8 Tips for Mother’s Day with a Military Mom

A proud "Marine" mom, Cyd Deathe.

A proud “Marine” mom, Cyd Deathe.

Sunday is Mother’s Day – normally a time for celebration.  But it’s sometimes tough to celebrate when mom is home and the kids are serving overseas in the military. So here are some suggestions.

When it comes to tips on what not to say to a Marine mom, Cyd Deathe, co-founder the Tampa Area Marine Parents Association, has a list:


  • Don’t say to a military mom, ‘Why did you let him join up?’ That’s one of Cyd’s biggest irritants because it totally dismisses that the child is an adult.
  • Don’t ask ‘When are they coming home?’ Cyd says, “Most of the time we don’t know. We can only hope and the more you hear it and the more you want it and the more you say it it’s not good.”
  • Don’t open a political discussion about the wars with the mother of a deployed military member because they cannot change the fact their child is deployed and possibly at risk.
  • Do be sensitive. “I had one military mom who took her son’s dress blues to the dry cleaners,” Cyd said. “And attendant asked her if she was getting them ready for him to be buried in them.”

Cyd’s son is no longer in the Marines, but she still leads the parent support group  that is open to all military parents. And she had some advice for parents of deployed service members:


  • Give up the crying because it makes them weak.
  • It’s not about you.
  • Don’t tell them that you miss them, they know that already.
  • Your job is to make them strong so they’re on point so they can do what they’ve got to do.

Earlier this week, Dorie Griggs offered 7 suggestions on ways to support a military mom and what to avoid.

You can listen to Dorie and Cyd tell their stories on WUSF.


7 Mother’s Day Tips from a Military Mom

Dorie Griggs with her son and daughter during Family Day at Ft. Stewart. Photo by Stanley Leary.

Dorie Griggs with her son and daughter during Family Day at Ft. Stewart. Photo by Stanley Leary.

I am the mom of a member of the U.S. Army. My son is deployed right now. Which means I experience a wide array of emotions any given day, sometimes within the span of a few minutes.

Mother’s Day is approaching quickly. Holidays have a way of bringing up the emotions we can hide the rest of the year. Having a child deployed this year I anticipate a few down moments as I approach that day.

I’d like to offer a few suggestions to readers who would like to show support for a military mom this Mother’s Day.

4 Ways to Help a Military Mom

Offer to send a care package to the deployed soldier. Knowing my son receives packages from a variety of friends makes me smile.

If you don’t have the time or money to send a package, offer to contribute to the postage costs, or supplies. Military families spend a lot on postage during the deployment.

Do let the mom of a deployed soldier know you appreciate their service.

Treat the mom of a deployed soldier to a lunch or dinner out, just to chat. Enjoying positive company is a great stress reliever.

3 Things to Avoid with a Military Mom

I love surprises, but not while my son is deployed. If you would like to visit the mom of a deployed soldier call first to let her know you are coming over. An unexpected knock on the door can bring visions of uniformed officers coming to let you know your soldier has been killed. Please don’t put the family of a deployed soldier through that scenario.

Having a deployed son or daughter is stressful. We get through it one day at a time. Making statements like, “I don’t know how you do it.” Is not helpful. We don’t know how we do it either.

Avoid overtly political discussions, unless the parent starts the conversation. Whether you agree or disagree with what is going on does not change the fact that my son is deployed and I worry.

I hope to spend this Mother’s Day with my husband and two children who are still home. Hearing from my deployed son would be a huge bonus.

A Veteran’s Tribute on Mother’s Day

The author’s mother, Diane Hoit, whose motto was never give up and no regrets.

 By Kate Hoit

It’s true—my mom is my biggest fan. When you walk into her kitchen she has an 8 X 11 sized photocopy of my VA business card taped to the refrigerator. On her desk, she has two (practically identical) graduation photos placed next to one another. “Katie, your smile is slightly different in this one.” Next to her bed, in a cheap wooden frame, sits a letter I wrote to her in eight grade: “Dear Mom, thank you for being the best mom ever! I love you sooo much!”

The letter is a little embarrassingly generic and at the time I didn’t know how to appreciate who my mom was.  I mean, what 13 year-old really does? Over the years though, it’s become much more apparent that my success as a daughter, friend, girlfriend (this is debatable), an Iraq War Veteran, honor grad student, and coworker is because of her.

I was raised by a woman who has drilled a few things into my head. Our conversations about life would go like this:

Continue reading

A Day to Honor Mothers: They Serve in Many Ways

Dorothy Mae (Bush) Zeller, Tracie's mother, was a WAC (Women's Army ) from 1955-1960.

By Tracie Ciambotti

This Mother’s Day is bittersweet and very different from any I have experienced thus far. It was the day after Mother’s Day last year when my mother received a stage 3 ovarian cancer diagnosis. This is my first Mother’s Day without her. Dorothy Mae Zeller died September 6, 2010. 

She received military honors at her funeral for her service in the Women’s Army Corps from 1955-1960.  My son, Joshua, who also serves in the Army, was presented with his grandmother’s flag.

This is also my first Mother’s Day not spent with my two daughters; Jessica and Danielle—who both live in Pennsylvania.  I moved from Pennsylvania to Colorado last year for my husband’s job.  I know today will be as difficult for them as it is for me.     

Grandson Josh, who now serves in the Army, receives the flag at his grandmother’s military funeral in 2010.


It is, however, the first Mother’s Day in many years that I will spend with my son Joshua.  I can’t recall the last time we were together on this day, but know it was at least prior to his joining the Army.  Every minute I get to spend with him these days is very precious as his deployment date draws closer.  It seems I subconsciously try to burn an image of his big blue eyes and devilish smile into my memory to keep me going for the next year that he will be gone. 

Tracie's daughters, Jessica and Danielle.

I know how much I will miss the sound of his voice, his little pranks, and the way he makes me laugh—just as I have on his prior two deployments.  As sad as today is without my mother and my daughters, I am blessed to be with my son and daughter-in-law. 

Many mothers of service members are not so blessed today.  They will sit and wait anxiously; hoping and praying that their son or daughter serving on a deployment will get a spare moment to call and say “Hi”.  Just hearing the sound of their voice brings peace and comfort. 

Tracie and her mother, Dorthy Mae.

Mothers of those serving, but not deployed will also be awaiting phone calls from a son or daughter who couldn’t get time off to come home for a visit.

I want to personally thank every mother who has a child serving in our Armed Forces; I know that you are serving too.  I know the sacrifices you make and the heartaches you endure for our country.  I ask everyone who knows a military mom to call her today and thank her for her service.

Tracie Ciambotti is the Co-founder of Military Families Ministry (MFM) and mother of an Army sergeant. Her previous blog contributions:

How Do You Define True Patriotism?

When War Gets Personal

An Army Mom Connects Military Families and Churches

Looking to Honor Moms Who Have Served

Do you know a mom who has served in the military who you would like to honor? The entry below comes directly from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs blog: Vantage Point.

A single mother from Bradenton drove convoys in Iraq while deployed as an Army Reservist. Photo courtesy of The New Study: "Collateral Damage" of War on Florida Families.

In honor of Mother’s Day, we here at VA need your help to thank the women who have undoubtedly shaped our lives. We would like to put together a tribute honoring Veterans who are grandmothers and mothers and the mothers and grandmothers of Veterans. Their service has not only shaped your life but has paved the way for fellow female service members.

Here is how you can help: please send a photograph or a story (no more than 250 words) that details your Veterans’ service and how she has inspired you.

We want to know what life was like growing up on a military base, how you dealt with a deployment, and about the unique mother-child bond. The photographs will be created into a Flickr set and the stories will appear on VAntage Point. 

With each submission, please provide name, branch of service, when they served, and what they are doing now. Please send all information to newmedia@va.gov by Tuesday May 3.

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