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The military wife vs. the single mom

Laura is a USMC wife and SAHMommy to her son and twin girls. While being a mommy and a military wife keeps her on her toes, she loves moving every three years and the many adventures military life has to offer. She works from home as a ...

Raising kids solo

Mommy wars, competitions and judgments drive me insane. It never fails, I read a story about a single mom and her struggles or triumphs, and who chimes in with the one-upping 'I've got it worse' comments? You guessed it — the military wife.
Mom with three kids

This also happens in reverse; the comments from single moms to a military wife's story of struggle for survival can be pretty vicious as well.

Let's take a look at both sides and have a little more respect and compassion, shall we?

Support

Both the single mom and the military wife need support, but do we actually get it? For both sides, I feel it's whether or not we take the initiative to find it. The military wife has a whole slew of support groups and networks at her disposal on each base, which is an awesome benefit. However it is up to us to join and participate in them.

The single mom can join local groups in her community, but they may not all be understanding to her situation and needs. The advantage that the single mom may have (that the military wife often doesn't) is that she lives near family. Spending time at the holidays with family is a blessing. Not to mention the possible free-to-cheap sitter perks, and even just having a place to go when wanting to get out of the house. The military wife usually lives away from family and close friends, and to rebuild that close network can often be more frustrating than it's worth.

Relationships

The military wife has a husband. Though it's not easy, we have that love we worry about when they are away, or we can write love letters back and forth during deployment. Whether having a child out of wedlock, being alone due to divorce or death, or any other situation, the bottom line is that single moms often don't have that companion. She may be trying to surf her way through the dating scene, or just making the best of her situation.

Flying solo

Both the military wife and the single mom are raising kids solo. I will never call myself a single mom because I'm just not one. During deployment I am playing both roles of Mom and Dad, but Dad (usually) comes back. I don't get every other weekend breaks to myself, but the situation for the military wife only lasts, on average, six to 12 months. Once the deployed husband returns, life resumes as it was.

Sure, the military wife may have to continue to play the dual parenting role off and on throughout her husband’s military career due to TAD (temporary assignment of duty) assignments or field ops. But all in all, there is a whole family there. That’s not the case for the single mom — this is her life every day. Even if she shares custody and has the house to herself every other weekend, she is still always parenting alone within her household.

Respect

Both the military wife and the single mom have it rough at times. We both have a lot of similarities in the obstacles we deal with, which is why I think both sides need to stop the “who's got it worse” talk and show each other a little more uplifting praise, support and respect.

The bottom line is that we have no right to tell anyone who's got it worse or who's got it better — we can’t really walk in someone else’s shoes. We only know how bad (or good) our own situation is. That doesn't give us the right to judge or point fingers at anyone else. If anything it should draw us closer together. We can, and should, offer one another support, suggestions and helpful advice. I look up to both the military wife and the single mom for being able to do what they do and play the roles they play. I have been given some very strong and sound advice and encouragement from both sides.

More about military families

Our magical door to communication during deployment
One event at a time: Countdown to the end of deployment
The importance of routine after deployment

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