Before I became a mother, my priorities were out of whack.
I was in the Navy, but was more focused on being young and going out. I knew I had a steady paycheck already, and the thought of going back to college and working on my education daunted me.
Once I became pregnant with my son, my whole life changed its script. My future was important, because he was important. It surprised me just how much love I could feel towards another human being. You hear about it your whole life – that having kids is experiencing love like you’ve never felt it before – but you don’t really know until it happens. It’s overwhelming.
Motherhood has made me as successful as I am.
Since the moment I found out I was pregnant I have put all my time and effort into building our future, and being the best version of myself. I pour everything into my work because I have little eyes watching, and I want to instill the value of hard work in my son.
The biggest challenge being a military mom is that I’m not always able to be there. The first time I heard my son Benjamin say “I love you” was on mother’s day, over the phone, while I was floating in the middle of the ocean. On my first deployment away from him, I got a hotel room so I could Skype him, and for three hours I had to listen to him cry and say I miss you. The first deployment is incredibly hard for the whole family, and there are moments that will break your heart.
The question I am always hit with, is “how could you leave your baby?”
The truth is, it’s not my choice. If it were up to me, I would just get my own boat and travel with my son and my dog around the world. But unfortunately, it just isn’t in the cards right now.
My son, in turn, is learning resiliency and has already grown leaps and bounds in his strength with each trip I have to take. In turn, I bring back information about cultures around the world and the beautiful lessons you can learn from each. My time away is my time to continue striving for more, and it’s his time to be around and loved by the grandparents and extended family he doesn’t normally get to see.
Even when I am away, I still find myself in the role of “mom.” I consider all of my Sailors to be my kids. I have even earned the nickname “Momma METOC” with a few of the junior guys. It also allows me to have strong role models outside of the family for my son, because there are so many people that I’ve met who inspire me every single day.
It is amazing to watch military parents, with such tenacity, try to build a better life for their kids. I know individuals who have given up everything for the greater good of their child. Its incredible to watch people’s lives change, just because of the amount of love they have for their baby.
Motherhood has taught me that I can do anything.
Being a mother is not for the faint hearted. Everything becomes about your child, and suddenly you want to be more for them. I used to be headed down a bad path, but now I work full time, take college classes full time, and still find time to work on my bodybuilding. I strive to be the best example I can be. It’s because of him that I realized I can do all of this.
I want people to know, regardless of whether you’re a parent or not, that it is never too late to change your life. You are someone’s child, biologically or otherwise, and I promise they wanted nothing but greatness for you. Do not stop your future out of fear. With every obstacle lies an opportunity, you just have to be willing to chase it.