The surest way to identify a mother is to test a person’s readiness to give. Whether motherhood reveals itself in a delivery room, through the adoption process, or amidst a heartbreaking struggle to conceive, moms are life’s greatest nurturers. Today, in honor of Mother’s Day, we’re exploring the motherhood journey, sharing thoughts and experiences from a few clients and friends we greatly admire. It’s worth noting that the courageous women here not only care for their own families, but make space in their lives to care for strangers in need. We’re each sharing a nonprofit that is close to our hearts, in hopes that, by calling out these amazing causes, you might be inspired to support them by making a donation in the name of a special mom or mother figure. Whether you’re already a busy mom, hoping to be a mom in the future, or simply have a mom you love, read on for a few nuggets of wisdom.
“Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love, and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.” – Stevie Wonder
Q: How has having children affected the way you feel about your own mother?
It has affected me immensely. I think I took a lot of the support and care she gave me for granted. I did not realize how much someone has to sacrifice in order to be a mom. I was a pretty good kid but I do think I would have thanked her more for everything she did that at the time just felt like an assumed task on her part. It's not assumed. It's a choice. I thank her now for making the choice to be there for us in every aspect. Mostly, how much patience she had to listen to every little detail of every story. She still has the patience to listen to me vent for as long as I need to and I am sure there have been times where she had something better to do or needed to get done and she chose me. I am so much more in awe of her than I ever was. And how she raised 5 children is beyond me! I can't even believe I complain about one!!
Where Whitney Gives Back
Every Mother Counts is a nonprofit founded by Christy Turlington Burns. After experiencing her own childbirth complication, Christy learned that hundreds of thousands of women were dying every year because they do not have access to the maternity care that they need. She then dedicated her work to understanding the challenges of and opportunities for improving access to maternity care around the world.
Q: There is so much beauty in motherhood, but it’s also a tough job. What lessons have you learned through your journey as Michael’s mom?
Of all the jobs I’ve had in my lifetime, the hardest is being a Mom. I want to raise a young man who is compassionate, loving, kind, and tolerant. I want him to know that I have his back 100% of the time. I want him to know he can trust me, and that I will come to his aid at the drop of a pin. I want him to know that I will love him to infinity and beyond and I want him to know how proud I am of him. For me, the tough part is letting him fly on his own. His Kindergarten teacher shared The Boy and the Butterfly parable with all of us parents, offering up a little piece of advice, and I still think about its lesson from time to time. It can be excruciating trying to figure out the balance between overprotecting my child and allowing him to struggle because moms tend to be happiest when their kids are happy. Being a mom is tough but I can say wholeheartedly that it’s my life’s greatest work. I love you, Michael!
Where Laurel Gives Back
Homemade Hope provides hands-on cooking classes and holiday celebrations in homeless and transitional living shelters where children experience the joy of family meals, the nurturing power of creating healthy dishes, and the stability of developing traditions centered around food. Homemade Hope is dedicated to enriching young lives with the ingredient of hope.
Caroline Harper Knapp
Q: As a businesswoman and mom of two active boys, how do you continue to make your marriage a priority?
My husband Fred (known to HoH readers as "FMK") travels a lot for work, so between both of our schedules it can be difficult to find time to catch up. We decided early on after having children to set aside one night a week for date night. Every Thursday we go out to dinner just the two of us and it's so refreshing to enjoy uninterrupted adult conversation somewhere new on our list. On the weekends we spend time all together as a family, and I love seeing him with the boys -- they look up to him so much!
Where Caroline Gives Back
Heroes for Children is a non-profit organization that is close to my heart. They are based in Houston and provide financial and emotional support to families who have children battling with cancer. It was founded by two moms who lost their daughters to cancer at very young ages. The work that they do for families in need is truly incredible and is definitely a worthwhile cause to support in honor of Mother's Day!
Q: Share your concrete tips for managing time as a working mom.
I realized it’s not about balancing – it’s about integrating. I try and find ways that I can integrate my work and family life. If I have a biz trip, I try to take my husband or family along for a getaway. If I have to do a quick site visit on Saturday morning to check a finish sample or something quick, I bring my son so he can see a construction site and meet “Bob the Builder” in real life. I look for ways to grow meaning and a sense of purpose in my life by integrating my giving through service projects with my team and family. I also heard the wise words, “be here now” and am constantly working on being “present” for the people I am with at the moment and give the things I choose to give my time and attention, my best self.
Where Marie Flanigan Gives Back
Dec My Room is a non-profit organization that decorates children's hospital rooms with cozy and personalized items to add comfort and joy during their stay. On a couple of occasions we have even decorated a whole waiting room or wing of the facility to create a welcoming space for all who come through the doors. Dec My Room is a passion project of mine, as well as our whole team. I love how it allows us to use our talents in a way that has a real, lasting impression.