For years I was responsible for building my child’s life skills and guiding his values. But that changed after he decided to join the Army. I captured that moment in time in my mind. Off he went to a new life adventure where I would no longer be his everyday guide through life. And so my military-mom journey began.
His new trajectory in life was unknown to me. As a result, I found myself mired in angst and fear, not knowing how to get myself unstuck.
That’s no way to live life.
Having come a long way since then, I learned a few lessons that I’m excited to share with you. I want more than anything for you to find joy in your military-mom journey!
Joy is not based on circumstances
Most of us find joy based on circumstances in our lives. There are too many things in life that are not in our control. Allowing circumstances to control your joy will keep you upside down forever.
My son’s decision to raise his hand and be part of the greatest military in the world was not in my control. While I respect his decision and am proud that he raised his hand, fear stole my joy.
I know this truth now: joy is not based on circumstances.
Why is it that some people, even in the direst of circumstances, still have true joy in their hearts?
It all comes down to an individual decision. You can be the product of your circumstances or the product of your personal decisions.
You have power over your life. It’s up to you.
Related: Letters to Loretta: Summer Scrawlings
Life is a rollercoaster of emotions
It’s a crazy ride on the emotional roller coaster of being a military mom. Amid the pride, fear, tears, joy, and everything in-between, the roller coaster ride continues.
Embracing change and learning to adapt as a mom of a soldier is one way to build resilience and manage those roller coaster emotions. And resilience gives you the ability to cope with stressful situations.
Learning resilience can help you be a stronger person with the ability to find joy in your military-mom journey.
As your child progresses through their military career, you’ll face countless “see ya laters” and multiple deployments. That first deployment is always the most challenging for those of us holding down the homefront.
You can’t prevent it nor control it, but you can decide to live your best life, no matter what. You have power over your heart, mind, and soul.
It’s never about what is happening to your in life, it’s always about how you respond to it.
Embrace life’s moments no matter what
I know you might think this is counterintuitive. Every moment we have on this earth is precious, so why not embrace each moment for what it is?
Sure, some moments aren’t fun. Like that time my soldier was deployed in Afghanistan and his military base was under attack from those that wish to harm our military.
Or the time he was involved in a dangerous rescue mission in Afghanistan’s Chapa Dara valley. Under these circumstances I could have curled up in a ball and slept through my own life.
But no. I still had a life to live and refused to do it in misery.
Embracing these moments doesn’t mean you like them. It’s just feeling these feelings without allowing them to control your life. You still need to live your life and navigate its challenges. But how you respond determines all the days and moments ahead.
Related: Capture moments from home, stay connected with your Soldier
Strength and resilience
I talk about strength and resilience a lot because it’s at the heart of pushing through the tough times as military moms.
You can do anything you put your mind to. I taught this to my children their entire lives. Your mind is the way to strength and resilience.
Make sure you have a strong support system from family members. Surround yourself with other military moms and build the bonds that can help lift you up when needed.
Resilience doesn’t make the challenges go away: it helps us deal with them in a more positive way.
Why joy is important
Joy helps to boost our resilience to situations. Let’s face it, when our children start their military career, we have cause for concern.
Joy can help put you on a path to better health and even strengthen your immune system. If you’re in a state of misery, chances are you’ll feel unwell.
I’ve been able to extend the adventures in my own life through my soldier’s journey. I’ve had incredible experiences that I would never have had otherwise.
I am so thankful that my son’s choices have also helped me live my best life and learn about true joy.
I wish for you to find joy as you navigate your military-mom journey.