Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Utah Young Mother of the Year--2012

"What made you accept the nomination for Young Mother of the Year and begin this selection process?" It was a valid question, one I myself was wondering about at that very moment, as I felt my knees knocking together under the table. How did I get here and why did I accept the nomination? And then it came to me, quickly and assuredly.

"Years ago, when I first became a mother, I was introduced to the American Mothers organization. I remember going to a few meetings and feeling uplifted and inspired by other mothers who were going through the same things I was or who had gone through them and made it safely to the other side. It was a wonderful thing to be a part of. I believe strongly in motherhood and in helping lift and inspire mothers, and so I was happy to have an opportunity to participate in that."

There it was. The reason I was nervously sitting at a table with a panel of three judges who were working to select the next Utah Young Mother of the Year for 2012. Question number one answered. Now on to many more delving questions about my philosophy on motherhood, from what my greatest challenge is and how I deal with it, to what message would I want to share if I was selected. As I answered each inquiry, my confidence and passion for my purpose in being there continued to grow, and I realized, as I have many times before, that the real reason I had agreed to be a nominee for this year's Young Mother of the Year is simply this--that I believe motherhood to be the most important, noble, and inspiring role I would ever play in my lifetime; that I believe mothers to be one of God's greatest gifts; and that the opportunity of joining with other amazing women to uplift and build each other up in the cause of motherhood would simply be too great to pass up.

I left the interview feeling empowered--not because I had nailed it--but because I knew I was a small part of something great, something that acknowledged the amazing power of womanhood and motherhood, and I felt humbly grateful for that. After presenting a short speech at a wonderful luncheon, I went home exhausted but happy. I thought of the other nominees and knew I had been blessed to simply meet them. I could see how each one could be selected as this year's Young Mother of the Year, and I felt privileged just to have been among them.

I fell down, exhausted, on my couch. That's when the phone call came. "Lori, I am calling to inform you that you have been chosen to represent Utah as the Young Mother of the Year for 2012!" It was hard to take in, I have to admit; in fact, my first reaction was, "Really?" After meeting the other nominees and hearing their thoughts, I hadn't expected to have been selected. My head was swirling as congratulations were offered and I hung up the phone. That's when my 12-year-old daughter, who had come to hear my speech earlier that day, said, "I knew you would win, Mom. You were awesome!" And it was all worth it.

And so, believe it or not, I will be spending this upcoming year fulfilling the amazing responsibility of representing Utah mothers as the Young Mother of the Year. It is certainly an honor and a privilege I am looking forward to. But I must say, right from the start, that I was in no way chosen because I am the most fabulous mother in Utah, or because I have a terrific parenting plan that I carry out perfectly, or because I have all the answers mothers need. Parenting mistakes are part of my daily regimen. I do yell at my kids sometimes; I do lose my patience and handle situations all wrong; and I do go to bed many nights wanting to be so much better. Motherhood is not about perfection. And so, as I begin this journey, I hope to be seen as a woman who is teachable, approachable and oh so willing--not only to share my experiences, lessons learned and love for this sacred calling of motherhood--but also to learn from each and every one of you, for you are all remarkable women in numerous ways.

I think most people would agree (especially mothers) that motherhood is a job that usually receives few accolades. Amazing women all over the world are working in the trenches daily to raise the next generation, and they do it without physical rewards of any kind. They are doing the most important job on the planet, and yet, the most they receive for their time, effort, blood, sweat and tears (literally) is one day a year to hear repeated the cliche, "Happy Mother's Day." And so, for all you incredible women out there--from mothers of 12, to single mothers, to mothers of children with disabilities, to mothers of one or two, to mothers who have a mother's heart but haven't yet been blessed with children of their own--I say, this is for each of you because YOU DESERVE IT!! I share with you this title. Stand up and take a bow--yes, you--Mothers of the Year 2012! I don't know most of you personally, but I do know somewhat of your sacrifice, your devotion, and your endurance, and I honor you for it.

Being the Young Mother of the Year gives me the opportunity of being in your service, and so I invite anyone who reads this to share your thoughts, your worries, your successes and triumphs--even your questions--concerning motherhood. I don't have all the answers, but together we can learn from one another and build each other up in this amazing, but often difficult, journey of mothering this generation of bright, amazing children. I am also available to speak and help in any way possible to move forward the cause of motherhood, so if there is a need, please ask. It is indeed an honor to be an ambassador for motherhood and for the American Mothers organization, an organization that has blessed my life for many years.

To end, I just want to take a moment to honor the 2011 Utah Young Mother of the Year, Emi Edgley, an incredible woman who has represented Utah mothers remarkably well. She is amazing! She is a woman of virtue and goodness and light. I have been blessed with the opportunity of getting to know her a little, and her influence is immediate. To fill her shoes would not be possible, but I feel honored to work alongside her and follow her lead. Well done, Emi.


Dixie said...

I am so happy for this journey you are about to take, Lori. I love your comments--and especially how you applaud all mothers and those with a mother's heart. God bless you all!

Julia said...

You help and inspire me...and make me laugh and cry as I read your candid posts. Thank you.

Jennie said...

What a wonderful experience! I couldn't find your contact info, but I have a possible appearance/speaking opportunity if you'll contact me at Thanks!