source GAIA package: Origin key: Sx_MilitaryTimes_M6201410305090075 imported at Fri Jan 8 18:18:16 2016

Whether you're a mom in the military, a spouse who's a mom, or the mom of a service member, you know the heartache of deployments and separations, and the effects of the upheaval of military moves.

But pride, patriotism and a good dose of humor are the hallmarks of the comments we received to our Facebook query "You know you're a military mom if ..."

Texting, calling, emailing and Skyping are as essential as eating and drinking for some. Time and again, mothers said they sleep with cellphones on their pillowsin case their child calls from afar in the middle of the night. And they will knock down anyone or anything in their path to get to the phone when it rings.

And whether they're moms of active-duty troops, active duty themselves, or spouses of troops — or all of the above — they often take on a mothering role to other active-duty members.

Whatever your role or branch of service, be ready to laugh, cry — and identify. By the way, Mother's Day is Sunday.

You know you're a military mom ...

Air Force

"... when your kids have traveled through and lived in more states by their 10th birthday than the average middle-aged adult."

— Stephanie Mestichelli-Schopfer

"... when mom is TDY and the CDC ladies tell Dad to bring the hair accessories."

— Christine Anderson

"... when your kiddo asks, 'where are we moving next?!' about every two years and can already name options for potential assignments and give their input and preferences."

— Michelle Hurley Kemp

"... when your 5-year-old asks, at least 3 times a week, if we've gotten orders yet ... to Hawaii ... lol ... optimistic kiddo."

— Kati Torres

"... when you miss important moments of your kids' [lives] to execute the mission, but they never mention it; your kids remind you to get your CAC and hat every morning ..."

— Misty Southerland

"... when your kids are playing and they scream, 'Fire in hole.' "

— Elizabeth Sexton


"... when at your change of responsibility, your 5-year-old tags the battalion CSM and commander and declares them 'it.' "

— Erica Jones Lehmkuhl

" ... when you run out of nursery rhymes and sing cadence to a fussy baby, and they like cadence better."

— Kailey Burrus

"... if leaving on deployment brings you both exhilarating joy that you're about to make a difference in the world while in combat and simultaneously brings you to the depths of despair to leave your children behind."

— Dana Fischl

"... when you call your kids from the demo range on Mother's Day so they can hear you detonate explosives!"

— Terri Christiansen

"... when you're walking through the electronics department and your 1-year-old points at a computer and yells 'dadda, dadda!!' "

— Abby Jackson

"... when you have pumped [breast milk] in the car on the way to PT ... when you've pumped while at the range."

— Brandi Fogle Vannoy

"... when your daughter says, 'I never have to be scared, my Mommy's a soldier and she protects us from bad guys better than a superhero can.' "

— Stephanie Gavin

"... when your kids have hugged the legs of multiple soldiers because of the uniform, before realizing that's not their daddy."

— Bethany Lopez

"... when you send care packages not only to your son, but all of his battle buddies."

— Cheryl Sexton Tolan

"... when your 2-year-old refers to naptime as 1300."

— Laura McGraw Wert

"... when your daughter at her kindergarten graduation states she wants 'to be a soldier just like my mommy' when she grows up and it brings tears to your eyes."

— Dawn Metro Flynn

"... when you call cadence to get your toddlers to leave the house. 'Your left, left, left right left.' "

— Rosemarie McAllister

Marine Corps

"... when your son comes home from boot camp, sits on the porch next to you and hands you a huge bundle of envelopes tied with a boot lace, and says "thank you mom for writing me all these hundreds of letters, it's what got me through."

— Holly Cousins-Schaefer

"... [when] you can manage to hold it together as you pry your children one by one out of their father's arms as they say goodbye to daddy, knowing that this moment of sadness can not compare to the overwhelming joy of their reunion."

— Jillian Jacobs Morrow

"... when you knife hand your child, while using the term 'Devil.' "

— Tiana Michelle

"... when your son walks in unexpected in full dress uniform to give you flowers for your birthday."

— Amy Cuthrell

"... when your little ones tell other kids their mommy is fighting the buggy man so other mommies don't have to."

— Brianna Vorpahl

"... when you look forward to going on vacation to 29 Palms!"

— Lisa C. Jones Dains

"... if you ever told your minutes-old baby how sorry you are that daddy isn't there because he's headed overseas, but he loves her so much."

— Aya Velazquez

"... if you've ever deployed and finally got the opportunity to call your kid just to hear them say, 'I'm busy right now, mom' and feel your heart break into a million pieces cause they've obviously moved on without you."

— Tiffany Carter

"... when you and your kids know what a countdown jar indicates; when your packing system is done by color coding; and when you can accept the things you cannot change."

— Michelle Rahmig

"... when you hold back tears and your emotions when you tell your kids 'see you guys in six months, it'll go by quick.' But the best part is being [able] to finally let go of all those tears when you read that 'Welcome Home Mom' sign."

— Nancy Cardenas


"... when you carry pictures of your child(ren) in your cover!"

— Cassondra Gillum

"... when you have to haul six bags to work every day — diaper bag, PT bag, lunch cooler, baby milk cooler, breastpump, and purse!"

— Theresa Sprague

"... when you always have one of your little boy's baby blankets in your seabag, still smelling like his bath-time baby lotion."

— Kristy Pegram

"... if you hug every young man or daughter in uniform and say 'I am a Navy Mom and this is for your Mom.' "

— Lisa Hughes Lusk

"... when you Google your entire phone conversation with your son just to understand what he's just told you."

— Tammy Berry Weatherly

"... if coming home from deployment is the most exciting and anticipated day, but at the same time you're nervous that when you reach out your baby will pull away ... because you've been gone so long."

— Patrice Washington

"... when you and your spouse do an 'official turnover' when one of you deploys ... when one leaves, the other assumes the watch."

— Christian Houston

"... if your rack is covered with pictures of your daughter and all you do in your free time underway is look at pictures and videos of her that you've seen dozens of times before."

— Beata Jesusa Bautista

"... when, after the years go by, you realize you made it through all the things you never thought you could."

— Shawna Bryant

"... [when] at 2200 or later you are finally able to take your boots and uniform off because until this moment you had to get everyone else in your life taken care of first."

— Holly Miguel

"... when you've read more bedtime stories over Skype than you can count."

— Meredith Jackson-Morgan

"... if your kids get your attention by calling you "YN1" after the "Mom, Mom, Mom" or first name doesn't do it."

— Randi McRobbie

"...when you work on the seventh deck and you give birth on the fourth deck of the hospital ... with lots of shipmates along for the ride!"

— Kathryn Foley Fair

"... when you have spent more time away on a deployment, IA,or GSA than at home in your 5- year-old's life."

— Amber Williams'

"... when your child asks you 'Mom ... Are you going to war?' "

— Michelle McKenna

"... when your 1-year-old daughter does pushups"

— Dawn Fortenberry Turner