May 12, 2024

Happy Mother’s Day! We asked New Leaders Council moms what advice they’d share about parenting in Moms & Movers: Shaping Our Future Leaders. This special “motherly” edition of our blog features alumni Tamira Samuel (NLC Houston 2021), Brittany Cook (NLC Kentucky 2015) and Melissa Rift (NLC Kentucky 2021), Heather Hudson (NLC Rhode Island 2013), Maxine Rebeles (NLC South TX Frontera 2021), and Madison Louis (NLC Boston 2019).

Tamira Samuel (NLC Houston 2021)

Tamira Samuel (NLC Houston 2021) and her family.

“I teach my kids to see every moment as a valuable teacher rather than a failure or success. It’s very important that children are not only resilient, but learn humility and grace to be their best and take the right lessons forward in life.”

Brittany Cook (NLC Kentucky 2015) and Melissa Rift (NLC Kentucky 2021)

Brittany Cook (NLC Kentucky 2015) and Melissa Rift (NLC Kentucky 2021) and their baby Little E along with their two dogs.

“Our greatest lesson in leadership to share with Little E is to build your community! We are grateful for ours as they have already gathered around us with tremendous joy and care.”

Heather Hudson (NLC Rhode Island 2013)

Heather Hudson (NLC Rhode Island 2013) and her child.

“I have the honor, joy and responsibility of raising two little girls (Cora, 4 and Junie, 2). While the day to day can often be a relentless grind, there are distinct moments in which the life of a mother and my profession of advocating for state policies to increase access to postsecondary education come together. The other night I took my 2-year-old to a fundraiser for Senator T’waina Nobles, the first Black female legislator in a nearby district. Start them young!”

Maxine Rebeles (NLC South TX Frontera 2021)

Maxine Rebeles (NLC South TX Frontera 2021) and her family.

Being a single mother, teacher, veteran, and activist is never easy. I wish I would’ve read “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz sooner than I did, but when we know better we, do better, and we MUST continue to do better WHEREVER we can. I may not be a perfect mother, but I did the best I could with what I knew at the time. Teaching our kids to love themselves and do better than we did is all we can do when our babies have lives of their own. They may not see what we are trying to do, but neither did most of us when we were their age. Some cycles won’t be broken, and we may end up creating more, but that is life; We live, learn, win, lose, laugh, cry, and so much more. Never give in to the war within!”

Madison Louis (NLC Boston 2019)

Madison Louis (NLC Boston 2019)

“We often hear about how challenging it is to be a working parent because, of course, it is true – it is hard! You have at minimum two full time jobs where you are required to give your 100% (irrespective of what you need to do for you) and, at the very least, one of those jobs is always dynamic.

But there is a positive side too.

Of course, there is the role modeling for your kids (which work is but just one of many ways parents can lead by example), but I believe that by being required to have heavy investments in two different areas – whether that is parenting and working, or volunteering and being an aunt extraordinaire, or whatever your two hats may be – affords us the opportunity to work to be the best versions of ourselves at an accelerated rate because every day you work on both.

The juggling act of parenting has made me approach work differently; I work with greater empathy, greater efficiency, refined prioritization, and less fret. And my work shapes what I talk about with my kids, what experiences they may have because of what I do, and can at times be – just as is parenting toddlers – a test in patience. It’s how we react in those moments of stress or difference that can be character defining, that can leave a lasting impression, whether positive or less so, on your child or coworker.

With two full time jobs, one is given the opportunity for a whole lot of practice in patience, listening, and understanding. This whole lot of practice can be exactly that – a lot – but through it, new opportunities come, new synergies blossom, and a person, constantly working to be the best they can be, emerges too.

Happy day to everyone caring for others and investing in different areas of their lives. Go You Go :)”

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