Thursday, August 19, 2010

Women can do it by themselves...

This is what was said by Jennifer Aniston recently, when speaking about motherhood. News flash Jen: being a mother is more than how you conceive. She had a husband who wanted children; she didn't want them. He left. Her career was first. Now she's at the point where she feels she has no other choice but to do it alone. Boo freakin' hoo...

I have five children that eagerly await seeing their father when he comes home from work. There's usually a tug of war battle between my 13 year old and her younger siblings on who can get to daddy first. It's usually my 3 year old who squeezes in-between the other 3 children and gets to daddy first and claims her prize. Ah...sweet victory for Sarah. The baby is usually last only because he is then a permanent fixture to Tony's lap for the next 30 minutes. This is a great part of the day. Not only is my life partner home and I can look at his handsome face, but a much needed break is sure to follow, as I sneak downstairs. But it wasn't always this cozy picture.

When Dena was a baby, I was a soldier, and a single mother. I worked my ass off to prove myself as a woman and single mother in today's Army. I'm all for women's empowerment. I could run and ruck just as well if not better than my male counterparts. I excelled at my job. I was an expert shooter. My commander once said that if he could choose any person to take to war with him, it would've been me. Yet all of this came at a price. My day started at 4am, and I had enough time to get on my PT uniform, grab my BDU's, my food for the day, get Dena dressed and hit the door by 4:30. I dropped her off by 5:15, and was in formation by 6am. I worked a 10 hour day (sometimes more), picked her up from daycare about 5:15, and home by 6:15 pm, if I was lucky to not fight traffic. That was my day Mon-Fri, and sometimes on the weekend if we had an alert. It was like that for 6 months until I moved on post. When she was 18 months old I was sent to Korea. While there I found out the head of my left femur had died and I needed a total hip replacement. There went my military career. Life was rough, and there were many times that I was very grateful to my father for being the role model my baby girl needed.

I am eternally grateful for my husband who stepped in and has been a constant in Dena's life since she was two. He is my rock, my best friend, and the father of all my children.

Being a mother or father is more than just biology. It's a lifetime commitment, full of blood, sweat, tears, pride, failure, and lots of time and devotion. It's giving of yourself when you have nothing left. It's late nights, early mornings, long days, and you telling yourself man if there were only 2 more hours in a day...

It's moments of self doubt, great triumph, and prayers that your children will turn into productive members of society. If you're a service member, police officer, or firefighter, the constant unknowing of whether you're coming home that day makes it even harder. If you're poor, or even middle class, you can multiply everything I just wrote above by 10. Our children need fathers. They need a loving environment, where a child can look into their parents loving eyes, and know that their mom or dad would walk through Hell in gasoline underwear to keep them safe. That we would give our lives in a heartbeat if it means they can survive. To denigrate that by saying, "women no longer have to “settle” for a man in order to start a family", is not conducive to what we need in society.

To my sisters and brothers who are raising children on your own, I commend you. To those who are married and raising children, I commend you. Both are hard endeavors, and I've been on both sides of the spectrum.

The rest of the world is NOT Hollywood, and this is not a damn movie where everything ends with roses and sunshine. I just wish those in Hollywood would just make a good movie, and stop trying to sound so much more knowledgeable than us "regular folks". But I guess when you have lots money, you can look at the world with such a narrow view in regards to parenthood.