FORT STEWART, GA, UNITED STATES
FORT STEWART, Ga. – A typical workday for 1st Lt. Kate A. Wood begins before 5 a.m.
Wood, who serves as the brigade medical planner for 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, said she gets out of bed and gets ready for the day before waking up Tiego, her 8-month-old son. Once he’s up and his things are packed, Wood said she drops Tiego off at day care and then makes the mad dash from Richmond Hill, Ga., to Fort Stewart, Ga., to be at the 6:30 a.m. accountability formation.
As the workday comes to an end—which isn’t always 5 p.m.—Wood said she and her husband, Capt. Gabriel Wood, with 4-3 Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th IBCT, compare schedules to decide who is going to pick Tiego up from day care and take him home for the evening.
“Family comes first,” Wood said. “If both of us have something going on one of us has to decide [to leave work]. It’s definitely challenging [having] to juggle both of our careers as well as having a child—but it is very rewarding and we enjoy it.”
Wood took time out of her busy schedule of advising the brigade surgeon on medical operational assets and planning training for the brigade’s medics, to share her feelings about being a military mother.
Tiego, with a head full of jet black hair and a penchant for smiling and biting his tiny fist, played with a stuffed fish while his mother talked.
“I do feel sense of pride being a military mom [and] of being able to juggle both things,” Wood said. “But, I know that other people have a lot of challenges as well [who] are not in the military [but are] parents. I’m just happy the military is very supportive … of military families—I’m thankful for that.”
Wood said the most difficult part about being a military mother is the daily schedule wrangling act, and the times when she and her husband are scheduled to be in the field at the same time. Wood said she and her husband couldn’t make it work without the support of family members and dedicated friends who step in when the Army calls.
Wood emphasized that the rewards of being a mother trump the challenges of being one half of a dual-military couple.
“It’s another way to connect with people,” Wood said. “You have Soldiers that you work with … [and] you talk about the trials and tribulations of being a parent. It definitely brings you closer.”
Wood said she is also excited for Tiego and how he will one day be able to interact with children of other military parents and make that connection that comes with being raised with similar backgrounds.
“I think that’s going to be really special … as he grows up,” Wood said.
||FORT STEWART, GA, US
This work, ‘Vanguard’ medical planner proud to be an Army mom, by SSG Mary Katzenberger, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.