I’m keeping up celebrating moms for the month of May because I don’t think that one day is nearly enough-although I may be a bit biased. You can read week 1 and week 2 if you want to catch up and see my interviews with other amazing moms.

This week I’m highlighting a very unique kind of mom. A mom that not only gives her best self to her kids, but to her country as well. With May also being Military Appreciation Month, I found it very fitting to interview a military mom.

I’ve known Jen for a number of years. Our kids are the same ages, so it’s nice to have someone to lean on and know that we’re not alone through all of these toddler and young kid phases. She’s selfless, always putting other people first, an amazing mom and a dedicated Airman. I had a lot of fun interviewing her and I learned some things that I didn’t know before!

Q. Why did you decide to join the military? 

A. I joined the military for the educational benefits.

Q. Was it your plan to make it career? 

A. I was planning on doing my 6 years and getting out. It was literally a whim. My friend and I were in a class in high school and realized we didn’t know how we were going to pay for college, so we drove to the base after school. They told me at the gate that I had to make an appointment with a recruiter, that I couldn’t just drive to the gate and come in (laughing). Once I joined and was out here full-time, I realized that there’s more to the Guard than one weekend a month, that I could actually work out here full-time and make a career out of it. I could work full-time and still go to school.

Q. What kind of added challenges do you feel that military moms face?

A. I know there are other jobs that have travel commitments, but for certain career fields you are expected to deploy. So it’s just something you know you have to face, whether it’s every year, every two years, depending on what you do. In the Guard we also have to do the one weekend a month drill and as much as it doesn’t seem like it’s a lot, when you’re working full-time you’re really only left with 3 weekends to do certain things.

Q. When your kids look back on this time of their lives, how do you want them to remember you? 

A. Like a fun, caring mom. I try and take off of work when I can and do fun, memorable things with them. I hope they think that their mom being in the military is cool. Not many kids get to come here and look at the planes or tour Air Force 2. When we have the air and water show, they get kind of a behind the scenes look. So right know I hope they think it’s cool. Sometimes, they get mad that I have to leave for work, but I feel like that’s just kids at this age.

Q. What was your mom right about in life? 

A. EVERYTHING! (laughing!) I was totally rebellious. Whatever my mom (or dad) told me, I did the opposite. And every time they were always right. Just everything. Boys you date, friends and life. Everything. I know your parents always say, ‘because I said so’ and you think to yourself that I will never say that! Now I catch myself now saying ‘because I said so that’s why’ all the time. Everything they ever told me growing up, as much as I wanted them to be wrong, they were always right.

Q. What advice would you give to military moms or moms who travel a lot for work?

A. When you have leave, use it. If you don’t have a lot going on at work and you can take the time away and spend it with your kids, whether it’s going on a field trip, or just taking a day off, then do it. I get ‘service before self’ (an Air Force core value) but your work life can & will go on without you there. The work will be there when you get back. So, take time for you as well as your kids and family. If you’re not strong enough and taking time for yourself, if you’re stressed out all the time, then I don’t think that you can give 100% of your best self to your kids or your family.