April 28, 2013 by Katia
Let me start with a full disclosure: reading the title alone will send my husband rolling on the floor in bouts of uncontrollable laughter, the reason being the boldness of that statement. Make no mistake, I did serve in the army for a total of 21 months, but my actual exposure to a military setting, as opposed to an office one, lasted a little over two weeks and it was during my initial basic training period. In Israel, where I’m originally from, military service is mandatory for both genders and it starts after high school.
The fact that I’m a former Sergeant comes in handy when I need to impress/shock/bond with my Canadian coworkers over a True or False Facts About Me team building game, but I’ve never been a Commander and all I had to do to earn that rank was to show up and complete my military service. Depending on the type of role and force you’re in, some Sergeants will have more heroic achievements under their belt. My most heroic achievement to date is giving birth to and mothering my two boys, 3-Year-Old and 8-Month-Old.
As a mom, I’ve come to realize, years after completing the service, that there are some undeniable parallels between my past and present. The military was, in a sense, my first exposure to some of the experiences I go through on a daily basis as a parent and therefore a good crash course. I give you some of the similarities I’ve found between the two. Atten-tion!
- In the military you get woken up at unexpected times for night drills and room inspections. Is it really necessary to continue this line of thought?
- During a military room inspection, your Commander will search the room meticulously including searching the window rails for food crumbs. Parenting too is all about food crumbs in your window rails.
- During shooting practices you will learn, as a soldier, to issue a threat first: “Stop, or I’ll shoot!” In parenting the exact same wording, although sometimes desirable, might be a bit too strong, but the sentence structure will serve you well when you replace the word Shoot with “take away your new toy!” Or “drink all of your chocolate milk”.
- In military you get to wear the same clothes every day. See where I’m going with this, new moms?
- In an army basis there is no such thing as “my room”.
- There’s also no such thing as privacy in the shower. Sorry, let me rephrase that – in the military there is not such thing as privacy. Period. Sound familiar?
- In military there’s no “please, drop down and give me 20” or “thank you for doing the dishes for the entire camp”. Get used to not hearing the magic words.
- And remember, you didn’t talk back to your Commander in the military and you won’t be talking back to your preschooler one.
Similar to parenting the military taught me some things I’ve never suspected about myself. At the age of eighteen, I got a glimpse of the me I am to others outside of my closest circle. Growing up in an over-protective female dominated environment, I was amazed to find out that my peers at boot camp thought I was resilient and could take on a Commander role. Parenting was another instance where I felt I could take on more than I ever expected of myself. As a young woman after completing my service, I often wondered whether it was a waste of time. I now see the benefits. If nothing else it’ll make me a really cool mommy one day, when my boys are old enough to be impressed/shocked/team build.
As you were.