On the second Sunday of each May, we celebrate Mother’s Day. We also celebrate Military Appreciation Month (Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day). So when I was asked to blog about the female veteran’s perspective on motherhood, I was honored.
Statistics have shown that more than 100,000 female soldiers who have served in the wars are mothers, nearly half the number of women have been deployed. The vast majority are their family’s primary caregivers, and a third are single mothers. Women like men, turn to the military for all sorts of reasons. The pay is somewhat good, particularly in a war zone, the benefits are excellent and the jobs offer financial security and career advancement. Many love their work and feel a sense of pride and patriotism in defending the country. Yet mothers, either married or single, have said that long periods of time away from their children and then the transition back to family life (where they are expected to immediately resume household responsibilities) can be extremely difficult.
As a women, that balance can sometimes be a struggle. I am extremely lucky to have a supportive family that has always been there for me but not all female solider/veterans are this fortunate. Many turn to friends and neighbors during these times but others do not have any type of support around them. I again, have an incredible extended “Eagle” family that has been there in my time of need. I’ve learned that creating supportive and positive environments around me has been incredibly important and highly recommend. Many organizations help, but more need to be established. Organizations like Team RWB and the YWCA Bergen County are organizations that have been vital in my supportive and positive environment. We – the women veterans, are a unique breed, and at times overlooked. So, this Mother’s Day, give your mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters and other extraordinary women a huge hug and kiss but if you know a woman that served, give them a special “Thank You” for their service to our country and to their families. Also, please thank those who served and honor those who lost their lives to protect our country this Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day and each and every day!