Exploits of a Military Mama
The joys of pregnancy and motherhood; the pitter-patter of little feet, the spontaneous “I love you Mommy”, the hugs, the new-baby scent and the pain of breastfeeding, the sleepless nights and trips to the ER.
In her blog Exploits of a Military Mama, Sally gives her readers an honest and fun view of Motherhood. We had to catch up with her and get to know her more.
You have been on the fast track graduating in three years, getting married, having a beautiful baby boy, being a “single” military mom while your husband was deployed and now pregnancy number 2. How do you manage to “keep up” with all the whirlwind of life changes?
Who says I’m keeping up? HA! Some days I feel like I’ve been left in last month, but I suppose that’s part of the fun. I write everything down. No, really. EVERYTHING. All you have to do is read my blog a time or two to learn that sometimes a trip to Target is truly worth notifying the entire blogger world because duh, it could totally change your life. But I don’t just write down seemingly trivial events. My pen extends to a million “to-do” lists, phone numbers and emails on napkins, and Post-It notes all over my desk. Otherwise? I’d probably end up sitting around watching The Real Housewives of Whatever while Sully destroyed my living room. My writing keeps me focused. Most of all, I’ve learned to love my chaos. Because life with an infant, another on the way, and a husband that spends extended vacations in deserts means there is more chaos in my life than most. This is the life I’ve chosen, and I couldn’t have it any other way.
You are going to be a mommy again! What has been the best part of your pregnancy & what part do you hope ends in a New York minute?
This is a hard question because I’m one of those weird, alien-like women that ADORES being pregnant. Like, I could go all “Duggar” on my husband and have fifty more kids, but I don’t think he’d agree. But honestly, my favorite part is the kindness people show pregnant women. People open doors, they smile at you, and you always have help carrying heavy things. I love feeling the baby move, too. Nothing is more amazing. Once the baby arrives, all that is over and the world revolves around your tiny, little addition. I cannot wait for the morning sickness to end. With Sully, it was over at ten weeks on the dot. With Baby Dos, I’m still sick at thirteen weeks. Eck.
How have you been preparing your son for a new sibling?
Well, this is embarrassing. We haven’t done much of anything yet. We occasionally ask him things like, “Sully, are you ready to be a big brother?!” and he responds by blowing a raspberry full of banana at us. But once we get a little bit closer, we plan on buying a baby doll for him so he can learn to be sweet to a newborn (my husband may or may not realize “our” plan yet). He’s also moving to a “big boy” room, so we’ll talk about how he’s the big brother now and what that means. He’s only fourteen months, so concepts like “sharing” aren’t quite in his vocabulary. I’m sure we’ll have our hands full with two under two!
Do you have any dreams for your new baby that you can share with us?
I think my dreams are like any other mother-to-be. I hope that our child is always picked first for the kickball team and never experiences a shortage of cheese (I am SO craving cheese this time). I’m kidding, of course. No, I dream that our child will always be kind, always try to do what’s right. Always put God first. I dream that he or she will strive to find peace in life.
There’s a song by William Hoge called “Baby Girl.” In it he sings, “And I hope that deep inside of you, there’s a sweet, eternal song. And I hope the words are pretty, and that you’ll always sing along.” Those words can make me cry every time because I dream of a life like that for our children.
Have you had an “Ah-ha” mom moment that you can share with us?
There was one day, pretty soon after Taylor deployed, where I just kind of…lost it. I think Sully was about six-weeks-old, and he had terrible reflux. I’d been at the house all day with a poor, screaming baby, and I couldn’t stop crying. I kept feeling so sorry for myself; my husband was deployed, my child was screaming, my stomach looked like a deflated balloon, I was having a bad hair day, and on and on. Finally, I looked down at my child and just “DING.” I realized, “This doesn’t last forever.” I was crying away over nothing. Taylor would be back. Sully would stop crying. The stomach would eventually look more flat and less sag, and things would get back to normal. I sucked it up, poured a glass of wine, took some deep breaths, and moved on with the day.
I realized then, yes, sometimes life is really, really hard. But it gets better. So drink some wine, take a minute for yourself, and get over it.
What is your advice to other single moms who are single due to deployment or other life circumstances?
Find your support. There is nothing more important that a support system. I lived at home with my parents during my husband’s deployment, and it was a life saver for me. But I probably won’t get that opportunity next time. Instead, I’ll be sure to keep in touch with family and friends as best as possible. Check out blogs and online boards. A few years ago, people would have thought you were weird for having “online friends.” Now? It’s the norm. And it may just save your sanity. Never be too prideful to ask for help. Get to know your neighbors; you never know when you might need them for a little help or even just a cup of coffee. No one can parent completely alone, so don’t feel bad when you have to lean on others. And enjoy your child. It can be hard when you’re caught up in all the diapers and bottles and projectile vomit, but they really are only young once. Don’t wish it away.
Now for a quick glance into Sally’s life. :)
What is always in your fridge? DIET COKE. I am obsessed. It’s bad. And hummus. I adore hummus. And cheese. Oooh, and Pinot Grigio, you know, when I’m not pregnant.
What is your guilty pleasure? When I’m not pregnant, it’s running a really hot bath, pouring a glass of wine, and reading super trashy magazines. When I am pregnant, it’s that second serving of ice cream…like I just had.
If you had a “free day” with no commitments or obligations, what would you do with it? Wait…free days exist? Tell me more! I’d do a day out with the husband in Charleston, SC. We’d get breakfast at a small café, walk Rainbow Row, sit out on the beach, have a date night involving a bottle of champagne, and then staying in a way-too-expensive hotel because they always have the best sheets.
What is your must-have pregnancy product? Pillows. Lots and lots of pillows. I cannot sleep without at least four. Yoga pants (I live in them). A great pair of flats; I’m currently obsessing over my Frye moccasins. And Preggie Pops. They really do help with the morning sickness.
If someone were going to write a book of your life, what would they title the book? Exploits of a Military Mama: or Raging Against the Breast Pump and other Motherly Torture.