Moms Make it Work: Becky | Stay at Home, Military Mom

Today on the Moms Make it Work series we have Becky, a blog reader who emailed me asking if I needed another military mom's perspective. Her email really struck me when she said, 'Although we live a more unique lifestyle in that we're not 'civilian' per se and deal with all that may entail; at the end of the day we're just doing the best we can for our daughter and #2 coming in October, as well as each other.' Isn't that the truth? Aren't we all just trying to do the best we can for our kids no matter what our specific situations may be? I enjoyed Becky's post and hope you do, too!


Hi! Many thanks to Julia for letting me share some of our story! Its a nice chance to reflect and document some parts of our life -- I know I don't do that enough. I don't have a blog, but do instagram (rebb25). I've loved reading every single 'mom story'; its awesome how we can be so different and yet so similar.

This is our (growing) family on a recent trip. Family pictures are hard to come by these days as Eliza usually declines (refuses!) to take a picture. We're a military family in it for the long haul. Its busy, always changing and quite and adventure but I love being a mom.


What is your background story? What was your career/schooling before you became a mom? And where are you now?

Today I am a stay-at-home mom of one (two in October!) girl(s) in Savannah Georgia. My husband is a Warrant Officer in the Army - a Chinook helicopter pilot.

I hear its like driving a big bus...

inside looking out

He is a huge part of my background since we've been together since my high school senior prom; yet we've been more apart than together. We went to different colleges and when I was in grad school for speech/language pathology he joined the Army. Once I graduated he was off to Hawaii and deployed in the summer of 2006 to Iraq. Over the next year I planned our wedding and worked. In August of 2007 we were married in St. so so thankful to everyone that made it happen! As our luck had it -- his 12 month deployment turned into 15 with the troop surge and there was no real reason for them to send him home. Some emergency leave and a few stressful moments later it all came together.


October 2007 after he returned to Hawaii I moved there and we were there until we came to Savannah in 2011 with another deployment during that time. While we were in Hawaii I worked full-time as an SLP in an elementary school on post.

Close by where we lived on the west side of Ohau

Once we moved and had Eliza in March of 2011 I turned into a stay-at-home-mom. She's all kinds of sweetness and spunk.


Scott's most recent deployment was when Eliza was about twenty months.

Saying good-bye...surprisingly chipper for 11 at night

He has been home just about a year from his deployment to Afghanistan. We're anticipating moving again in a year/year and a half or so. Who knows though -- things always seem to change!


-What are the best parts of your situations? What are the challenges?

I do love being able to be with Eliza during the day -- to go to story time, the park, just be at home together, etc. I enjoy being around her -- she's so curious and its fascinating to see/hear what she's interested in and eager to learn. Not to say there aren't challenging days/moments -- I'm finding that age three with Eliza is our hardest yet!


I'm also enjoying sharing this life with Scott; I can't imagine raising children with anyone else. We have lived some places I wouldn't otherwise -- before Georgia we were in Hawaii for a few years. As hard as it can be to move, these experiences have been incredible.

Day to day challenges include Scott's schedule -- some nights he may fly, work late or be gone for a period of time here or there. It can make for some long days, but I usually handle bedtime anyways so our overall routine doesn't vary. Even though I stay at home, keeping the house clean is always a challenge. Its a tough balancing act to complete chores around the house and spend quality time with Eliza. We are usually out and about in the mornings so after lunch rest time (since she doesn't nap anymore) has to be creatively used. After bedtime Scott and I spend time together.


I got this mom!

It is always a challenge to stay connected while Scott is deployed. I am thankful for face time/skype, etc. but the reality is there are day to day details that he misses. He was gone for Christmas and her second birthday last year, but also missed her vocabulary exploding, most of last summers swim time, dinners at home...all those living life daily activities. I can take as much video/pictures as possible, but it just can't compare. As hard as it is to have him walk away and be gone for 9+ months I can't imagine how hard it is to be the one who has to leave us.

Not to mention that something always happens when he's gone. This time the a/c went out, the garage door broke, the pool turned green. Deployment is always a time to expand my skill set :-)

Re-integration (when he returns) can be another challenge. The routine has changed and life has continued. Everyone has to shift and wiggle back into a place that feels comfortable again. Time, being flexible and open-minded have helped us.

-Is this how you expected it to be pre-kids?

When Scott joined the Army I had no idea of what that would entail. Our life revolves very much around the Army and his career/schedule. Its been nothing like I expected, but good.


-Is this your ideal situation? If not, what is?

I think for us this is close to ideal. Staying home right now makes my time more flexible when Scott has off; we have more freedom in planning trips/days off activities when I don't have a work schedule to consider. I feel content overall these days, though I do miss working.

-Do you see yourself making a career change (whatever that means) in the next 5-10 years? Or is this current set up staying put for the long haul?

I do miss working with pre-k/elementary school kiddos and hope to do that again in some capacity one day. Life always changes when we move and I'm sure it'll be no exception this time around. I believe that we're in it for the full twenty years, so I'm sure life will be different in another few years, but as to what it'll look like I don't know.

-Tips on how you make your situation work for you:

I think being flexible is high on my list...and realizing that sometimes its easier to throw any expectations I might have had out the window. Some days are better when we go with the flow. Yet, having a schedule and a routine is beneficial, especially when Scott is gone. I suppose recognizing where we are at any particular moment and that our needs as a family/individuals change frequently and adapting to those needs is a valuable skill for us.

The support of friends and family goes without saying. I belong to a local gym, trade babysitting with friends when needed, play dates and our family travels to see us (or vice versa) when they can. I have mom friends with some very different views than mine; but that doesn't mean we can't support each other in raising our kids and life on a daily basis. I appreciate their perspective and often can learn more about myself and my parenting. At the end of the day our goals are the same; happy, healthy safe kids that grow up to be good members of society. How we get there may be different.

However, Scott being supportive is worth everything. We each have our strengths/talents within this life we've built. He comes home from work and helps with the dishes, bedtime, etc. Although I'm home more, he's willing to jump in and vacuum or help pick up -- whatever. And I'm of the belief he can fix almost anything that breaks :-) We have our challenges and frustrations like anyone else, but I feel he truly is a partner and friend as we navigate raising these little ones.

-How do you handle mommy guilt?

I try very hard to be patient, but there are times that I yell out of frustration. We sometimes have hard days/moments and I always feel guilty for losing my cool.

This is the house we brought Eliza home to from the hospital and we'll do the same in October for her sister. Its all she's known. But -- sooner or later we'll move...and move again. This Army life is one that Scott (and by extension I) chose, but not our kids. Scott and I consider St. Louis our hometown. Its where we grew up, went to highschool, etc. Eliza may not have/feel that and I worry that we're not giving her enough roots or stability.

However, I try to remember that although life is in the details you CANNOT overestimate being present with lots of love. We may move, change schools, say good-bye to friends -- all that change and more -- but we give our kids so so much. They are healthy, have a home, clothes, can make friends, be adaptable and they have us. Wherever we are and whatever our circumstance we'll give them the best childhood we can. So, though Scott may miss some day-to-day living we try to remember the overall big picture...which is good, so good. When I see her happy and content I know we're doing good things.

Some guilt really is just us putting pressure on ourselves to be more, do more and strive for perfection. None of us are perfect and that's a good thing. If we were all perfect life would be quite boring :-)

12strawberry picking

-Advice for new moms struggling with returning to work outside of the home? Or struggling to decide if staying at home is the right choice?

Consider the decision between you and your spouse/significant other, etc. When I was working in Hawaii some fellow SLPs talked extensively on how its best to be home when your kids are young, etc. I wasn't ready to leave Eliza for a long while, but either way those conversations did stick in my brain and make me wonder what about the 'right' decision. The right choice is one that works for you and your family, period.

-How do meals work in your family? Meal planning? How often do you grocery shop? Who is in charge of this task in your family??

When we are on top of our game we grocery shop once a week. Dinner goes much more smoothly when I meal plan, but that hasn't been happening lately. I am generally in charge of grocery shopping and dinner since I'm home more, but its not set in stone. There are days when Scott stops at the store on his way home or we try to decide together what to eat.

-How do you keep your house clean? Power cleaning after bedtime? Staying out of the house as much as possible? Cleaning while kids are awake? Purging often? Cleaning schedule?

Our house is never as clean as it should/could be and there's always laundry. There are the basics that I try to do every day: dishes, pick up/put away, toy clean up. If we are gone during the day the house does stay cleaner, but we always have more clutter than I'd like. As we start thinking about moving I'm thinking about purging what we can.

Thanks for letting me share; its always nice to hear/read about moms having an imperfectly perfect life. Regardless of who we are or where we are in life we are doing our best at navigating motherhood.


{Thanks, Becky! Find the rest of the MMIW series here}


  1. Thanks for sharing! What a beautiful girl you have. I often think of military families and how hard it must be to have those long separations. I loved what you wrote about the guilt surrounding your kids having to move/change schools/etc. in the future. It's so easy to feel guilty about circumstances in your kids' lives (for me, sometimes it's that they go to daycare/have a nanny instead of being home with mom all the time!) but it's SO important to keep things in perspective. The fact that your (and my) kids are loved, provided for and growing up in a happy home means they are SO lucky and doing so much better than so many kids in this world. So the guilt is just needless.

    Best of luck with baby #2!!

    1. Thank you Erin! A good reminder to have perspective no matter what our circumstances are...guilt really isn't necessary, is it?

  2. The longest I've lived in a town is 7 years and that was as a kid. When people ask me where I"m from I normally as "which part of my life do you want to know where I lived?" It's not sad because wherever we were was home. We live in GA now but my mom and mother in law are in MS (my husband was born and raised there, I went to HS there) so that's kind of what we refer to as home. It is just a part of my story and makes me who I am today.

    I enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You know, that's a really great point. We are writing our story and our lifestyle will become part of hers, but not all by far. There is so much more to her than just where she's lived. Thank you!

  3. Thanks for letting me share!


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