Jennifer Stringham wears many hats in her busy life—mom, administrative assistant at a local university, Air Force spouse and grad student. Since coming to Oklahoma in 2007, Jennifer has earned one degree, is nearly finished with a Masters degree and is raising her children Katherine (age 15), Emma-Rose (age 12) and Sam (age 8). Here’s a look into what makes this 39-year old tick.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I wish I could spend every Saturday morning going to garage sales with my mom and sister.
What are you passionate about?
My family, my education and politics…in that order.
How has motherhood changed you?
I never understood how all-encompassing motherhood would be. It’s simply amazing that one tiny human being placed in my arms gave me a feeling of connection to all the mothers in my family before me. Motherhood colored the way I looked at everything; I became more fair and just, more accepting and less critical, more passionate and protective.
How do you banish stress?
Well, it isn’t particularly exciting, but I watch mindless television surrounded by my family. Don’t let that comment fool you; it’s the cuddling and the conversation that happens during that time that I crave the most.
What (or who) inspires you?
As I’ve grown older, I have come to have a greater understanding of my grandmothers. They lived completely different lives, and yet it is in studying their lives that I’ve come to realize that the strength I have comes from them. I learned that there are many more ties that connect us than divide us.
Along with your job as a mom, what do you do?
I am the Administrative Assistant in the Political Science department at the University of Central Oklahoma. In addition to that paying gig, I also am a graduate student pursuing a Masters in Public Administration at UCO.
What do you like most about your job?
I love the people I work with and the students we serve. The academic environment at UCO is exciting and rewarding, especially since I get to watch students catch the vision of their educations and get excited about learning.
What is on your wish list?
I want to be able to sit in the porch swing at the end of a long life together with my husband and watch our grandchildren playing in the back yard.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the two college degrees I have earned since relocating to Oklahoma in 2007. I have earned a BA in Political Science and will receive my MA in Public Administration in December. I am proud of the fact that I have accomplished this while being a full-time mother and an Air Force spouse.
What motivates you?
I am motivated the most by the thought of failure. I set my sights high but don’t want anyone to see me fail!
How do you find balance in your life?
I achieve balance in my life by taking an appropriate amount of time for all the little parts of my life. I make sure I take time out every day for just me. I spend time with my children and I make sure that John and I have a regular date night. I attend church every week and I visit with friends. Each of these things helps me to remind who I am and what I am trying to accomplish.
Advice for other moms?
My mom told me once to treat each moment with each child as if it was the first, last and only time you would get. That advice has helped me to cherish my role as a mother.
What brought you to Oklahoma?
I’m originally from Austin, Texas. We came to Oklahoma City in 2007 when the Air Force decided that this is where we should be. Home is where the Air Force sends you!
What’s the biggest challenge in your life?
How to incorporate more exercise in my life—right now there isn’t any and there never seems to be time for it.
How do you help others?
I try to do for others what feels right at the time. I often look for inspiration from the Spirit to see opportunities to serve. Most often it is within the confines of my neighborhood or circle of friends; but you can find me offering my help when it is needed.
What is your parenting style?
I try to let my children make their own choices and understand the consequences to those choices. Most of the time the consequences of the world are far more painful than any I could impose. I have worked hard to be the kind of mom that my children want to share things with. So far it seems to be working for us.
Favorite quote or advice about motherhood?
Never wake a sleeping baby and enjoy every moment!
Quick Facts About Jennifer:
- What are 5 words that describe you? Determined, passionate, loyal, intelligent, and creative.
- What’s on your playlist? Dixie Chicks, Pink, Joe Ely, lots of old country and 80’s music!
- Coffee or tea? Neither…I’m a Diet Coke kind of girl!
- What’s always in your handbag? Lip balm, a nail file and $10 “mad money” for emergencies.
- What’s your guilty pleasure? Pedicures.
Brooke Barnett is the Assistant Editor of MetroFamily Magazine.