Being a single parent is stressful. Being a single parent who is also a drill sergeant at Fort Jackson is twice as stressful.
But SSG Ayan Mobley knew how to make it work. She says her 7-year-old son Nathan inspired her to write a children’s book about her experience called My Mommy is a Drill Sergeant.
“As a single parent and a drill sergeant our kids are really affected by our day-to-day activities,” Mobley said. “So, inadvertently, with me being on the trail, my son is on the trail, too.”
It wasn’t until a kindergarten field trip to basic training that Mobley’s son saw what she did for work every day. Then he started going to work with her on down days and “working out” with the soldiers.
“Based on what I packed the night before or packed in the morning to go to work, or how I was dressed, he would know what activities or what training events we had during the day and he wanted to write this stuff down,” she said.
Then he started following the basic combat training himself at home–and holding Mobley to it. He would time them both in the shower.
“He actually had a stopwatch and would sit in front of the bathroom and he would time me and then have the stopwatch in the bathroom and time himself,” she said.
When asked about the difficulty of being a single parent while meeting the demands of a basic combat training cycle, Mobley replied she had “a village” to help her.
“This post has the only 24-hour child development center that’s geared towards people that are in position,” she said. “So you’re always going to have people around you that’s going to be willing to help you but you have to let somebody know that you need the help.”
Mobley said the communication with her chain of command also helped.
“In my case, they were there to help me,” she said. “Child Youth Services was instrumental in me being successful because they know the job. A lot of the CYS employees have husbands or relatives that are in the military or that are drill sergeants so they understand that we spend a lot of time away from our kids. So they are kind of like the extra parents.”
Mobley said her publisher told her this was the first book of this subject matter.
“You have ups and downs,” she said. “Your family is affected by it. But it’s rewarding at the same time and your kids appreciate you more because they know the job that you do every day so they know that you’re stressed out at home.”
Mobley has been in the Army for more than 13 years as a human resource professional and served in various duty assignments worldwide. She earned a Bachelors of Arts in Social Science with a Minor in International Studies from Radford University in Virginia and a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Services from Upper Iowa University. She also obtained her teacher’s licensure in Secondary Education and taught prior to enlisting in the Army in 2006.