Military Moms – Part Two 

Military moms – whether they’re holding down the home front or they’ve set aside their daily mothering duties to serve our country, they say their families are never far from their hearts.As we prepare to honor members of the military this Veterans Day, we meet some women in uniform who balance military life with motherhood.They say it’s a challenge they choose, with no regrets. Even when duty called Lieutenant Colonial Diane Dunn to spend nearly a year in Afghanistan, away from her husband and three children, she still considered her service an honor.Dunn was the commander for the 286th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion of the Maine Army National Guard.”The military is like having another child to me almost. It’s that same sense of committment. It’s that same sense of responsibility. All of those things you do for your children – you would give your life for your child. We would give our life for our country.”Dunn, like other military moms, says leaving family behind is never easy.Master Sergeant Keri Dunton with the Air National Guard remembers her first deployment overseas, when her children were just 5 and 2.”I was talking with Wyatt on the phone when I was gone and he says, “Mommy, can I come visit your house sometime? Or can you come visit my house sometime?” and that really got to me.”A lot of logistics come into play when mom’s away, as Air Guard Senior Master Sergeant Amy Knott’s husband found out when she deployed to Turkey.”He took a lot of time off over the course of three months. I don’t think my husband really knows how much time I actually had to give up at work in order to take care of the kids, doctors appointments, dentist appointments, things like that.”Helping their children understand how to handle their time away is important, too. Air Guard Major Amy Nutter says “I’d tell them, I have twenty more sleeps until I’ll be home. Ten more sleeps until I’ll be home. One more sleep mommy – yup, one more sleep.”Nutter says thankfully, communication these days, through e-mails or video conferencing, can keep families better connected. Even so, military moms know they’ll never completely get back the time they lose in their childrens’ lives Leading some to wonder, why do it? Dunton says her answer is easy.”I believe in what I’m doing. I believe in our military and what we stand for, the freedoms and the rights we give each individual in the United States by doing what we do. So that other woman that looks at me like, “How can you do that to your kids and leave them?”. What I do gives her the right to think that.”While the decision to be in the military means sacrifices for their families, these women all say their families are one of the biggest reasons they serve.Knott says, “It’s important for my kids to have a safe place and this is something I can do to ensure that that happens.”Dunton says, “They’ve learned about pride, integrity, loyalty, all the things you want your kids to learn about. When you’re committed to doing something, you finish it. That’s what I am. I’m committed to the military.”Even when that commitment requires difficult choices.Dunn says, “There are times by wearing the uniform that you have to make that decision – to say this is my obligation, this is my responsibility, just as it is my responsibility to parent my children.”Nutter says, “Those boys are everything to me. And it’s, in my mind, my responsibility because I’m mom. I carried them for nine months and it’s not like I can just let go. I’ll be their mom. I’ll always be their mom, whether I’m gone or whether I’m home.”All of the military moms say they couldn’t do what they do, without the support of their husbands and families. And they credit them as the real heroes who keep life going at home while mom’s on a mission.