Mama Said: Motherhood Inspired
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very honest with them about the mistakes I have made.

My son will tell me that he doesn’t want something because he doesn’t want me to spend money. I am so thankful they trust that I am going to take care of them, even though they understand our financial situation.

Last year was a big year for my oldest. She was inducted into two national honor societies and has been accepted into three of the five top universities she applied to. We are still waiting to hear from the last two. I am a very proud mom.

I can’t stop being a mother when my job gets tough. I work with local, state and federal-elected officials to discuss, educate and lobby for legislation that helps my organization better serve its patients. Recently, I was working on a project that would mean millions in revenue for my employer. During long hours and many weekends of research and writing, I explained to my children what I was working on and told them they could help me by doing what they know they need to do, plus a little extra. There was a time I was close to tears at work, but I pulled through it.

I hope to serve as an example to my kids. I tell them that we don’t have the optimal situation, but we do have a responsibility to each other to make it the best situation we can. One of the things we do together as a family is to volunteer. We’ve done citywide cleanups; filled sandbags during a hurricane; engaged in service projects in the classroom. I also serve on several committees and councils dealing with education, literacy and homeless services.

Sometimes all I need is a soft place to fall. Not even just “me” time, but a time to be able to vent, cry or scream. I want to be able to say I am afraid, worried or stressed—without judgment or finger pointing and head shaking.

In the beginning, I didn’t date much at all, and when I did, my children didn’t meet anyone [I dated]. I became good friends with a wonderful man. We are now dating seriously. It’s a long-distance relationship, so we’ve been able to take things slowly, and I don’t have to deal with him or the kids competing for my time. It’s good so far.

The Military Mom

“I can’t be there all the time—but that doesn’t make me a bad parent.”

Capt. Estacy Porter, 34  |  Army public health nurse Fort Benning, Ga.  |  Children: Zion, 12; Hezekia, 9; Nina, 2; and Zipporah, 9 months

I was born and raised in the Bronx. I love my hometown, but I’ve known since age 12 that I wouldn’t make a life there. I got accepted to a few colleges in my senior year of high school, but I was intrigued by the opportunities the Army offered. It was also the quickest way out of New York City. I had planned to stay three years; I’ve served for almost 17. The longer I serve, the prouder I become of this organization.

I am in training in San Antonio, while my husband, Demarlo, is serving in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor. We have a great support system that helps keep our family strong. To maintain stability, the kids remained in Georgia. So we have my husband’s grandmother and aunt, plus my mother, rotating and staying with the kids. My husband’s aunt took full responsibility without hesitation and has moved in with the kids for a couple of months until we both finish our commitments. I always make sure to have a backup for the backup for the backup.

Mothers are nurturers. When illness or anything happens to our children, we want to be there. I can’t be there all the time—but that doesn’t make me a bad parent. I have learned that it isn’t necessarily about the quantity of time, but the quality.

My toughest moment as a military mom was being stationed in Korea. During that time, North Korea attacked South Korea, but I was stationed farther south from the attack, promoting disease prevention among soldiers. I arrived a day before Nina’s first birthday in September 2010. Two days later, I learned I was pregnant with Zipporah.  My second son had recently been diagnosed with anxiety. Demarlo was in Iraq. I wanted to have my stomach rubbed or show him when the baby kicked. I was not to be reassigned Stateside during the pregnancy and would have to give birth without any family present. In spite of these factors, I had to remain strong. My husband has been able to witness the birth of only one of our four children.

When we found out we were having a girl, I called Demarlo at 3 a.m. (Korea is 14 hours ahead) and had him go on Skype to