Battle Buddies

By Julie Weckerlein

Before children, I was the one who was always late to the party, the one making the glamorous entrance after spending a little extra time perfecting the lipliner or hair flip.


I’m late to the play dates because I have to make 30 trips back into the house, grabbing an extra bottle/diaper/stuffed toy/band-aid/directions before we can finally buckle up and back out of the driveway. No matter how many lists I make, no matter how serious I am about planning ahead, it never fails.

I’m always late.

So it’s fitting that I’m late to the Army of Ermas, squeezing in a singular post before closing time.

But I have to admit, as a longtime lurker, I don’t feel like an FNG. Not when I’ve been following the likes of Stacey Graham, Jason Tudor, and Pauline Campos for years, snickering at the cleverness and laughing at the banter as the Army shared adventures from the front lines of family life.

Because let’s face it: parenthood is psychological warfare.

Nothing challenges, defines, and beats the crap out of our value systems, belief systems, emotions, reasoning, and behavior quiet like the job of raising children, and we get it from all sides.

We get it from Mother Nature as she tap-dances with our hormones from puberty onward. We get it from our spouses or significant others, intentional or not, as they hold us accountable to our promises.

We definitely get it from our children, from the very second they wrap their little hands around our hearts and squeeze, growing too fast and away from us because that’s how it’s supposed to be, even though it hurts.

And we get it from the outside. The pressure. The standards. The labels. The blame. We like to point to television shows, blogs, magazines, books, articles, photos, those other moms who are doing things better, faster, thinner, healthier, more lovely, more perfect. Everywhere we go, there are more than enough things out there ready to amplify our deepest insecurities as mothers.

There’s always incoming psychological artillery, and there’s really no way to avoid it. So, it’s good to have battle buddies.

Battle buddies don’t judge you based on how you’ve named your children.

They don’t judge your yoga pants or your thrift store jeans.

Battle buddies remind you that you don’t have to be the perfect parent by revealing their own imperfections.

Battle buddies get flustered and admit it.

Battle buddies will admit, too, that they’ve rewashed their silverware because it takes too much energy to pull ‘em out of the dishwasher.

They offer advice on romance and dating, for those who need it and even for those who don’t.

They give recipes, cleaning tips, some insight about the other gender.

Battle buddies want to help make things better.

Most of all, battle buddies reach...across tables...over telephones...through blogs: it doesn’t matter; they reach out, and they make you laugh.

Thanks for making me laugh, Army of Ermas.

In 2001, Julie Weckerlein started a little website called Julie and Martin for friends and family to follow her wedding plans. At the time, she was in the Air Force and Martin was in the German Army. But then the terrorist attacks on 9/11 happened, and the site took on a new role. Eleven years later, the site continues to be a reflection of their lives, reaching a worldwide audience with stories about juggling married life with home life with work life and everything in between. Now living in the Washington, D.C. area with two daughters and son, Julie and Martin continue to document their lives on www.julieandmartin.com, which recently earned the 2011 Parents Magazine Readers Choice Award for Best All-Around Mom Blog.

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