REAL TALK: Being a Navy Wife + Mama

If you aren’t familiar with Navy life, just know…they leave a lot. My husband is a Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy, who has primarily served on destroyers. There have been years when he was away more than he was home. Even now, when he is on shore tour, which typically means they serve a tour of duty on land versus being out at sea all the time, he still leaves. Cool. Most shore tours are a break from the years spent at sea and often when the Navy recommends to start a family. But my husband got such a lucky shore tour job, which requires him to leave on some sea time on occasion. SO lucky.

Speaking of leaving, he is not here right now. That, on its own, I am used to. BUT this is the first time he has been away when I have a mobile, mischievous toddler on my hands, while working a full time job AND starting my own business. There was one day in particular last week when I was NOT my best self, while navigating how to juggle all of this.

First, let’s actually rewind to the night BEFORE. Mason is a GREAT sleeper. But this night, something must have been bothering him because he would not stop screaming crying for an hour and a half, off and on. I tried everything I could think of to soothe him, but nothing worked…except our dog, Pax. Pax decided to go into Mason’s nursery and would NOT leave, which is VERY sweet. I mean, melt a mama’s heart right? He ended up sleeping on the floor next to Mason’s crib all night. But having him in there all night made me nervous because all the things say to not leave your pet with the baby unattended! So I kept Mason’s door cracked and left my door wide open – translation: I slept terribly, while Mason + Pax slept soundly.

The next morning, Mason threw the eggs I made him for breakfast in my cup of coffee. And mama was in SERIOUS need of caffeine. Then, somehow, even though I started the morning ahead of schedule, we ended up rushing and almost being late to get to daycare and then to work. I was crazy busy nonstop all day at work and then was rushing to get out of work on time in order to get to daycare for pick up on time – daycare has limited hours now due to covid protocols and guidelines they need to follow. When we got home from daycare, Mason was completely uninterested in eating dinner and, instead, fascinated with throwing all his food in any and every direction humanly possible, including all over our dog, who just had a bath, by the way. When I took Mason upstairs to take a bath, he spit up all over me as I was undressing him. Then, in the bathtub, he decided to fill up his little bath bucket with water and chuck it out of the tub, soaking me and my entire bathroom floor. THEN, he had a screaming meltdown when I tried to brush his teeth. And then a WORSE screaming meltdown when I tried to put on his diaper and jammies. And then an even WORSE screaming meltdown when I tried to use the snot sucker to clear his snotty little nose. I spilled all the water out of the humidifier tank that I was refilling because, in that moment, my darling baby decided it was a good time to show me he can climb out of his crib…which is already at the lowest possible setting. Once Mason was finally in bed and asleep, I tried to order some groceries for delivery, including milk for Mason, which I was almost out of…and they were out of the type I ordered, and I didn’t respond fast enough for a substitution. I mean, come on! So…it was mama’s turn for a meltdown. 

Here’s the deal…nothing that happened was abnormal. I’m sure you mamas have experienced days JUST like this! Just one of those days where nothing is quite going your way. And whether my husband is home or not, days like this happen. But there’s something about doing it when he’s not here that is just more emotionally draining...well, there’s a few things:

  1. When my husband is away for work, he’s not just away, like on a business trip. He’s at sea in a potentially dangerous environment for long periods of time. If he’s deployed, he’s literally in a war zone. If he’s out doing exercises, he’s still at sea on a warship. Things can and do happen.
  2. There is typically little to no communication when he’s at sea. They don’t have regular internet on the ships. It’s just not a thing. There’s no texting, no phone calls. You might get lucky and have some spotty e-mails though!
  3. You can’t trust a Navy schedule. Changes happen A LOT, so your sailor might not actually come home when we think they will. This also just applies to Navy life in general…you might not move to where you think you’re moving or when, etc.
  4. Most Navy families do not live close to their hometowns and other family members. They say it takes a village to raise a baby, but Navy families don’t live in their village! Some don’t even live in the same country. You might find your own tribe of other Navy spouses at your duty station, but we all move at some point…
  5. Navy wives and moms (and I think this is a lot of moms, just in general!) have a REALLY hard time asking for help. As a group, we’re fiercely independent and strong. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need help and support from time to time. We just aren’t good at asking for it.

To my fellow Navy mamas, you are killin’ it! This life isn’t easy and having kids in this life isn’t easy. And if you're also breastfeeding, then it's REALLY not easy. My mission with Ailana J. is to make breastfeeding mamas lives EASIER + more FABULOUS, and that includes military mamas! When the Ailana J. nursing + pumping collection launches, I will be offering you a military discount! Until then, you can be eligible for a FREE nursing + pumping style and lifestyle consultation with ME, the designer + founder of Ailana J. ALL mamas can get in on this! Just sign up for e-mail by OCTOBER 31st on and you’ll get all the details! I can’t wait to hang out with ALL of you!

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