“My dad had been on my case for months to sign up for a Catholic dating site. I finally gave in when one of my many ‘we met in a bar’ relationships ended. At the same time, a Navy pilot’s group of flight school buddies gave him the idea to sign up for Catholic Match, which ultimately ended up in 3 young helicopter pilots sifting through pages of girls, trying to find him a date. I found him first and quickly sent a super cheesy message saying, ‘Hey! You don’t see a cute Catholic boy every day!’
“Luckily for me he wasn’t totally turned off by my cheesy forwardness and just so happened to be driving up to D.C. to hang out with his best friend who lived 2 streets over from me. Eight months later we were married and expecting our first child! He deployed 2 months after our wedding but made it home in time for our son’s birth. Three months after he was born we found out we were expecting twins! I remember him smiling and laughing as the ultrasound tech told us the news. I had my hands over my face trying not to panic because I knew he was deploying again and would miss the birth. Major complications arose which landed me in the hospital for months. He was brought back to walk through a tough journey with me and line up child care for our 7 month old son.
“As soon as the water settled he headed back out on deployment leaving me with 3 kids under 15 months. We finally reached shore duty and had 2 more babies and now have 5 under 5! My husband is quick to sing my praises to his peers about how well I’m doing at raising our ‘little’ big family, but most of the time I feel like I’m under water with a straw that’s giving me just enough air to survive. I truly believe every mother is maxed out where they are in the moment. I feel just as overwhelmed with 5 as I did with my first baby. I have days where I feel like I’m totally rocking this mom gig, and then my 3 year old decides to throws herself on the floor in Walmart because she wants every blessed piece of battery powered candy device that is conveniently located at child eye level in the checkout line. One kid or 10 kids…as long as you have some kids who are under the age of 3, then you my friends are in the mommy trenches…nice to meet you.
“During the year-long work up schedule and now beginning our 7 month deployment I’ve learned a few things: it’s okay to let the laundry pile PILE up, go to sleep with dishes in the sink, do fast food for lunch and dinner (chicken nuggets and pizza in one day never killed anybody), and to let people help, but to never take advantage. There will be a time when I truly need someone to watch my kids unexpectedly and I don’t want to have used up my offers on things that I could have scheduled a sitter for. My mom always reminds me that I set the tone for the family and that being a solo mom of 5 is going to be hard no doubt, but that there are 5 small people depending on me to set that tone…so, we’ll turn the music up because we have life to live and 7 months of happy memories to make until we can finally become a party of 7 again.”