The joys of motherhood are found in the little moments, sandwiched between receiving big hugs from your kids one moment, and being the “bad guy” the next. The weight of the world rests on your shoulders. Even the most super of moms deserves a little “R and R” (aka rest and relaxation) every once in a while, especially on Mother’s Day. But that’s easier said than done for most military moms who have to celebrate the day as a single parent.

evergreen direct credit union“It seems like my husband is always gone in the spring for some reason so Mother’s Day without dad is basically the norm in our house,” said Lauren Howard, mother of three.

It’s the same for Brigitte Grantham, mother to three girls. “I have been married for five years now and I can’t remember a Mother’s Day he has been here for. We often joke about how convenient it is but he always seems to be here for Father’s Day! The joys and responsibilities of children are something I would never trade, with or without a husband to celebrate the day.”

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Tolmie State Park provides a wonderful way to walk the shoreline and pick shells.

So how do military moms spend their day? “For me, it’s a day to do fun, low key stuff with the kids. No big trips, grand adventures or anything that feels stressful,” said Lauren Howard. “Dessert will be had and it will be chocolate in nature. I’ll probably spring for a little nicer than usual bottle of wine too. After all, it is a celebration!”

For Lauren Manley, “Mother’s Day sans husband should be about finding something beautiful in the day and enjoying it. While it’s a day to honor mothers, I think I’ll honor being a mother and doing something memorable with my kid. Plus, he can always send me to be pampered when he returns,” she said.

So while this is a “survival guide,” let it be more of a celebration guide. Military moms survive in the days between deployments and balancing and juggling both roles of parenthood. Here are some suggestions to make this your most memorable Mother’s Day yet, even if your spouse is gone.

Celebrate You in Little Ways

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The park at Summer Cove at Russell Landing on JBLM offers numerous swings and slides for the kiddos.

Don’t neglect your own needs. “Something I’ve learned over the years is to remember to take time for myself,” Brigitte said. “Painting my toenails, making that overdue hair appointment or taking a long hot bubble bath. Whether it’s Mother’s Day or not these small things seem to get over looked far too long.”

Find Your Tribe

It’s time to round up your friends. “I will be celebrating Mother’s Day with some other mothers. Luckily enough we all have kids and most of our husbands are gone so I feel especially blessed to be sharing it with them.  While I will be missing my husband, just like most days, having a group of women to be surrounded by on days like Mother’s Day is important,” said Brigitte.

Make it a Mommy and Me Special Day

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The Olympia Farmer’s Market is hosting a special Mother’s Day on May 8 with prizes and giveaways. Treat yourself to a bouquet of flowers on the way home.

Spend the afternoon at the Olympia Farmer’s Market. They will be hosting a special event for mothers on Sunday, May 8 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. with raffle prizes for mom and music from The Pine Hearts. There will be a kids table and with over 80 vendors you are sure to find farm fresh veggies to make a superb meal. Grab a bouquet of flowers to adorn your table. You might even find a special gift with the local artisans.

If you’re looking for a local beach, head to Summer Cove at Russell Landing at American Lake on North Fort JBLM. There you’ll find an expansive park for the kids with slides and swings galore. Pack a picnic lunch to have on the beach or in the covered eating areas. And if it’s warm enough, pack your swimsuit and beach towel to take a quick dip in the water.

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The Summer Cove at Russell Landing on JBLM offers a zero entry beach access.

If nature’s more your thing, take a walk along the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge boardwalk, providing a 360-degree view of McAllister Creek, the Olympics, Mount Rainier and several Puget Sound islands. Or climb the observation tower to see the myriad of bird species, harbor seals, otters, salmon, and many other animals.

Take a stroll through Tolmie State Park, a park with 1,800 feet of saltwater shoreline on Puget Sound.

And if all else fails, it’s okay to take a night to stay in and watch the latest chick flick in your pajamas.

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