My one-sentence bio appears every time I publish an article, but it doesn't do me justice. Here's the not-so-short version of who I am and how I got here.
As an infant, my parents called me the cross-eyed wonder. I’ve known this since childhood and it made me believe they loved even my imperfections. Of course, crossed eyes don’t last forever. When I didn’t cut a single tooth by my first birthday, they renamed me the toothless wonder.
My first word was cookie. I was (and am) a lover baked goods, and I’m an award-winning baker. In 4th grade, I won a school cake-decorating contest. A few years back, my 6-layer chocolate hazelnut cake brought $110 in the Little League dessert auction. In my Leading opinion, any occasion is a reason for baking.
Here's Little Man's 3-year-old birthday cake:
I hope I can live up to his expectations THIS year. He wants a plane-crash cake with tanks, Japanese zeros, and people shooting. Guess I should cut off his access to the movie Pearl Harbor until he can correctly articulate Pearl Harbor. Right now he calls it Plural Harbor.
I earned my B.A. and M.A. in Psychology at Fresno State where I was an undergraduate workaholic, completing my B.A. in only 3 years. The only “B” I earned was in Women’s Studies, and I slept through a lot of it. When I went to the University of Illinois to get my doctorate in 1992, I became the deserter.
My family (well, my mother at least) thought I’d earn my degree and come home. What they (and I) hadn’t realized is advanced education makes you a specialist in a niche so tiny only a handful of people understand your work and want to hire you. I’m a personality psychologist. That means I study traits and beliefs that make each person unique (and interesting).
Dr. Smith – yep, that’s me – taught college from 1997 to 2007 at several schools from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY to Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. I met my husband in the midst of the US Air Force Academy’s sexual assault scandal. At the time, I was the Deputy Department Head in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership.
I became Dr. Mrs. Luedtke when we married. Actually, mostly people forget I am Dr. Luedtke and I am just Mrs. Luedtke, now. Military life has a way of stripping spouses of their identities and reassigning them to the rank of "wife." It's kind of surreal.
Leading Man has deployed four times in six years. While he was busy in the war zone, I had two kids. My son was born in March, 2007 and so was I.
Becoming a mom is intense, sweet and exhausting. Each time I think I have mothering figured out, a new challenge rises up to meet me. I know you know what I mean. My daughter was born in April 2010. She is the sweetest little peanut. Right now her hair sticks straight up.
These days, I work mostly as a mom. I'm also a freelance writer. I write about personality, well-being, and people skills topics. My work has been published in more than 50 regional and national magazines and online. I write regularly for Military Spouse Magazine and several regional parenting publications.
I blog about parenting and leadership. I look for opportunities to learn new things and share them with others. I am, and always will be, a teacher at heart.
Somehow these things never make it into my one-sentence bio.