Weary Mamas

I saw a post from a friend yesterday about the struggles of her day.  As I read it, I could FEEL the words she wrote.  She was tired, her kids were sick (yet again), one of them was having a meltdown….She was weary to a certain degree.  She craved another Mama to tell her it would all be okay.

Have you been there before? I know I have! I don’t think there is a Mother out there who hasn’t felt overwhelmed at least, oh, a million times!  Sometimes we just need someone that has been there to tell us “this too shall pass”.  Now, before all the Dads get upset that I’m just talking about Moms, I know there are some Dads who do a lot to provide and help with their children, finances and cleaning.  So, I know dads do a lot too.  But for today, I am speaking to Mamas because I am one!

I saw this picture yesterday on FB and I really thought about what it said.  I know that I personally feel like I always have something going on.  Part of that is because I have children (and forgetful children) and part of that is because I am a volunteer–not just because I live in the Volunteer State either!  Ha Ha!  But I never want to be too busy to spend time with God.  I know I couldn’t make it without Him!

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When I had my youngest child, this was my life.  I had a “bonus” son who was 5, a son who was 22 months old and a newborn.  I worked full-time up until 2 weeks before my last son was born and then I stayed home.  I wanted to be able to stay home at least until my children went to school.  With the costs of daycare it totally made sense.  We even though about homeschooling our children, but that didn’t happen.  I think it was really a combination of things.  I tease it’s because my middle son was strong-willed, but that really wasn’t why.

I remember my husband worked 12 hr shifts at his job and he went to work less than a week after me coming home with our youngest son.  Trying to nurse a baby who wanted to eat every 2-3 hrs, keep up with a toddler who just wanted to go outside and play but it was too cold, trying to rest myself and get a schedule of food and naps while changing diapers and forget about trying to clean–I was exhausted!  He called me on one of his breaks and I just cried on the phone and told him I couldn’t do it.  HA!  Oh, he was so sweet and encouraged me that I really could.  But that was a WEARY time!

I worked for about 9 months right before our youngest turned a year old.  Then, I was home again!  I loved being able to spend that time with my boys–even though it wasn’t always easy.  When our middle son started Kindergarten, I started work.  Now, I understand that everyone can’t stay home and everyone can’t work outside the home.  God made us, and our situations, different.  There are probably people who are working that could stay home and people who are staying home that could work, but that’s not a question I choose to debate.  I believe we do what we feel is right and there should be no judgement on a fellow Mother regardless of whether she works inside the home or outside the home.

I can tell you, since I’ve been on both sides, that you WORK regardless!  Being a Mom is a full-time job!  I think sometimes the world wants us to feel like Stay-at-home moms do nothing but watch TV and lay on the couch while spending all the money their husband makes on QVC….and that Working Moms get away from the children and spend their time in a fantasy world where they don’t worry about the things at home for that 8 hrs and spend all the money we make on clothes & shoes (oh and that we don’t love our children).  Well, NEITHER of those is true!  Though I know that SAH Moms crave & need adult interaction, they are working hard at keeping up with everything that has to be done on the home front as well as the schedules of extra curricular activities and volunteer work.  And working Moms are trying to do their “outside” job, but all the while are thinking of what needs to be done at home, what the schedule for after work is and what they might be missing in their kids’ world this week.

I would like to encourage all you Mamas out there to stick together!  Not just with those Moms who are like you, but also with those who do the opposite of you.  I like having SAHM for friends–they help keep me grounded about what the important things in life are!  They help remind me of the days when my children were younger and now I can look back and see the fun we had.  Even though I missed some things my kids did because I worked, I worked even harder to enjoy the time I had with them.  And, I hope that SAHM can look at me and see that although I don’t have it all together I enjoy my family.  Family is important–whether you have a big family or a small one–and making the most of that time, as well as taking some time for yourself, is a necessity.  Whether you just started your family or like me, are almost an empty nest.

Encourage a Mom this week!  Send her a message, note or card.  Let her know that motherhood can be challenging, but some of the best things in life are worth working for!  Also let her know we don’t have to be perfect!  I could give you a long list of things I’m not perfect at, but I’m thankful that my God sees the good and sometimes sends sweet friends in to remind me that I am loved!

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Lord, I pray for all the Mothers who read this.  I pray you give them grace to see through the hard days, peace to know things will get better and rest when they have the opportunity to take it.  I pray you surround them with women who are encouragers who allow them to talk when they need to and let them know it will be okay.  I pray for both the Stay at Home moms and the working outside the home moms would respect each other and love each other–not talk down or be jealous of the other’s “perceived” way of life.  I thank You for the different abilities and strengths you give each of us as Moms, Wives, Sisters, Daughters and Friends!

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Here is a snippet of my morning today–just so you can realize that I DON”T have it all together as a mom! Most of my days are similar (& sometimes worse) than this. HA HA!

I went to bed at 11:30pm, got up at 4:30 am to let the dog out, then got back up at 6:30 to start my day.  I got Brian’s clothes ready, woke Hunter up, fed the dog & let the dog out. Then I went to make lunches for my guys and realized that we had no lunch meat or peanut butter and we had no chips or crackers and the only fruit we had was 1 over ripe banana. So, I proceeded to tell them they would need to eat at school today (which isn’t near the amount of food I pack for them). So, I let the dog back in, get Brian’s medicine for him, pray with him and kiss him goodbye. Then, back off to force Hunter to get out of the bed–that is a fight every morning. I took a quick shower because my hair HAD to be washed, got dressed & left my hair curly and just quick dried it because I didn’t have time to completely dry it. Finally got everything together and headed out the door and I thought we would be good. Then I started the car and my gas light came on. I knew I wouldn’t have time to stop on the way to get Hunter to school or he would be late! So, I drove him to school, asked him where his backpack was (he forgot it in his dad’s truck) and where his checker was (he forgot it at home). I’m not worried about the backpack, but he HAS to have his checker! I went to the closest gas station to put gas in. When I left the house I was burning up because the heat wouldn’t kick off (& I was rushing around), so I forgot to grab a sweater. Here I am pumping gas in the cold with half sleeves on freezing!  I knew I didn’t have time to go home to get his checker, so I grabbed something for breakfast and headed to work. When I got to work, I opened the passenger door and a CD case fell out of the door pocket, opened up and the CD went rolling under my car….thankfully it just kept rolling because it rolled uphill out from under the car and then hit the wheel and fell. I could just see me climbing under my car to get a CD! So, now the only thing I have to do is work, go to the post office and run home to get his checker, drop it off at school, log into the school lunch area and put money on his account (since he doesn’t normally eat at school) and come back to work!  See, life is never boring!

When I get stressed about it all I just try to remember the good times! I hope you can too!

I think about the country song “Don’t Blink”…..it is so true!

Don’t blink
Just like that you’re six years old and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you’re twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
Don’t blink
You just might miss your babies growing like mine did
Turning into moms and dads next thing you know your “better half”
Of fifty years is there in bed
And you’re praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think
So don’t blink

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The Making of a Soldier–Part 3

This weekend officially started the 2nd phase of Charley’s Basic Training — called “White Phase”.

The BEST part of this phase is that once a week he gets his phone to make a short call! We got ours last night and he’s doing great! He loves the things he has learned so far and is performing very well! I can’t believe he has been gone a month yesterday already!!!!

He is LOVING the letters & cards, even though because HE has received so many the Drill Sergeant is making him perform 10 push-ups per letter. The first time for mail call he received 11 letters and didn’t have to do any push-ups, but Monday he received 9 and he did 90 push-ups! He said it was SO worth it! Keep those letters and cards coming and if you need his address, please let me know.

Here is what they are doing in White Phase:

“White Phase“, is where soldiers begin actually firing weapons. With the service rifle, the M4 Carbine or M16A1 Assault Rifle, they will fire at various targets, which are progressively farther-and-farther down range, making each successive target more difficult to hit. You are required to shoot at least 28 out of the 40 targets that pop up. You will gain the skill of “Marksman”, “Sharpshooter”, or “Expert” depending on how many of the 40 targets you shoot. Additionally, there are pop-up targets at long range. Other weapons the soldier becomes familiarized with include various grenades (such as the M67 fragmentation grenade), grenade launchers (such as the M203 grenade launcher) and machine guns such as the M240B and M249 SAW “Squad Automatic Weapon”, Soldiers will also be familiarized with the M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun, referred to as the “MA deuce”, as well as the MK-19 (called Mark 19) which shoots 40mm grenades over 3000 meters.

The second week of White Phase involves familiarization with anti-tank/armor weaponry and other heavy weapons. There is also an obstacle course which the soldiers are expected to negotiate in a certain amount of time. This is also known as the confidence course since the main objective of running the course is to build self-confidence. There is also the expectation of working as a team with the assigned Battle Buddy.

Additionally, there is continual, intense physical training, as well as drill and ceremony training. At the conclusion of White Phase, soldiers are expected to demonstrate proficiency with the various weaponry in which they trained, using numerous “go or no-go” (pass/fail) exercises, prior to being allowed to move on to Blue Phase. There will also be an off-record PT test in White Phase, which is for the drill sergeants to assess where you are in your physical fitness goals.

The Making of a Soldier — Part 2

So, I got a few texts from my soldier yesterday! BOY, did that make my day! He is enjoying it so far and has already been given 2 nicknames–1 is SGT because he is taking a leadership role and helping those who don’t know what to do and the other is Crimson Chin (never heard of this before, but Hunter had) because he has a large chin. I think it must just look larger without hair on it! LOL!

Charley 1

So, they finished with Reception yesterday and today he is beginning his actual Basic Training Combat or BCT!  Weeks 1-3 are called Red Phase. Here is some of what he will be doing and learning this week:

  • Ballistics & Rifle Marksmanship Fundamentals
  • Personal Financial Management
  • Law of Land Warfare
  • Uniform Code of Military Justice (Military Law)
  • Dismounted Land Navigation (using a map & compass)
  • Fundamentals of Physical Readiness
  • Nutrition
  • Rappelling & navigating rope bridges
  • Drill & Ceremonies (marching)
  • Nuclear, Biological & Chemical (NBC) Defense (Gas Chamber)
  • Fieldcraft
  • Patrolling

These next 3 weeks are very compact in learning. We should hear from him this weekend with his address–he will have apprx 2-3 min to talk–then we won’t hear from him during the next 3 weeks and possibly more. They do this to help the soldiers get into their routine, help with homesickness and keep them focused on the training they are going through.

This is a hard time for them because life as they know it changes drastically during this time, but there are lots of things they will enjoy as well. I know Charley will really like the shooting, rappelling & gas chamber. Well, maybe he won’t “enjoy” the gas chamber, but I know our oldest Chris felt a sense of accomplishment when he completed that part! It is tough!

I can’t wait to get an address and be able to get letters from him! It will be nice to hear how he’s adjusting. He told me yesterday that he had made some friends, but that he was the only person from Tennessee there. I just told him to make TN proud! 🙂

The Making of a Soldier – Part 1

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Our middle son left for Basic Training Monday. Oh, how it is hard to let them go, but it’s going to be SUCH a good thing for him!

Sunday, one of our friends said some great words about him and us and the church had prayer for him. Jim said that the Army will do what Christ does for us, they will strip away all the old and make him new. He will not only be a soldier for The Lord, he will be a soldier in the Army.

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Monday morning we dropped him off and he was on his way to Ft. Jackson, SC. Some people don’t know what goes on at Basic Training, so I’m going to keep you informed on each “phase” of his training.

Reception
This week, Charley will be Re-doing some things he’s already done due to already having reported for National Guard drill a few times as well as some new things.

They get dental, visual & medical evaluations, blood drawn, shots and also such things as setting up their pay. They are paid twice monthly active duty pay for Basic Training (BCT) and Advanced Individualized Training (AIT). AIT is the second step where they train you in your particular field of specialty. Think of it like going to a Community College and then transferring to a University. 🙂

So far, we haven’t heard from him. When you have a family member go to Basic, they are adults, so they (the military bases) aren’t required to let you know they have arrived safely. Since our oldest son Chris has also gone through this process, it has helped us to know what to expect.

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We should hear from him sometime this week once he is finished with Reception and knows his Brigade & Company assignment. That is how we will know what his mailing address is…..and I have already started my letters! I want to encourage him as much as I can during these first few weeks because they are the hardest.

I just ask that you please pray for ALL of our military and especially for these new young men & women who are preparing to enter a new stage in their lives. I am collecting encouraging bible verses for him, so if you have any that would encourage these young soldiers, I would be honored if you would share them.

I have a friend that has also offered to have her class write letters to Charley as part of their writing for school. I know he would LOVE to get letters and especially homemade cards or letters from kids. He most definitely has a place in his heart when it comes to children. Just let me know and I will send you a private message with his address. He is not able to receive care packages or anything beyond cards & letters (no money, candy, etc.).

Thanks for all the prayers so far and for the encouraging words. We know he is doing a great thing, so that makes it much more rewarding even though we will miss him. Keep checking back because I will devote several blog posts to “The Making of a Soldier”!