Motherhood and the army

Story by Caitlin Jones

The ideas that women are weak and over dramatic are a conspiracy theory, women today often do what men do and more. But what happens when a woman has a family to raise, is a full time student and is in the army? Mackenzie Conn lives in North Carolina with her husband, Tyler and 2-year-old son Connor. She was stationed there almost three years ago and hasn’t complained about it yet.

Despite Conn’s father being in the army since before she was born she never thought of joining herself, until she started dating Tyler Price. He was already signed up for the Military and hyped about getting into all of the training. This gave Mackenzie the idea and soon after she enlisted for the army. When I heard what she had to say I asked her why she wanted to join. She told me “I will feel better knowing that I have helped my country defend themselves.” I never thought about going into the army and I am glad that I never joined but for her to feel better about herself I am glad that she found something she is proud of.

After returning from her Basic training Mackenzie had some really big news for me. She was pregnant. She was 19 at the time and I was a little concerned Tyler and her got married in Salt Lake City, Utah during the month of June and that coming December Connor was born at Womack Army Medical Center. But soon after Tyler was shipped overseas for training and left Mackenzie to take care of Conner on her own.

“Its hard knowing that my husband is overseas while I have to take care of Connor along with doing the medical things that I am doing.” She said with a stressed look on her face. She had just started taking classes at the local community college and that put a lot more stress on her than was necessary.

Two years ago I flew out to see how things were going for her and Connor. Tyler had just left again for more training and she needed some help. Back then Connor was a little over a year old and seemed happy doing almost everything but sleeping.. Now Connor is almost 3 and looks more like Mackenzie than I ever though was possible. When talking through Skype with Mackenzie, Connor looked at the screen and I heard him say “is that Aunt Caity?”

Mackenzie is now 22 and still working hard to keep their lives happy. She owns a house and has made a successful family for herself. Connor is going to preschool and sadly enough is growing into video games because of his dad. Tyler has been back more often but is currently overseas doing another mission. I ask Mackenzie what it is like now with Tyler gone compared to when he first left?

“it’s a lot easier now knowing that he is going to come home and not worrying if I am going to get a call. But Conner understands some things about where his dad goes and helps me out a lot when he is gone. Although Conner’s video game skills are getting scary good, he is better than me now.” She said with an amused smile. “I just enjoy knowing that here is always a part of Tyler in the house no matter what.”

Mackenzie is also doing full time schooling that the army is paying for due to her services. She is happy with her bio and anatomy classes and fascinated about the human body. She says that going to school, working for the army and taking care of a 2-year-old is a lot to juggle but she “wouldn’t have it any other way.”