Mary Reding is a mother of two little girls, wife, attorney, community volunteer, and advocate for military spouses. A graduate of Santa Clara University and the University of San Diego law school, she worked as in-house counsel for the world famous Pebble Beach Resorts until meeting her active duty husband and moving overseas. While living overseas, Mary worked as a management consultant for a Fortune Global 100 company. She and her family returned to the United States where her husband is now an F-16 instructor pilot with the 162nd Fighter Wing, Arizona Air Guard.
Mary is proud to be a founding member of the Military Spouse JD Network, a bar association for military spouses with law degrees. She is a passionate advocate for military families, and the MSJDN has been recognized and supported by The White House, the Departments of Treasury and Defense, the Military Officers Association of America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Military Family Association. Mary was a finalist for 2012 Military Spouse of the Year.
What was the first thing that made you smile today? Seeing the excitement in my children’s eyes when I told them their grandparents where arriving today for a visit. They were so excited to pick them up from the airport. Made me wish that we lived closer to our families.
Who is a mama that inspires you? (Living or dead, real or fictional) Mom in Little Women.
As a military spouse, to me there is no one more inspirational than ‘gold star’ spouses: those who have lost their spouse while serving our country. The military widows who have children and wake up everyday knowing that their family has paid the ultimate price for our freedom… they inspire me.
What is the one extravagance you view as a necessity? A pedicure is a necessity in this dry desert heat and year round sandal weather.
What is the one household task you try to avoid at all costs? I cannot stand to do laundry. It all started when we were stationed in England and had a British washing machine. A British sized washer would only hold a pair of jeans, maybe two. Laundry took forever!
How do you shortcut dealing with this unavoidable task? Ask my wonderful husband to do it.
Which talent would you most like to have? I would like to be able to carry a tune. ‘Mom’s night out’ to Karaoke would be so much more fun!
What is your favorite thing to do with three hours to yourself? I wish I had a fabulous hobby to share with all of you. But the reality is I love going to the grocery store alone and would do that if I had a few hours to myself.
What day-to-day achievement gives you renewed energy and enthusiasm? We make an effort to have dinner together every evening. We have a family tradition of talking about the best and the worst part of our day. It leads to great discussions and a renewed energy for our family!
What is your favorite occupation? Attorney. I love to advocate for a cause that will make a difference in people’s lives.
What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty and a sense of humor.
Who are your favorite writers? John Steinbeck is one of my favorite writers. He was able to capture the details of everyday life and ordinary people.
If you were the lead singer in your own cover band, what song would you sing? If I was the lead singer and I could sing like Aretha, I would sing “Respect”… best cover song ever.
What family tradition do you look forward to most? My husband’s family has an Art Auction every summer to support local organizations and families that are facing cancer treatment. It is a wonderful family tradition of giving back to a community that has supported them. For my children it is an amazing day where grandma and grandpa’s farm is transformed into a country fair with over 500 guests.
What is your most favorite holiday? My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving when our family gets together to give thanks and to celebrate another year.
What is one thing you say to your kids that your mama never said? In our mobile life, I am always explaining to our kids about how friends move away or we are moving on to a new adventure in a new town. I try to frequently talk about where have we lived and our friends we had at that location. My parents still live in the house I grew up in and we never moved. I talk about many things with my children that were not part of my childhood.
What was the funniest thing your kid did or said yesterday? My kids make me laugh all the time. Yesterday my two year old put her self in timeout for no apparent reason. My four year old exclaimed, “Again sissy? Again? Mama, she put herself in timeout again! What are we going to do with her!”
Who can you count on most when you need help? My military spouse friends: the ones who understand the uncertainty of military life. They know I have not lost my mind when one day I am searching for schools and homes in a country half-way around the world… and the next day I am meeting with a real estate agent in our current town because plans have changed. I can always count on them to offer guidance, support, laughter, and a reminder that I am not alone.
Where in the world would you most like to spend a week with your family? On the beach in Hawaii.
What is your motto? I don’t have a motto, but I try to remind myself to cherish the moments when my children are small, even after a long day. They are already going by too fast.
Who would star in the movie of your life? Reese Witherspoon.
What do you love most about being a mom? I love it when we read together at night. I love to see the excitement and love for knowledge in their eyes. I love when my kids are happy and content.
What do you and your partner do to reconnect? We have a date night at least once a month. We also have daytime dates where get a babysitter for a few hours during a Saturday or Sunday to go for a hike in our beautiful mountains. It is a great way to reconnect and do something different.
What is the single most brilliant invention (gadget, product) that makes your life as a mama easier? The Ergo Baby Carrier. While a baby carrier is not a new invention, the Ergo design is wonderful for our mobile lifestyle. I can carry one of my daughters, a backpack, and put all of our travel documents in the front pocket. Before the Ergo, no matter how hard I try to stay organized, traveling alone with children can quickly become chaos! I carried my oldest daughter across the Atlantic fifteen times in the Ergo.
What is the one strategy that keeps your family moving right along on a day-to-day basis? Our strategy is to do the best we can and be kind to each other.