Saturday, February 16, 2008

WWMD? What would Martha Do?

So, why Military Martha? Well, if you’ve ever tuned in to an episode of “Army Wives”, “The Unit” or even “Top Gun”, you know there’s a woman behind the man. Or, if you’re a fan of the “L Word”, it’s the woman behind the woman. Ironically, 9 years ago when R. and I got married, I was a corporate marketing maven – logging frequent flier miles faster than a speeding bullet. Then, I was then thrust into the world of the “military spouse”-- a badge of distinction that I carry with honor. However, it was unchartered terroir, filled with a group of women who knew I was not native to these lands. I needed a Sherpa, a guide.

Along with the great pride and acceptance of sacrifice that each family makes, comes a cavalcade of other challenges associated with being a military spouse. First and foremost, you learn that the best way to survive challenges from moving home every few years, to deployments, to managing ridiculous family calendars is to adopt an attitude of “if so-and-so can do it, then so can I”. That’s when it came to me, I needed a role model – aspriational, yet accessible. I thought maybe MacGyver, but I know nothing about explosives, other than an “explosive”, low point in my singleton years, baking banana bread in a dodgy gas oven. No, no, not MacGyver. Then I thought who else could simultaneously sew curtains, organize a new pantry, plant a multi-story herb garden while cooking a fabulous dinner for her family and the movers the day the boxes are unloaded – the incomparable Martha Stewart. This is truly a woman who makes limoncello out of lemons.

While there were some fine women who showed me the ropes, helping me to navigate the waters, Martha is ever-present – television, magazines, radio, Macy’s – she’s left Kmart, and she’s even en route to Costco – who doesn’t love Costco? She’s in our kitchens, designing our houses…for goodness sake, last checked, she had 11 million hits on Google. However, she’s real woman with strengths and weaknesses, confidences and vulnerabilities, like all of us – but, just a little bit different. I once read a news item in which Martha talked about when she has trouble sleeping, she’ll often get up and pull out her $2,000+ Miele Rotary Iron and start pressing. Personally, I resort to an episode of “Dirty, Sexy Money” and a box of Guittard chocolate pieces. But, I always make sure that its excellent-quality chocolate.

So, I challenge you, the next time you’re in a pinch, look to Martha for inspiration. For example, when your panicked eight-year old notifies you that she has to wear an animal costume for their Zoo Day Festival that morning, just as you’re pulling into the school parking lot that morning. Take a brief respite from ferreting through your “mommy purse”, take a deep breath and calmly ask yourself, “WWMD?”