Published May 12, 2013
Heather Seeger is a staff sergeant in the Air Force, but when it comes to raising six children while her husband is deployed, she is commander-in-chief.
Seeger, a noncommissioned office who for 14 years has served in the Air Force, is in charge of production analysis for the 1st Maintenance Operations Squadron. When the 32-year-old is not at work overseeing maintenance of the military's F-22 stealth fighter jets, she's caring for her six children -- ages 3 to 12 -- while her husband is deployed in Japan.
The job is no easy task, says Seeger, but her skills learned in the military likely help in the home.
"It requires a lot of patience, organization and scheduling," she told FoxNews.com.
"We have our routine. As soon as we walk in the door [after school], it's homework, dinner, bath and then bed. And everyone is in bed by 8:30 on the dot."
Except for Seeger, who said she goes to sleep long after her children -- once she's had the chance to catch up on laundry and house cleaning.
Seeger credits the example set by her mother as well as support from the military in raising her six children: 12-year-old Gregory, 10-year-old Haely, 9-year-old Angel, 7-year-old Kevin, 5-year-old Nick and 3-year-old Jake.
Seeger's mom, who at one point was separated from her husband, was responsible for raising Seeger and her sister solo for many years.
"We were not the richest people around," she said. "We didn’t get everything we wanted, but we had everything we needed."
Seeger recalled a specific memory from her childhood that made a mark on her -- and one she didn't fully appreciate until having children of her own.
"It was 2 a.m., I was in middle school and I woke up one night and saw lights on in the house," Seeger said.
"My mom was sitting at the table studying," Seeger said, for a better job that would provide more for her girls.
"That just made me respect her so much more knowing that she was doing what she had to do to take care of me and my sister at the time," she said.
As for support from her employer, Seeger said "the military is really like a family."
"If I need to get off early or if I have to take the kids to appointments, they are great about letting me do that ...I think the support makes a big difference," she said.
Even from Japan, Seeger's husband, Tech Sgt. Doug Seeger, assigned to the 1st MOS maintenance operations center, has a role. The Seeger children have "face time" with him on their mother's ipad every morning before they head to school.
Seeger said she's already begun to receive Mother's Day gifts from her children, mostly art projects the youngsters made in school this week.
As for any formal plans this Sunday, Seeger said, laughing, "I have a feeling I'm going to wake up to soggy toast and warm milk."