Darwin Health Centre Manager Squadron Leader Amanda Gloury will spend Mother's Day this year in the Top End wilderness with her husband and children.

The gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the Northern Territory means Squadron Leader Gloury and her husband, Darren, and three children Lincoln, 10, Isabelle, 8, and Gabriella, 6, will be allowed to go camping just in time for the dry season.

Having grown up in Rockhampton and Bundaberg, Squadron Leader Gloury joined the Air Force as a nursing officer in 2002 to help people in need and travel the globe.

“I liked the idea of being able to assist with humanitarian missions and the opportunity it provides to see not only Australia but also the world,” Squadron Leader Gloury said.

In 2016, she deployed to the Middle East for six-and-a-half months leaving her husband to care for the kids.

“I would not have gone if it wasn’t for the support from my wonderful husband,” Squadron Leader Gloury said.

“We’ve never had family close by and so we decided to have an au pair live with us – it was the best decision we ever made because I knew Darren would always have help.

“It was hard being away from the kids, seeing them upset because they wanted me to be home, but thankfully we had video chats which kept us all connected, and they enjoyed getting the packages I sent.”

Squadron Leader Gloury feels blessed to be able to raise a family and have a successful career in the Air Force.

She attributes much of this to the flexibility provided by her chain of command and the continuing support of her husband and extended family.

“Having the flexibility to be able to work part-time was a huge help as it allowed me to have a good work-life balance and be there for the kids when they needed me most,” she said.

“While working part-time hasn’t been possible for every role, the flexibility has always been there when I needed it, such as starting later in the mornings for day-care and school drop-offs. During exercise periods we work longer hours and weekends, but with the support of my husband and Defence family here in Darwin I’m able to achieve the higher tempo.”

One of the keys to success as a Defence mother was establishing a good network of like-minded mums who understood the challenges of modern parenthood.

“My mother’s group was the best support network because we were all going through the same things,” Squadron Leader Gloury said.

“Also, make sure you tap into the base playgroups and neighbourhood houses – you’ll make some great friends who understand life as a mum in the Defence Force.”