Military Mama: Measuring true success

By Jade Stone

Last night, while cooking dinner, I was running around frantically trying to squeeze one last load of laundry in between unpacking groceries and getting my 5-year-old ready for a soccer game and it hit me — this is what single parents feel like every night.

The worst part is I’m married and do this because my darling hubby works nights. Part of me thinks “Well, I will just be that much more prepared when he deploys” and the other part says, “Enough already, I get it!” 

Have you ever found yourself whining to yourself with a piece of chocolate to comfort the pain in your left hand and a glass of wine to wash away the sorrows in your right?  Well, I wasn’t there yet but I had a pretty impressive daydream about it! I was a pretty sad sight to see, mostly feeling sorry for myself and whining about all the things I had to get done and how tired I was.

Some people have to do this every day of their lives out of necessity, not practicality. Shame on me for feeling sorry for myself and wishing for better.  I guess its part of the human condition to want what you don’t have but I have to admit, there is absolutely nothing I want for in my life. We have been blessed with a way to live within our means, and while our “means” don’t amount to much, we manage just fine. But after 4 years of working nights, I can’t help but feel it’s time for a change. We are on such different schedules that I barely see him and I actually kinda miss the guy!

October 22nd marks our 7th year together. I miss having a cup of coffee with him in the morning, and sharing our day before falling asleep together at night. I miss sitting down as a family to eat dinner and working out together in the evenings or catching the occasional favorite TV show together.

Most of all, I hate that he’s missing some of the best moments of Jess’ life, the soccer games on Tuesday nights, Watch Dog Dad’s at the elementary school, holiday programs, parent teacher conferences and the list goes on. So while I do resent that I feel very much stuck to raise Jess and keep the house up along with the bills, and car maintenance, most of all I just miss having Jay around. It’s like a constant reminder of what deployment will be like…again.

We are both hoping and praying for something to come open on days but until then, I am just going to have to suck it up and do what has to be done to make the world turn in our family. My hat is certainly off to families where one parent travels all week, or that only has one parent to provide for the family altogether. For me, Monday nights are the times I sit at home thinking about everything that needs to be done before the weekend and realizing I don’t have nearly enough hours in the day to do all of it. But by some stroke of luck, or the mere fact that Father Time doesn’t stop for any reason, we all manage.

And at the end of the day, when I look down at my sleeping child, I see a sweet smiling baby, with a full belly, a warm place to sleep, a roof over his head, and clothes to wear and I think “I have the best life ever”.

In the big scheme of things 20 years from now I won’t remember that I had 150 papers to grade, laundry and dishes to do or that I needed to vacuum. What I will remember are the happy moments I spent playing with my boy. My house may need some work, and I may not always have it dusted, vacuumed, or bathrooms cleaned, but I guarantee, you will always find it full of love and well lived in.

So the bottom line I suppose tonight is to remember that no matter what your situation, or working/living arrangements, it’s not the chores that get done or the events that we go to that make us a family but rather the time we spend together. I actually let everything go tonight to sit down and play with Jess for an hour, and while there were a gazillion things that needed to be done, the only thing I HAD to do was love my child, and I can say “today, I succeeded”. 

Jade welcomes your comments here as well as any suggestions you may have for her future posts. You may also e-mail her at To read previous Military Mama posts, CLICK HERE.