Be proud of what you do

DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. -- March is Women's History Month...a time when have the opportunity to look back at all the accomplishments, strides forward and remarkable women in history. In honor of that I would like to address my fellow women who serve with me.

I have served for almost 28 years and am coming up on the final chapters of my career. I have seen so many changes over the years I have served. I have watched women like me begin their careers in a man's world struggling to make a mark and clear the way for others behind us. When I first came into the military I served in the United States Marine Corps and women were among the fewest of "the few and the proud". In the earliest time in my career I realized just how few women made the choice I had and how even fewer chose to make it life long goal.

It was that realization that made me want to stick around, make my mark and take care of the women who would serve with me as years went on. Thankfully, I feel like I have done that. While I have never in any regards made history or won some illustrious award, I do see the things I have been able to support. It may have been something simple like being a mentor, being an example or simply standing shoulder to shoulder with my counterparts both male and female.

I have learned over my career that we, as women especially, tend to be very hard on ourselves and expect perfection in all we do. We many times end our day wishing we had done so much differently and beating ourselves up for not making it perfect. But as I look back I realize that it's ok to not be perfect and to realize that we cannot be 100 percent in three different places in our life all at the same time.

I look around at some of my civilian counterparts and know they have no idea what simple days in our military lives are like unless they too have served. They cannot begin to understand that we sacrifice one weekend and many other days a month away from our families to serve our country and still we love our families and care for them without missing a beat.

I laugh at some of the old military ads that say we are "up in the morning with the rising sun" or "that we do more before 6 a.m. than most do all day" and secretly I wonder if the ad was written with a woman in mind because our average days would boggle the minds and schedules of the any person.

So I ask all of my sisters-in-arms to take pride in what you do; not only your military duty but your amazing ability to meet the demands of your civilian job, your homes, the errands and our families. I ask you to allow yourself to say "you did a great job today" and go to bed with a sense of accomplishment and acceptance that you are and have done the best you can do.