Name: Jessica Johnson
Children: Cooper, 8; Owen, 6; Lily, 2
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Occupation: Stay-at-home mom
Go-to dinner: White chili or anything else she can throw in the Crock-Pot
Biggest pet peeve: Not being able to find socks
Hobbies: Baking cakes, doing crafts and reading
Volunteer work: Johnson has been on the board for the MOMS Club of Bluffton and Hilton Head for the past five years. One of the goals of the club is to give back to the community. And one of the club's ongoing projects is helping Family Promise of Beaufort County, which provides temporary shelter and other help for homeless families in the area. Johnson is the liaison between the two groups. On top of that, Johnson coaches baseball for her children and is a family readiness assistant at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. She also feeds the Marines once a month with a group of volunteers.
Favorite mommy moment: "I'm all about the small things," Johnson said. "Watching them accomplish things ... watching them learn to ride their bikes for the first time or the little Hallmark moments, I guess. (Lily) learning to dress herself for the first time ... as they get more independent, realizing, 'Oh, my God. They're growing up. They're doing this by themselves. They don't need me.' Those are the things that I just cherish."
Most challenging moment: "My hardest time is usually after school," Johnson said. As the wife of a major in the Marine Corps who has been deployed most of their marriage and is now stationed in Omaha, Neb., she is mostly on her own in caring for the children. "Trying to get two kids to do homework. That's (Lily's) bewitching hour, when she's not happy, trying to get dinner on the table, and it's just me."
Stress reliever: "Any time I get to spend with my friends," she said. "They've been my biggest supporters and my biggest stress relievers -- whether it's meeting up at the park with them with the kids to play or getting out for coffee or a girls' night out with a glass of wine. That's what helps me to get through the day-to-day struggles."
Advice for other moms: "Don't ever be afraid to ask for help," Johnson said. "We're all going through the same thing. ... Also, don't be afraid to reach out to someone else that you think might be struggling, that might just need someone to talk to. I just kind of always tried to be that person. If I see someone out, maybe they have a newborn, and I just strike up a conversation. And that's sometimes how I introduce MOMS Club ... They're at home, alone with a baby and don't know anyone. Just to reach out to someone else who could use a helping hand or a friend."
Follow Amy Coyne Bredeson at https://www.twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.