U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Sieff, a Boom Operator with the 50th Air Refueling Squadron, embraces his wife Ivy, after returning from a deployment, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., June 22, 2019.

What I’m Good At

I had coffee recently with a friend. Wait…let me rephrase that. I asked a friend to pretty-please meet me at church while the kids were in classes because that’s the only adult time I had, and I desperately didn’t want to spend it alone. I get lonely when my husband is away. Girlfriends and coffee help, but there isn’t really a break from the loneliness. Or the weight of being responsible for my four amazing kiddos, who are also missing Daddy as much as me.

Anyway, having coffee, I realized after a while that my efforts to stay positive involved me talking about little victories I had had. And they were all related to my day job. In fact, I think I even said, “I’m getting pretty good at my job.” But every time I mentioned the kids, it was somewhere along the lines of, “I hope I am not screwing this up,” or, “My oldest is really struggling and I am not finding many resources on my own to help him.” 

Why is it so darn hard to remember the victories I have at home? Not to toot my own horn, but I do good things there as much as at work. In fact, I am even caught up on laundry! But beyond the normal day-to-day running of a household, I am just the mom that these kids need right now. Sure, someone else might have all the answers, but my hugs are the ones that comfort them. Someone else may have a counseling degree, or lots of training, or extensive psychology coursework, but they don’t know that my oldest desperately wants to fill his daddy’s shoes, or that our middle boy needs security and routine more than hugs and coddling. I might not know just the right words to say, and my timing might be off, or my tears might fall when I am trying to hide them from an inquisitive toddler who is acting out because Daddy is not here to drink his red milk.

So I might be good at my job. I don’t feel like a failure there, even when I make a mistake or miss a deadline. But at home? I am done beating myself up for a tiny mommy misstep. Because you know what? I love being a mom. I don’t know everything, but the fact that I am striving to be there for my kids and get them help if I can’t fix it … that makes me good at this job, too.

Written by Alex, proud wife of a Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldier and mom to four pretty amazing kiddos.

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