1. Writers' comments are not canon.
2. Being in
Starfleet does not mean one is career
Starfleet. My father served a hitch in the Marines, long before I was born, but at the end of the one tour, he took his honorable discharge (as a full corporal) and returned to civilian life.
3. Winona Kirk, in either timeline, left Starfleet to raise Sam and Jim. In the Novelverse, "Geordie" Kirk took an assignment as chief of security on Starbase 2, and exchanged letters with Jim; in the Abramsverse, he died about the same time Jim was born, and Winona may or may not have remarried.