FORT HOOD — Mother’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the many sacrifices mothers make throughout the year.
Military moms know all too well the many adversities that come with being a service member and a mother or a mother married to the Army.
Military moms face the complexities that come from having a spouse deployed while caring for children at home.
For female soldiers who are also mothers, they face the sacrifice of being deployed and separated from children.
All the anxiety that comes from those extended periods of separation during deployments to worrying if that life partner is going to come home safely, military moms take in stride.
For Maricruz Cardenas, this will be her first Mother’s Day alone and her first experience as a mother whose spouse is deployed.
Cardenas said she feels like Hammy from the comic strip and later film “Over the Edge.” Hammy was the hyperactive squirrel constantly bouncing off the walls.
“I never really had the opportunity to even think about how difficult it is to be a military wife,” Cardenas said. “I am always on the run and playing catch-up with the house chores.”
The struggle between balancing her job as a high school Spanish teacher and tending to the needs of her two children is equally challenging.
“Our daughter is 2 years old. She was used to being with daddy and so her attitude has changed completely,” Cardenas said. “I have had to retrain her to listen and react to situations as the sole disciplinarian.”
Cardenas said she’s had to learn patience and fill the role and take on the responsibilities her husband accomplished before his deployment.
Having to shuffle the kids’ schedules, miss out on some of her kids’ after-school activities and even withdrawing her son from a martial arts program are just some of the decisions she’s had to make while her husband is gone.
“How do you explain to your child that he will have to be alone at his very important presentation because you are expected to be serving other people’s children?” Cardenas said.
It’s not all negative, Cardenas said. They attend the rodeos, watch movies together, shop the flea markets or hang out at the park.
“I feel like I’m getting to know my babies more; all three of us are always on the go,” Cardenas said.
Cardenas said she never had the opportunity to think about the challenges of being a military wife and mother and her expectations, but when she married her husband, she understood he was in the military and would support him.
“Deployment does not put our lives on hold; it rather has us growing to have better communication and to have a stronger relationship,” Cardenas said.