in the end.”

Lydia Stone, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam
Mother of one, age 2 months

"I find that if I treat my unknown trials that are involved with being a military mom as an adventure, then I learn more about what I am capable of. This approach also teaches my children to not be afraid and to trust in themselves. I didn’t do this in the beginning of our marriage and have learned that feeling sorry for myself and not giving things a chance wasn’t doing any good for our family. So embrace the military adventure and live it to its fullest. Being a military mom is an amazing experience!”

Mikal Davids, Yokota Air Base, Japan
Mother of four, ages 8, 12, 14 and 15

"The three keys to being a successful military mom are flexibility, patience and strong coffee.”
Rosanna McGinnis, Camp Foster, Okinawa
Mother of five, ages 4, 9, 7 and 4 month old twins

"The key for me is having a supportive spouse who is willing and able to take on additional duties and roles. Our son is 15 months old; when he was born, I’d been on Active Duty for 16 years. Now, at over 17 years in the Army, and about 4 months away from completing an unaccompanied tour, if it wasn’t for my husband’s sacrifice, and support, I wouldn’t be able to focus on my mission. These things have enabled me professional growth and development, which will ultimately benefit our family. We are extremely lucky that my husband is able to stay home with our son, so I feel especially thankful for what he does for us! ”

Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer St. John, Yongsan Garrison, Korea
HSC, HHB Eighth Army

"Understanding there are sacrifices being made, and what you are making those sacrifices for. Being a mother comes first, then a soldier.”

Kara Cruz, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam
Mother of two, ages 1 and 3

"I think that it takes patience, stubbornness and a quirky sense of humor to be a successful military mom.  I am surrounded by smart, wonderful women who are terrific moms. Not one of us is perfect, but we work hard to be enough. One thing we all have in common is that we don’t take this military life too seriously. We do our best for our children, keep things running in the absence of our spouses and find reasons to delight and laugh in our daily lives. There is a terrific strain on military families, and the moms I know are the glue that holds everything together. Regardless of service, military moms keep everyone going and manage to smile through every goodbye. They are a stunning combination of tender and tough, much like our military members! I am so proud to be one of them, and to teach their children.”

Angelique Anderson, Kadena Air base, Okinawa
Mother of two, ages 11 and 9

"Knowing that I had to provide for my daughter was a huge factor in my life. It made my success in the active Army that more exciting. After having my daughter in Seoul, (South) Korea, I spent the rest of my tour there (which was a total of 4 years and 1 month), with 275th Signal Company, 41st Signal Battalion. While having many “alerts,” I had to make sure my daughter was cared for in my absence. Being a woman and a mother in the United States Army is something that is not easy at all.          My daughter sacrificed so much helping me serve my country. She helped me with the long road of FT.Bragg, NC. Having to wake my daughter up early for my job was never an issue for her. I served a total of 7 years in the Army.”

Staff Sgt. Jennifer Jackson-White (retired), USA

Mother's Day: How it all began

The practice of honoring mothers started in ancient times, with societies tending to celebrate goddesses rather than real mothers.
In Egypt, there was an annual festival in honor of Isis, deemed to be the mother of the pharaohs, while the Romans feted Cybele, the great mother, who was based on Rhea, mother of most of the Greek gods, including Zeus.

With the advent of Christianity, and the importance of Mary as mother of Jesus, the earlier pagan festivals were turned into a Christian celebration on the fourth Sunday of Lent.

In England, the idea of the holiday was expanded in the 1600s to include actual mothers, and was called Mothering Sunday. It was a day when workers and servants were allowed to return to their hometowns and visit their families, taking a day off from fasting during Lent and enjoying a feast, with mothers as the guests of honor.

In the U.S., Julia Ward Howe, writer of The Battle Hymn of the Republic , proclaimed Mother’s Day in 1870 in an attempt to get mothers to celebrate peace and prevent sons of mothers killing other mothers’ sons.

In 1908, Anna M. Jarvis of West Virginia petitioned to have her church celebrate Mother’s Day in honor of her mother and the cause of peace, saying “There are many days for men, but none for mothers.” By 1909, 46 states held Mother’s Day services, and in 1912, West Virginia became the first state to officially recognize Mother’s Day. Two years later, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law a declaration making the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. 

Today, more than 70 countries celebrate Mother’s Day.

David Hurwitz, Stripes Korea

So, how big a deal is Mother's Day anyway?

  • Mother’s Day is the second biggest gift giving day of the year after Christmas, according to retailers
  • Total amount of money spent on Mother’s Day’s Cards annually: $671 million *
  • Total amount of money spent on flowers for Mother’s Day: $1.9 billion (one quarter of all holiday spending on flowers/plants according to the Society of American Florists)
  • Total amount of money spent for mothers on Mother’s Day: $14.6 billion *
  • Total average amount of money spent on gifts for mother: $126.90 *
  • Total amount of consumers that will take part in Mother’s Day in some form: 96% *
  • Mother’s Day is said to be the busiest day of the year at restaurants
  • Long-distance telephone calls peak on Mother’s Day
  • The U.S. Post Office sees increased mail traffic in the days prior to Mother’s Day

* Sources: DIY Father, Pro Flowers


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