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Being a mother, means being everything. There are no days off and no true vacations, because even when you’re not actively mothering (i.e. your child is not within your presence), a mother is always mentally and emotionally mothering — worrying, planning, scheduling, coordinating.
But nine years into the job as the mother of a son, a job I consider my highest honor, I have come to realize that the duties, tasks, responsibilities, and requirements for being a mother are not that far removed from the duties, tasks, responsibilities, and requirements of being a United States Secret Service Agent.
Think about it — our primary objective is to keep our children safe. We need to maintain a certain level of physical stamina. We constantly scan the crowd and surrounding environment, scoping out potential danger.
To support my theory, I began reading information found on the official website for the United States Secret Service. “Careers with the Secret Service are challenging and demanding, yet exciting and rewarding all at the same time – all in a day’s work.”
Those words may have been intended to describe a career within the Secret Service, yet I think they are just as relevant to describing a mother’s typical day.
The website provided me with specific examples of just how alike these two roles are:
— Agents “perform a variety of assignments – both protective and investigative.” Mothers do, too. Our first responsibility is to keep our children safe and out of harm’s way. But there are plenty of times when we need to investigate, to get out the “whole truth” about how a certain vase was broken, or why a child was denied play time at school, or how the full jar of cookies mysteriously got emptier.
— “Secret Service now relies on computers to help … agents still go out and ask questions.” Mothers may ask questions of Siri, we may Google answers to homework problems, and rely on our smart phones to help us get from one place to another, but nothing quite compares to face-to-face interaction. We know our kids better than anyone; we can get the information and the answers no one else can get. We also know if we’re getting the whole story, or if the words being spoken to us are simply skimming the surface of a deeper issue.
— “A key mission of the Secret Service is protection … to make sure … the people they protect are safe at all times, including in situations that may be dangerous or even life-threatening.” We’re not just mothers; we are ferocious, strong, don’t-mess-with-us mothers. Mothers who will do whatever is necessary to make sure, to the best of our ability, that our children are unharmed.
— “Secret Service agents use skills from many different subject areas … including: science, computer science, law and government, arithmetic, reading comprehension, writing, foreign languages and public speaking.” Sometimes it’s not until our children ask us for help with homework that we fully realize how versatile and educated we must be. (Was our own fifth grade math homework this difficult?) But it can also be when we’re called to mediate a play date disagreement, settle a sibling dispute, or participate in a parent/teacher conference that our skills and expertise are put to use.
— The Secret Service is authorized “to protect a former president and his/her spouse during their lifetime, unless they decline protection.” Being a mother doesn’t end when our children turn eighteen. They may legally be adults, but they are, and always will be, our children. Which means a lifetime of our protection.