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Above left: A Soldier assigned to 10th Combat Aviation Brigade asks a question during the Women Warriors of the Mountain panel Nov. 29, 2023, at Fort Drum, New York. After the introduction, the floor was opened for questions and allowed Soldiers to share their experiences. Above right: Col. Fenicia Jackson, 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade commander, presents 1st. Sgt. Elrolica Chopito with a plaque for participating on the panel. Chopito was selected due to her unique situation as a senior leader, mother to a Soldier, and grandmother. (U.S. Army Photos by Sgt. Alexander Kelsall, 10th MDSB Public Affairs Office)

Panel finds parenting may be toughest job facing Soldiers who balance work, family

Sgt. Alexander Kelsall

10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Office

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Nov. 29, 2023) – As Soldiers in the Army change, the doctrine that Soldiers follow does as well. The 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade hosted a panel Nov. 29 in which division senior leaders discussed how Army policies have changed during their time and how it has helped them as parents and leaders.

A challenge that parents often face is balancing work and family. The Army has implemented Army Directive 2022-06 and Directive-type Memorandum 23-001, which focus on parenthood, pregnancy, and postpartum, to make these challenges easier.

One focus area of the new directive was ensuring pregnant and postpartum Soldiers get proper physical training.

The Pregnancy/Postpartum Physical Training program (P3T) is designed to give enrollees an opportunity to receive physical training that has been tailored to them. While in P3T, the Soldiers have a more personalized training regimen as outlined in Army Training Policy 7-22.01 Holistic Health and Fitness Training.

During the panel discussion, 1st Sgt. Elrolica Chopito, senior enlisted adviser for C Company, 548th Division Sustainment Support Battalion, shared her experience with having a daughter in the military.

“You just never know what's going to happen,” said Chopito, who is also a grandmother. “There have been times where I have to be home in 15 minutes to watch the grandkids and sergeant major calls you into his office to talk to you.”

Highlighting the issue that plagues many Army parents is adjusting to schedule conflicts.

“New parents have to adjust to their child’s routine as well as the Army routine,” Chopito said. “As a leader, you want your Soldiers to be there for their children’s major milestones, but at the same time, the mission needs to be accomplished.”

During the panel discussion, Lt. Col. Jessica Reis, 10th Mountain Division (LI) deputy staff judge advocate, focused on Soldiers spending time with their families.

“As a parent in the Army, one of the toughest things to do is balance your personal goals and professional goals,” said Reis, a mother of two. “I’ve seen junior officers that have amazing goals, and as their leader, I have to remind them that their priorities will change. Oftentimes I think that because of how successful they are, they’ll feel unsuccessful if they slow down.”