We have spent the past few weeks at the Clipper organizing our 2013 Mother of the Year recognitions, and my respect for the women blessed with the chance to raise children is as great as ever.
I discovered as I spoke to moms from around the county, that there are as many heroes among mothers as there are mothers. Each has her own story of sacrifice and love, and together they hold a special place in our community as stewards of future generations.
Differences are to be celebrated, in my opinion, but common themes emerged as I spoke with our top moms. I realized that although most of us no longer need help with math homework or geography, we still have a lot to learn from mothers.
Perhaps the greatest lesson that comes from motherhood is unconditional love and acceptance. My mother has shown it to me time and again, and I see it everywhere. The 2013 Mother of the Year from Sunset, Janet Lujan, agrees. She has spread that love throughout the city as a mother and daycare provider for decades, and continues by helping students at an elementary school near her home for hours each day.
Thankfulness is also vital, and its importance became particularly apparent to me when I spoke with Woods Cross 2013 Mother of the Year Michelle Workman. Despite having to go back to work and living in what she calls a very small 1920s home, Workman cherishes mealtime with her husband and four kids.
“I like just getting up and making breakfast and sharing their lives with them and seeing them excel in so many things,” she said.
Along those lines, the mothers I spoke with reminded me about the joy of celebrating the accomplishments of others. Many told me that watching their children grow, succeed and overcome problems were the best parts of being moms.
For mothers and non-mothers alike, learning to celebrate with others is very fulfilling. Furthermore, it does incredible things for relationships. If you can be happy for someone else’s happiness, that’s a sign of true love.
The last lesson I took away from this week is about moms and the way many think they have to be superheroes to be successful. It saddens me that many mothers diminish themselves because they can’t do and be everything, because the very mothers who are worried most are often the best among us.
To the mothers, remember how valuable your love, time and caring actions are to those around you and reward yourself for doing the best job you can. You don’t deserve so much pressure.
To their husbands, children and neighbors, remember that moms are only human. They need unconditional love too, though they will never ask for it. Try not to blame them when their children mess up, or criticize messy houses or unkempt hair. Instead, offer to give help in specific ways or simply smile and be supportive.
Not one of us would be who we are without our mothers, and we should be thankful to these wonderful women every day, and remember that they still have much to teach us.
On that note, I indulge: To my mom, who informed my thought processes, guided my morality and taught me strength and courage, I love you tremendously and am forever thankful that I got to be yours. All good women, including those I spoke with this week, remind me of you.