We are a military family. I married a United States Marine over 27 years ago. I am so proud that my husband served his country honorably.
With 4 children, I knew my odds of having a child want to follow in my husbands footsteps was fairly high. What I didn’t expect, was my 2nd son telling us 3 months before he was to leave for college, that he was going to see a recruiter instead!
Being a Marine Corp Mom is about as wonderful scary as it gets. You are part of less than 1% of the population….a Mom with a United States Marine for a child. Now more than ever, your child will need your support and strength to get them through the next 13 weeks of bootcamp. From the time your child signs their enlistment contract, you will have a roller coaster of emotions. Pride, fear, anxiety, concern, love are all to be expected. Allow yourself time to adjust. Allow those emotions, do not resist them. This is where the mindset work comes in. If you need help, please reach out.
Give yourself grace for all you are feeling, and then get on board with this decision if you haven’t already. Your child needs to leave for bootcamp knowing they have your full support. If you are reading this, you are already doing great mom.
At some point during these 13 weeks, your child may question why they wanted this, why they are putting themselves through this, and they may even want to quit. Whether they graduate at the Guide or just barely make it through, they will all have days like this. Your job now is not to commiserate or feel sorry for them, but rather to give them strength and hope with your letters.
So….here are 10 nuggets of information to get you and your soldier through Bootcamp. Information will help to lessen some of the unknown and you will have a better idea of what to expect. Being a Marine Mom is a precious “club”, but first you have to be strong for your recruit.
10 Tips for Mom Before Your Child Heads to Bootcamp
- Have your recruit leave you a voice message saying “I love you” or whatever will warm your heart. They may think it is hokey, but you will be so thankful to hear their voice when it has been weeks and weeks of silence from them.
- There is almost nothing your receipt can bring from home except a Bible or book of faith, bring it. It must be small, they have them at the recruiting stations for free. Pick one up as it is the only thing they can bring from home that isn’t “issued” to them.
- Write a message inside the book. Something you have said to them all of their life so your voice will come to mind. An inspirational quote is also great to help them get through the tough days. They can also paste a very small picture in their book of the family IF that will motivate them and not make them more homesick.
- Buy a stack of index cards. Hand one to friends, relatives, teachers, clergy, whoever is willing. Have them write a message, key to success, something funny, whatever and sign it. Collect all of these before your child ships off, but do not show them to him/her. I called these Recruit Cards (more on these once they have shipped off in my Bootcamp blog).
- Write your first letter to your child. Stay strong and positive and do this while you can still see their sweet face. Trust me on this, just do it. Put the letter in an envelope and hold is somewhere safe.
- Give them space. You will want to smother them, have them home with you, but they are moving toward their future path. They need to get their mind in the right place, so let them.
- Take pictures of your child, you and your child, the whole family, etc. When you see them after bootcamp, they will not look the same. They will grow more in those weeks than they have in many years combined.
- Go to the swearing in. It is a very big day in your child’s life and you will want to witness it. Take pictures and meet the recruiter. They will be your lifeline.
- If your child has met a friend from the area, ask them to introduce you and get the parents phone numbers. Having someone to touch base with may be helpful at times.
- Sign up for the Facebook group even if you don’t like social media. Parris Island Parent sit your child is headed there or San Diego if that is your child’s base. This group is filled with so so much helpful info, BUT, skip over the alarming posts of parents freaking out. Their freak out isn’t about YOUR child and you don’t need your imagination running away with someone else’s story. Here is where the mindset work is invaluable.
Ship Off Day
Take a deep breath, it is going to be okay. It is not easy to see your child embarking on the unknown without you to protect or console them. You can be strong for them, and you need to be. Tell them you know they can do this and cannot wait to see them as a United States Marine.
Take another picture though they may roll their eyes at you. Do it and be on your way. You have seen them swear in one last time, you have had the 10 min or so they allow for last minute good byes and now be on your way. They need to get prepared mentally to board the bus or the plan. They are going to be fine.
Your son/daughter arrives at the infamous Parris Island, SC (hopefully not in July like my son) or San Diego, CA. You will get a phone call very late at night, BE SURE TO ANSWER IT! I cannot tell you the number of parents I have spoken to that are distraught because they missed the call. This will be the last time you hear your child’s voice for 13 weeks.
NOW….LET ME PREPARE YOU. Your child will be yelling a recorded script that in essence tells you they have arrived. You will not have the opportunity to speak as they will scream the script and promptly hang up.
Do not b disturbed, this is what happens and the Drill Sergeants will be yelling in the background. If this will freak you out, remember, this is the last time your child will hear your voice when you answer the phone for 13 long weeks. Be strong for them.
Your son or daughter is now a recruit. They have stood on the yellow footprints of the recruits that have gone before them. They are about to have experiences that civilians will never understand and your recruit will never forget.
Cheer them on every day, write them as often as possible, and be so proud that you have raised a child that wishes to serve our great country.
Look for other posts to get you through the 13 weeks of Bootcamp and important tips for Graduation which you do not want to miss! Please comment below with any questions or tips you have discovered. This is a special community of people. Connect with me for mindset coaching or just words of encouragement. You got this MOM (Mom Of Marine)!!!