Putting your best foot forward applies to both careers and parenting

The perseverance and hard work that have provided Trazy Holzum a path through a variety of careers and stages in life, have also helped her in raising her children. She needed willpower and resolve to help positively impact troubled youth in her early career, and these character traits were later transformed into her parenting style.

After completing a degree in criminal justice, Holzum, of Columbia, Missouri, took a position as a juvenile officer at a detention facility. She moved on to become a youth specialist at a boys’ group home. The group home housed 12 boys who were on the brink of being sent to prison.

“Working here made me realize there’s a lot of great kids, but not very many opportunities for them,” Holzum said.

As a youth specialist, Holzum assisted with group counseling sessions and exercises to help release aggression in the young men. The group counseling appeared to make an impact on the boys at that moment, but any impact beyond that is questionable, she said. The work required her to exhibit a tough demeanor at times.

“My personality would change,” Holzum said. “I would bark orders at people. It’s just who you had to be. In your shift you were in it mentally because you had to be. I had no idea what I was in for but that’s ok, you never know. I’m not scared of that.”

Holzum has found that working jobs in various, even somewhat unrelated, fields can lead to a fulfilling work life and valuable experiences. One of the main lessons she has learned is that any job is worth your best effort. She applies this idea to not only her work life, but also parenting.

In fact, at one point, Holzum decided to make raising her two children her career.

“I sacrificed my job for my kids,” she said. “It’s hard to work long shifts, especially at night, and still take care of your kids.”

After eight years of working as a stay-at-home mom, Holzum decided to get back into the career field, this time as a preschool teacher.

“It’s really hard to get back into the working field after staying home and raising kids for so long, but once they were old enough to be in school, I needed something to do with my time,” Holzum said.

Her priority was still the children, though.

“She plans her life around our kids,” said her husband, Dave Holzum. “It’s amazing.”

Holzum’s current job as a team assistant at Home Instead Care involves spending time with and assisting elderly members of the community. It’s a great fit for her because it has flexible hours that still allow her to take care of her family while also giving back to the community.

“I like working with people,” Holzum said. “I draw a connection between the elderly I work with now and the youth I used to work with in my previous jobs. I think I’m pretty good at it.”

This idea of putting in the best possible effort into every job you do is one that Holzum has shown throughout her various careers and one her children are striving to follow.

Cameron, 16, is a junior at Hickman High School in Columbia, Missouri, and a member of the swim team. Cameron has ranked for college swimming statistics.

“You have to do it,” Cameron said. “You just have to do things the right way. If it takes me six years, it takes me six years. I got at least part of my personality from my mom – there’s no way around it.”

Holzum’s son, Kyle, age 14, is also a competitive swimmer and excellent student with a high GPA average.

Holzum says when it comes to parenting, you have to take the whole picture in. If you have a goal you want to reach, then you can’t just cop out and stop going. Cameron recently had surgery, and she is already walking around school and wants to start swimming again as soon as possible.

“You can’t do things the easy way, and I don’t allow my kids to,” Holzum said.

The multitude of experiences Holzum has accumulated, and the amount of wisdom that comes from applying yourself in whatever career field you choose, is shown through Holzum’s life, and in her children’s lives as well.

Olivia DeSmit

About the Author Olivia DeSmit

Hi! My name is Olivia DeSmit, and I am a junior double majoring in animal science and science and agricultural journalism at Mizzou. I am considering following a route to become an editor or writer for a farm or scientific journal/magazine. I have lived in Columbia, Missouri, most of my life. I was homeschooled up until attending Rock Bridge High School, where I was involved in the local FFA chapter and graduated in May of 2014.