Ultimately she knows that she must lead by example and show her family that it is important to make healthier decisions- Mind, Body & Soul. Yesterday, I recruited her to join our HMIP Team for the upcoming Walk for Autism Speaks in Miami. Although she lives in Chicago, this isn’t keeping her from helping our HMIP Team in fundraising online and creating awareness about Autism. So add that to her list of charitable causes! Wow!
Newly inspired to make a positive change in myself- mind, body & soul, I’ve chosen to reach out to other mommies and see what makes them tick.
In the months to come, I will be sharing with you interviews with inspirational women who make a positive impact in the lives of those around them. These women are stay-at-home mommies, working mommies, independent mommies… Hot Mama’s all the same!
Today I’ll share Amy Smith’s story with you. Amy is a gorgeous young military wife and mother of three beautiful children. Ava, 4 ½; Aubrea, 3 and Mason who just celebrated his 1st birthday.
I’ve known Amy now for a little over a year. She and I met on Facebook because our significant others were the closest of friends at Florida International University, where both men went to college a few years ago. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Amy and her family in person yet, but somehow we’ve managed to become friends and I can personally vouch that this lady is a force to reckon with. She is a caring and overall good person who takes the time to give love when it’s needed. I know.
“The Military Hot Mama”
Amy has been a military wife for seven years. She and her husband, Dennis, have been happily together for eight years this upcoming May. When they met their casual relationship flourished and soon they were head-over-heals for each other. Dennis left for boot camp six months into their courtship and upon his return from Virginia, he proposed to Amy on Valentine’s Day in 2004. In wanting to marry before her Sailor’s first duty station, they chose to elope a few months after their engagement and begun their life together.
I asked Amy to put into words what it is like to be a military wife with three children. What I received in return was an awe-inspiring reply that brought me to tears. Being a single mom for sometime before meeting my “hubby,” I found that I too shared a couple of the same emotions.
Amy was courageous to share & blunt about the ins and outs of her days as a stay-at-home mom of three young children and bride to a dedicated soldier. “Honestly, it is a very hard thing to do, but at the same time very enjoyable. You are faced with being a single parent at times while worrying about your significant other. Trying to keep the connection alive and going; Not only (in) your own relationship, but with your kids… so they don’t ‘forget’ daddy… (while) giving up so much of yourself to support your husband’s career and support your family.”
Before meeting her husband, Dennis, Amy revealed that she was a very independent woman. She worked for a living and didn’t rely on anyone financially or emotionally. During the couple’s first duty station Amy found herself discouraged and ultimately surprised that it took her about five months to find a new job. She jokes that as a newly married couple, her husband enjoyed the daily home-cooked meals, immaculately clean house and the sexy new wife waiting for him with a cold beer in hand at the end of his day. She however, was not accustom to being “just” a house wife and felt like something was missing.
Soon after becoming employed, Amy quit her job to be a comforting shoulder to her ill father-in-law and what I would imagine to be, sorrowful husband who at the time was deployed to the Middle East. It was to say the least, a difficult time for her and she had no idea the ways her life was about to change.
And Then There Were Three
Shortly after Dennis’ return from deployment, Amy found out that they were blessed with their first baby girl, Ava. The couple decided that Amy would stay home with their daughter because the cost of daycare was too significant. Amy spent the next eight months at home with Ava adapting to her new role as a mommy and wife. Good news was delivered again by the Stork. Amy was now pregnant with their second child, Aubrea. Here is a new mommy who had never thought her life would bring so many changes and blessings in such a short period of time. Nonetheless, her big heart was excited to receive a new bundle of joy and strengthen the bond with her husband.
Three months after the arrival of her second baby girl, Dennis was deployed for a second time. Amy now found herself being mommy and “daddy” to her girls while keeping her husband’s safety in her prayers. Missing her partner, she tells me that she felt “lost for about two days” after his deployment but then put on her “big girl panties” and charged forward as “military wives often do.” In addition a little over a year ago, Amy and Dennis welcomed their bouncing baby boy, Mason. I could eat him with a spoon!
As a proud military wife and mother, Amy finds herself in three parts: worried about her husband’s safety while distinctively proud of him for serving our country and yet “disappointed” that she has put her own goals on hold. Amy, like many women do, puts her family first. I can completely understand, I too, put my loved ones first. Without regret it’s about the joy to see our family happy and that is reward enough.
Stay-At-Home Mommies Need Humor Too
A few weeks ago, Dennis and Amy found Aubrea rubbing conditioner onto her chest saying that she wanted to grow breast like that of mommy. When Aubrea was asked why she felt the conditioner would help, she simply answered that “the conditioner makes hair grow, (and so she) wanted to make her boobies bigger.” HILARIOUS! I don’t know if I could hold a straight face if Raul and I found Gabby doing the same. But this is just one of the funny moments that Amy gets to experience with the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mommy. Her oldest, Ava is starting to read and write very well. She’ll be starting Kindergarten soon. Aubrea is using the “big girl potty” and their prince, Mason just began to walk on his own. “They are truly wonderful kids. (Their) kisses and hugs make my job so worth it,” she says. I totally agree, Amy!
Hot Mama in Progress in Chicago
Now, you know that I couldn’t conclude this interview without asking about fitness: Mind, Body & Soul. I asked Amy how does fitness fall into her daily life as a stay-at-home mommy and what does she do to be healthy in every facet.
This Hot Mama in Progress is going to the gym with her girlfriend when schedules allow and is eagerly waiting for Chicago to warm up a bit so that Dennis can set up her kickboxing bag in their basement. Her goal is to be bikini-body-ready this summer by losing 50-60lbs. Amy has lost six pounds already and fully understands that being healthy is not necessarily about being thin but rather in making healthier choices for her and her family. She is committed that in 2011 she will lead by example for her children and set the healthy standard. Way to go, Amy!
Being a mommy of 3 and wife, she doesn’t have much time for herself but just recently she was able to have a Girl’s Night Out for the first time in almost seven years. “It felt great” she says. But she discloses, “I felt refreshed (yet) I also remember that no matter how stressed I am or how complicated our life becomes, we are still… fortunate…” Amy knows that she’s a lucky gal who gets to kiss her husband and kids each night while other women may not be as lucky.
This Strong Soul Has A Big Heart
With all the work that goes into being a stay-at-home mommy and military wife, you would think that Amy doesn’t have room for anything else… WRONG! Amy is a big time supporter of “Soldiers’ Angels.” She advocates for this organization and actively does her part to help. Through Soldiers’ Angels one can “adopt a Soldier/Sailor” that has been deployed. Through this organization, people forge friendships with active military men and women by corresponding with them and sending well-needed care packages. “You would be surprised at how many of the men and women get absolutely nothing while they are deployed,” Amy reports. “They make so many sacrifices for us and our freedom, I feel like it is important for us to remember them and support them.” She continues, “No matter how you feel about the war, you still should always support our troops!” Soldiers’ Angels also provides clothes and other necessities to wounded warriors. This is one group that Amy holds dear but it doesn’t stop there.
“Hike for Our Heroes” is another cause that she advocates. “Their goal is to create awareness about our American Heroes fighting on the home front- just as they do overseas. They hope to provide a peace of mind and lay the foundation for military families in need to succeed. Troy will literally put one foot in front of the other, crossing the great States of America to reach people and help spread the importance of helping our military families.” From what Amy tells me, Troy carries a custom made Louisville Slugger bat that he asks elected officials to sign in hopes to establish a “National Day for Deployed Soldiers.”
In sharing her story with me, Amy admits that her father is affected by Diabetes and as such she and her whole family participate in their local walk event to help fundraise for the American Diabetes Association. Supporting this organization and participating in their local walk event has become a “family tradition” in the Smith home.
Putting ME first in 2011
Recently, Amy was excited to find out that there is a Pharmacy School a few minutes in distance from her home. She is applying for admission and is hopeful to begin her studies this upcoming fall term. Attending Pharmacy School has been a goal of Amy’s since she was six years old and she feels that she is finally at a point in her life where this dream is in her reach. “I always put myself last, but for once I am going to put myself first. I (am) ready to have a renewed self and in 2011 I am looking to achieve that.”
I asked Amy to share some wisdom with us fellow Hot Mama’s In Progress and she gladly contributed:
“Everyone has bad days. There are days that are extremely hard, but in the end the hugs and kisses make it so worth it. Always treasure ALL the moments, the good and the bad, because they make life what it is. I am blessed that I have been able to stay home with the kids even though it has been a struggle financially sometimes. Life isn’t about money – I appreciate that I have been the one that gets to experience all those FIRST moments with my kids. I love being able to spend all this time with them because, honestly, it goes by way too fast… my heart aches that my oldest daughter will be starting kindergarten. Remember to take time for yourself and always, always, always appreciate what you have. I am blessed to be married to the love of my life and even though we have a great, solid relationship, it still needs that love and care to help it grow. -Be thankful that you get to kiss your kids and watch them grow, because everyday we send men and women off to war that NEVER return. You never know what life has in store, so always enjoy the moments, even the crazy ones (They at least make for funny stories later!!) One other thing, give 1000 kisses a day, snuggle often and remember there is nothing better than UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!!”
In the progression of the questions I asked and the answers I received from Amy, I noted a positive change in her priorities and self-projection. Where she once felt like she did not know how to fit in her personal goals into her life as a mommy and wife, she now embraces that she needs to put herself on that list of priorities. Amy is aware and newly committed to making a positive change in her daily life.
Amy is a lot like the women that surround you- family, friend or co-worker. The life she leads as a military wife and mother of three isn’t the easiest at times but it’s her positive attitude that makes her an inspiration to me. I hope that her story has made you think about where you find yourself today and choose to make healthier choices in your daily life to lead a happier life as she has. Thank you, Amy for being the first HMIP to share your story with us. You rock!
Friends, remember that I have started the Hot Mama In Progress Facebook page with the intentions to utilize it as a vessel for fellow HMIP to share ideas, suggestions, motivation and inspiration in living happily. Please take the time today to “like” our page and check in with us often by making positive posts on the wall.
To learn more about any one of the philanthropic organizations mentioned, please visit their respective websites below: