may 8, 2015

Honoring our mothers is a May tradition ~ thanks to the efforts Anna Marie Jarvis. As legend would have it, Anna’s successful campaign to make Mother’s Day official was inspired by these memorable words from one of her mom’s 1876 Sunday school lessons.

Here are share-worthy lessons + stories from other influential American mothers ~ women who’ve helped raise the nation, one home at a time.


"The power to create a Home ought to be ranked above all creative faculties."

Harriet Beecher Stowe
the mother-reformer


{unforgettable | She writes...}

The devout daughter of an outspoken New England preacher. A home-economics pioneer. An abolitionist + moral-sentimental author inspired by motherly love.

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Harriet is best known for writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin ~ the 1852 abolitionist novel that’s often cited as a catalyst for the Civil War. Her pen was as influential on domesticity as it was on domestic politics.

The mother of 7 wrote numerous essays on the high art of homemaking. And, co-authored an all-inclusive guidebook The American Woman’s Home ~ with chapters that cover each + every principle of "domestic science," from spiritual education to proper ventilation!

share-worthy stories
Harriet’s anti-slavery activism was inspired by empathy for her fellow mothers. After losing her son Charley to cholera, the author channeled her sorrow into action, refusing to silently stand by while other families were ripped apart by a preventable evil.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the #2 bestseller of the 19th century ~ after The Bible. No surprise, Harriet’s novel is filled with heroic mothers whose love helps to heal the nation. The virtuous title character’s parting words to his master’s son are ~ "Always keep close to your mother. The Lord gives a good many things twice over, but he don't give ye a mother but once."

hear more...of Harriet’s household wisdom

"Our desire to bring
every good thing to our children
is a force for good in the world."

Melinda Gates
the maternal health champion

melinda gates_newsletter.jpg

{remarkable | She gives...}

A Texas girl who was raised to dream big + give back. An ace math student who snagged a job at Microsoft fresh out of Duke. A global change-maker + co-chair of the world’s largest private foundation.

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Melinda left Microsoft to raise her 3 children with the company’s founder + former CEO Bill Gates. She
re-entered the public eye in 2008 to lead the couples’
far-reaching philanthropic efforts that empower people around the world to improve their own lives through technology, healthcare + education.

The Gates Foundation’s good work relies on data-driven research and innovation. But also, good listening. Inspired by the countless mothers she has met who want to "bring every good thing" to their children, Melinda has made a point of investing in women. Or, as she puts it, "the people who invest in everyone else."

share-worthy stories
The investment’s paying off. In the 15 years since the Gates Foundation launched, the global child mortality rate has been cut in half. They want to halve it again by the year 2030.

A practicing Catholic, Melinda frequently cites this "mother" as one of her biggest influences.

When it comes to parenting, Melinda takes a cue from her own mother ~ who treated her kids to a daily check-in over a glass of iced tea..."My mom always told me, 'set your own agenda or someone else will set it for you.' Now I tell my children the same thing."

discover more...about the major breakthroughs Melinda’s "betting" billions on for 2030

"Make sure you take time out for
yourselves. That's the one thing
I've learned from my mom,
is to treat yourself well.
Do that every single day."

Michelle Obama
the mom-in-chief

michelle obama_newsletter.jpg

{notable | She champions...}

A Chicago kid who was brought up to think "smart" meant "cool." A lawyer, international style icon + the first African-American first lady of the US. An advocate for children’s health, women’s rights + military families.

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Michelle may be a hugely famous first lady, but she still sees her most important title as "mom-in-chief." Since moving to the White House in 2009, Michelle’s initiatives have matched her maternal priorities.

She teamed up with second lady Jill Biden to champion Joining Forces ~ in support of military families. On Mother’s Day, the two host a tea for the women who serve their country by holding down the home-front while their relatives are away on active duty. Michelle took the opportunity last year to pay homage to her own mother + remind her honored guests that self-care is an essential part of happy homes.

share-worthy stories
Michelle brought her mom Marian with her to the White House. The "grandmother-in-chief" is the only occupant who can sneak out sans Secret Service.

The first lady is a first-generation college student. The Princeton + Harvard alum is proof of the power of a supportive family and good education. Her inspirational message to today’s students ~ "You, too, can realize your dreams, and then your job is to reach back and to help someone just like you do the same thing."

see more...of Michelle’s motherly advice for kids around the world

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"Community duty is also a form of spiritual exercise, and our strong limbs are now trained to work hard and for long hours."

~ Jigme Konchok
the kung fu nun of Kathmandu   |   explaining how her modern Buddhist nunnery ~ where women practice martial arts, conservation + construction ~ is especially well suited to lead the earthquake relief effort in their Nepalese mountain community

"Charlotte Elizabeth Diana."

~ Kate Middleton
the Duchess of Cambridge + world’s most famous mother   |   naming her second child ~ a daughter who’s #4 in line for the throne ~ with a loving nod to some serious royal relatives...even "Charlotte" is a feminine form of Charles!

"The only way to re-imagine our government is to re-imagine who is leading it."

~ Carly Fiorina
the former HP exec + current US presidential candidate   |   in her official campaign announcement that explained the advantages of electing an experienced leader from outside the "professional political class"

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