It strikes me that today’s military moms bear some resemblance to the medical moms of yesterday. Both doctors and soldiers choose intense schedules that pit saving lives against time away from the lives of their children. Both make huge sacrifices but can benefit from a significant financial payoff. Both continue to struggle for flexibility and recognition in a traditionally paternalistic system. The battles fought by mothers who were doctors 10 or 20 years ago sound remarkably similar to the professional struggles of those who serve in the armed forces now.
Yet the difference is obvious and stark. If ever there was an example that choice means giving rather than taking, it can be seen in the mothers in the military who are prepared to die for their country. The minutiae of their domestic tribulations pale in comparison to this greatest what if: What if they don’t come home and their kids are left motherless?
Of course we’re talking about those who join up in a time of war than peace. But it’s now eight years since the invasion of Afghanistan (seven since we went into Iraq) and it doesn’t look like peace will be coming any time soon. We’re living in a world where mothers have died, mothers still face death, and mothers continue to try and find care for children they might not see for the next several months-or ever again.
Yesterday The New York Times ran an article describing some of the difficulties mothers in the military face. DoubleX already has our own military wife columnnist-Alison Buckholtz, who writes our monthly Deployment Diary (new entry coming later this week!). But I’d like to hear more firsthand stories on this subject, from women who are serving on the frontlines. If you are a military mom, or are taking care of a child for a mother who is serving, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’d also like to hear from the office of the First Lady about Mrs Obama’s efforts in helping these women as part of her work on behalf of military families.