May Means So Much More

April showers bring May flowers. May also brings Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. Do you realize May represents so much more? It also includes Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Nurses’ Week, Teacher Appreciation Week, and Mental Health Awareness Month. Each of these observances symbolizes a role in my life.  

Mother

I have been a mother for 6 years, and most days feel like an average one. As mothers, we subject ourselves to mom guilt, endless comparisons, and negative self-doubt. Have you ever stopped to ask your children what they think of you as a mom? I recently did. My daughter’s response was: “You are a great mom – the BEST!” Nothing else matters. My goal as a parent is to raise a happy, kind, well-adjusted, caring child who grows into a responsible adult and makes a positive contribution to society. I am so much more than a mother, and so are you. Happy Mother’s Day! Thank you to all of our mothers.    

Military Spouse

I met my husband in 2004 and officially became a military spouse when we married in 2007. People often say, “you knew what you were getting into when you married into the military.” Does anyone truly understand what this entails until they live through it? My answer is a resounding NO. As a military spouse, I have learned to become resilient, dedicated, supportive, adaptable, flexible, selfless, and strong. Unfortunately, gaining these attributes comes with a hefty price tag. They developed at the expense of my own self-identity, my sense of purpose, and my career. These all took a backseat to my husband’s career and the military lifestyle. I am so much more than a military spouse, and so are you. Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day! Thank you to all of the military spouses for their service and sacrifices.

Nurse

Despite having a degree in marketing, I decided to go to nursing school in 2010 at the age of thirty-five. We were approaching the PCS move from Oahu, Hawaii, to Clearwater, Florida. This decision was based on the desire to find a more stable career due to the potential for more military moves. The healthcare field made sense, given my background. Nursing seemed to be the perfect fit. Nurses are always in high demand, and jobs are readily available no matter where you live. The key to this job security is residing within the U.S., where you are legally authorized to work. Two international moves later, my nursing career hasn’t worked out exactly as I had planned. I am so much more than a nurse, and so are you. Happy Nurses Week! Thank you to all nurses, especially those in the trenches battling a global pandemic.   

Teacher

I feel like most little girls go through a phase of wanting to be a teacher. In the Spring of 2020, many of us unexpectedly became teachers. I don’t pretend homeschooling my child with online lessons meticulously planned by her actual teacher is the same thing as being one. I operate more as a teaching assistant for an online school program. The patience the actual teacher has with my child is amazing. The patience she has with a classroom full of 20 children to whom she has no blood relation is nothing short of spectacular. I am so much more than a teacher, and so are you. Happy Teacher’s Appreciation Week! Thank you to all of the teachers who are helping to keep children on track during this unprecedented time in our world.    

Mental Health Advocate

Like many military spouses, and 20% of Americans, I struggle with my mental health. I have anxiety, and it can morph into various forms of depression on any given day. At forty-five, I am finally able to admit this to myself. However, I still struggle with admitting it to the outside world. We need to encourage everyone to advocate for mental health awareness now more than ever. Together, we can change the negative stigma surrounding mental health. I am so much more than a person who struggles with anxiety, and so are you. Thank you to the many organizations promoting Mental Health Awareness and providing resources to those in need. 

I am a mother, a military spouse, a nurse, an unexpected teacher, and a mental health advocate. The month of May represents so much more than flowers. It reminds me there is so much more to my life than any individual identity. Each day, I am finding more of myself and more of my voice. I am finally learning that I can be so much more if I am honest with my true self. Likewise, if you give yourself the opportunity, you can also become so much more.

Published by Sarah Ortiz Benson

Freelance Writer

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