As we have come to the end of the month of May when we honored our mothers on Mother’s Day and recognized that Mother is a verb, we feel it is important to continue to recognize all that the mothers in our lives do. Three Mother Hens does this by sharing stories from real mothers doing the job that should be honored not just on Mother’s Day, but throughout the year – everyday stories bringing honor to Motherhood every day.
When you visit the Three Mother Hens website you are immediately greeted by a serene image of a garden surrounded by a white picket fence. The fence boards have been whitewashed, and although they show signs of wear and weather the gate is open in welcome and within their confines are carefully tended beds of lilies in full bloom. This was the perfect introduction for me to Whitney, Katie, and Megan, three sisters who created Three Mother Hens as a place to change the conversation around mothers and mothering. As you browse through a collection of mom memes or read a ‘momstory’ you will find that it is a carefully tended space of inspiration and nurturing from one mother to another, with a welcoming atmosphere that invites you to pull up a chair and stay a while. I asked them to discuss their inspiration and to tell readers a little bit more about themselves. ~Shelly Spotts
Whitney, Katie, and Megan
Tell us a little about yourself:
W- I’m Whitney, the oldest. I live in Spanish Fork, Utah. My family dynamic could be described as crazy/busy. I have 4 children who are involved in lots of extra curricular activities and therefore we are a very busy family. I do not have any pets, but my husband would love a dog. I am a teacher by trade, but I currently am a stay-at-home mom. In my spare time(what spare time?) I like to bake treats, read a good book, or visit friends. If I had a whole day to myself I would most likely be found running errands(shopping), maybe getting a pedicure or going to lunch with friends. I would also go and visit my 87 year old grandma, who lives 15 minutes from me. I usually bring her a Diet Coke Caffeine Free and she shares stories and years of wisdom.
K- I’m Katie, the middle child (with all the traditional issues that go along with that title). 🙂 I live in Williamsburg, VA. My family dynamic is loud. 😉 Probably not what you meant by dynamic but with 4 kids under 6 our home is always echoing with the sounds of competing voices (and screaming kids). I was a Communications Specialist in D.C. before having my oldest but now I stay home. I have a kindergartner daughter who is my right hand gal when it comes to helping with the little boys, twin four year olds, and a 22 month old who has no idea how little he is. I’m about to have a weekend to myself (a girls trip planned with friends of 11+ years who all live across the U.S.) and I’ll be doing exactly what I love; being with people I love, having lots of girl talk with fellow moms who are in the thick of it too, eating delicious food, and FaceTiming my kids because, of course I miss them when I’m away.
M- I’m Megan I am the youngest sister. I live with my husband and three kids in Idaho. My husband’s family lives by us so we are surrounded by lots of family. I have always been motherly, or some might call it “bossy.” I believe that has helped me jump into motherhood. I taught Kindergarten for 3 years and quit when I was pregnant with my second child. It was hard for me to leave one kid at home. I knew that if I had two kids home it would be a lot harder for to leave. I do plan on going back to teaching. I love the school environment and I love being around all the kids. I love to read and watch my shows. If I had a day all to myself I would go shopping. We learned from our mom when you go shopping you try and get a lot done in a short time. So I would do all the errands I have needed to get done but that I didn’t want to take all three kids too. You can shop a lot quicker without kids!
What are some things you are passionate about?
W- My biggest passion right now would be being a mom. I am a strong advocate for my kids. Whether it’s choosing teachers for my kids, or activities. I always try and gather as much information as possible and try to make the best decision for that child. I believe it takes a whole village to raise a child and I want to surround my children with people who will have influences for good. I want my children to be well rounded and make them try new things that might take them out of their comfort zone. I am also passionate about sports. I was not athletic when I was younger.(Like I couldn’t hit the ball when playing T-ball) But I love watching my kids play (luckily they got my husbands genes). I love watching them work hard at something and be successful. Success in my book doesn’t always have to mean winning (although, it’s more fun to win.) But it’s working hard and seeing improvement each game. I love that in sports, my kids have to listen and respect other adults. They have to work together with a team, and support one another. There are a lot of life lessons and discussions that come after a good sporting event!
K- I love being a mom and have always been passionate about motherhood. We tried for 5 years before having our oldest daughter through the miracle of IVF. That time without kids really changed how I am as a mother-and I think of it often when my patience is thin. Some of my passions from pre-motherhood have seeped into my children, which I love. They love to sing and dance. Their taste in music is as diverse as my husband’s and mine (from broadway musicals to the band Rush, Glenn Miller to Walk the Moon). Finding my 4 year old singing “Look down, look down, don’t look him in the eye,” from Les Miserables to his cars was a fun day for me. I am passionate about education, as my mom and sisters are all teachers. I believe in something my mom used say about children needing an adult, outside of their mom and dad, to be interested in them and their story. I try to be that for nieces and nephews and my friends’ children and am really grateful to have that for my kids in our small community.
M- I think right now in my life my passion is my family. Everything I do, I do around my family. I want to make sure that my household is taken care of. I also rarely pay full price for anything. I always am trying to find a good deal, whether it’s diapers, food, or soap.
How did you get started with Three Mother Hens? How does it impact your life?
K- Three Mother Hens was an idea that came from Whit. For years she said that we should be doing something with our story. We had an extraordinary mom, and she passed away in 2006. Only Whit had a baby at that point so most of our mothering has been done without our mom. We each have friends who have told us they could never imagine going through this phase of life without their mom. Obviously that was not a choice we had, but what we have is each other. We talk every day. We have helped each other through the ups and downs despite the distance between us. We realized that not every mom out there had this kind of support from people “in the trenches” of motherhood and wanted to remedy that.
Three Mother Hens is about not only our story but the story of Moms everywhere. Each one is unique and special, as cliche as that sounds – it’s true! And we really do believe that there is more than one way to be a good mom. We felt like that wasn’t being represented well on social media and thought we could help. The MomStories we share each week are from regular moms just like us, sharing their trials and triumphs. Each mom we have asked has initially answered in the same way, “I don’t have anything interesting to share.” But each story we have gotten back has touched us, and people in the Three Mother Hens community whether they “like” or “comment” or not. That’s not the point. The point is to help moms know they aren’t alone in their struggles and to help them feel good about where they’re at while cheering each other along.
Three Mother Hens has given us something to work at outside of rearing our children. It has given me (Katie) a chance to use some of the skills I gained in the workplace before kids. It has helped us as sisters work toward a goal together, which is very rewarding. And each time we ask each other if we should continue, some new story, text, or phone call from a friend encourages us to keep going. We’ve been told we are giving people something real to look forward to in their social media feed and that makes us happy.
How do you seek to have an impact in your community?
W- I am involved in my local church and have opportunities to serve people in the community.We go to the local nursing home and visit with ladies and provide a spiritual thought, music and of course treats! I also volunteer at my children’s school and serve on the PTA. I love being in my children’s classrooms and at their schools and love getting to know their classmates and teachers. My husband coaches many of my kids’ teams and so we have gotten to know many great people in our community. We also love to support the local high schools at their activities. We have a wonderful community with lots of parks, bike paths, and fishing spots, and outdoor activities as well.
K- At this stage of life, I am not sure how much I impact my community. I make a point to know my neighbors and teach my children to greet people with respect. I love going to the bus stop twice a day to catch up with the people I wouldn’t otherwise know. I support my children’s teachers by volunteering in the classroom, which is really just fun for me because I can see my kids interact with their peers. I help teach the children to sing in church each Sunday. I babysit for my friends. Small things like that are really the reach of my impact. I am a big believer in times and seasons, and in this season of life, trying to teach my children to contribute and be kind through example is the best way for me to have an impact on my community.
M- I hope that we can get people to accept each other’s opinions instead of judging each other. We parent differently, even as sisters, but it doesn’t make us accept each other any less. Motherhood is changing and we hope to help support every type of mother.
How does your faith impact your life?
W- My faith is very important in how I raise my family. We attend church meetings weekly, and also attend meetings or activities different times throughout the week. I love that my kids are taught by good people each week, in their different classes they attend at church. We try to have family dinner together each night and that time is spent sharing what we did/learned that day. It is always inspiring when your 6 year old can teach you a life/spiritual lesson. In Utah the culture is extremely religious and yet within the religion there are all types of people. I hope to teach my kids to stand up for what they know is right and what they believe in.
K- My faith has a huge impact on my family’s life. We love attending church weekly with people who share our faith. Living outside of Utah has been very important for my personal faith journey since I spend a lot of time with people of different faiths. It sounds silly to say out loud but it’s been really eye opening to experience people who feel just as strongly about a completely different set of beliefs. These are wonderful people. I love what I’ve learned from them, especially when their background is so different from mine. A wonderful woman in my congregation started a monthly meeting called “Women of Faith.” Each month a different woman shares her “faith journey” with whomever wants to attend. It’s a judgement free zone. It’s candid and raw. Doubts, fears, and transgressions are often shared, but also miracles, faith, and joy. It’s honestly one of my favorite things about living here and wherever we move next, I want to continue the meeting because of the impact it’s made on my life. There is so much strength in sharing!
M- Motherhood and children have a big part in our culture. We are taught at a young age that a young woman should one day become a mom. I am trying to raise my children in the same manner I was taught. We have weekly church meeting and assignments throughout the week. We strive to live righteously and teach our children the standards of our religion.
How has becoming involved with stories and inspiration about Motherhood impacted your life? What do you want other people to understand about you, and your goals?
W- I have loved all of the stories and inspiration about Motherhood. I love people. I love talking to people, hearing about their life, challenges, and accomplishments. So for me, it has helped inspire me as a mom, as we understand that we are all trying our best. I think as we have shared #momstories we are realize we all have similar goals and even though we may do things differently, there’s not one right way.
K- Ever since I was little I was fascinated with the fact that everyone has a story. We didn’t know if this would work. We didn’t know if people would be willing to share. I’ve been blown away their honesty, and the vulnerability they showed in sharing. Motherhood is a tough gig, rewarding, but tough. Laying it out there for others to read about the hardest part of such a huge part of your life takes courage. And how often do moms take the time to sit and think about how they’re doing, especially what they’re doing right? Not too often, in our experience. I hope that when people come to our site they are there to cheer on these moms, recognize the good in themselves, and not compare their worst against someone’s best. I’m afraid that last part happens every single day on social media. Sure we all love to look at beauty or to read things that inspire, but sometimes I want to see that if this corner of your home is perfectly clean and perfectly lit, what does the rest of it look like? I think most of us are living in “the rest of it.” And we should feel good about that when our focus is a loving home for our kids.
M- I love hearing all the different stories! I feel like every mom has something to teach me. Sometimes we get caught up with different things and forget what is really important. Reading the stories teaches me and also reminds me of things I want to do differently as a mom.
What do you feel was a turning point in your life?
W- The turning point in my life would have to be when my mom died. I was a first time mom with a 7 month old baby. I was the oldest in my family and felt responsible for my entire family including my dad. I felt overwhelmed at times and felt self imposed pressure trying to recreate all that my mom would do. Birthdays, Thanksgivings, Christmases, those were all my responsibility now. Our mom was such a wonderful cook, party planner, hostess and friend that I felt like I had to be just like her. It took me a while to realize I could only do what I could do, and that was enough.
K- Obviously when mom died it was a huge turning point. She was the glue in our family. She did everything for everyone. She called multiple times a day to say “I had a thought” since her family was her primary focus. It’s really hard to lose someone who plays such a major role in your life. Then, three years later when I finally got pregnant with Quintuplets (yes, 5, and no, we didn’t “put 5 embryos in”) through IUI (different from IVF), and lost them at 21 weeks, I felt like my dreams of becoming a mother were shattered. The night the babies were born due to pre-term labor, I told myself I never wanted to have a baby again. By the next morning I was asking my doctor how soon she thought I could try again, this time doing IVF so I could control the number of embryos. (Which is funny since I’ve only put one in each time and I have identical twins because one embryo split! We think we are in control but obviously God is.)
Finally, another turning point was when my daughter was born. It healed both me and my husband so much to hold our baby in our arms. She was literally like a balm to our souls. Her middle name is my mom’s name.
M- The turning point of my life was when my mom passed away. I had just finished my first year of college. I feel like I have two lives. The one before my mom and the one after. A year after my mom died I got married and have lived in Idaho ever since. I am surrounded by people who have never met my mom. That has been hard for me. I would love for them to have met her because she was so great. At first I wouldn’t really talk about her to my kids, but I have found since they are getting older they like to hear stories and see pictures. I feel like I am slowly bringing her back into my life and into my family’s.
How do you approach relationships?
W- I love people. At any game, school function, dance recital, etc. I always look for people I know or people I can talk to. I love to hear what people are doing and what’s happening in their lives. I care about people and appreciate the relationships that I have. I am like my mom in that I show love by taking people a treat! My philosophy is a good treat can solve almost anything!
K- My grandma once told me that she used to be painfully shy and insecure. She decided one day to stop that. Her philosophy was that when she walked into a room she assumed that everyone liked her and that she would like them. That’s how she lived her life and the example my mom saw. I grew up with similar examples in my parents. I love a lot of people, and I feel like it happens pretty easily. I don’t typically feel intimidated by the things that others do better than me, but I do love learning from their skills! I show love in the same ways my mom did. If you’re here visiting, I want to feed you.
M- I like to say when my mom died my heart froze. It was hard for me to open up to people and show them the “real” me. Having kids has actually helped me open up more and have feelings, which helps me have better relationships. I feel like I am learning who I am and what I really want to do in my life, which helps me create stronger relationships.
What is your motherhood goal? (What type of mother are you striving to be? Why do you feel like that goal is important?)
W- My motherhood goal is to help my kids be the best they can be. I work hard to make sure my kids do well in school. My husband and I teach our kids how to work and try and provide them with lots of opportunities for them to work. We our trying daily to teach our kids responsibility, kindness, love, respect, compassion, etc. I think I want what most moms want. I want my kids to be successful adults who contribute to society, marry someone they love, have a family, and be good people.
K- My goal as a mother is to be like my mom. She was calm. She was good just because she wanted to be good. She was easy to talk to, not intimidating, and had a great laugh. She liked rules. She looked for ways to serve and quietly filled needs. She didn’t complain. She didn’t compare herself to others out loud. I never once heard her say she was fat or unattractive in any way. She was faithful and prayerful. I found her on her knees by her bed more times than I can count. That’s the kind of mother I want to be.
M- I want my kids to grow up to be good, kind adults. I want to help them learn through my experiences that hard things happen in life but they are strong enough to overcome them. We are teaching the next generation of parents and I hope to teach my kids in a way that they will become strong, independent adults.
What is your favorite part of having sisters?
W- My favorite part about having sisters is knowing that no matter what I have 2 built in best friends. It’s nice to know that anytime/anyday I can pick up the phone and call either of my sisters and they will be there. We talk everyday usually multiple times and I can tell them everything. The good, the bad, the sad, they know it and will support me. Losing our mom when we were so young solidified our relationship, and I know she would be happy that we are so close. There is just something about a sister that is so special and I’m lucky enough to have 2.
K- I am so blessed to have Whitney and Megan. I don’t know what I would do without them. I have lots of friends whom I love and adore but there is nothing like a sister. They’re the people in your life who have known you the longest, for better or worse, and love you despite your (in my case, many) imperfections. They have put up with me for all these years. But more than put up with me, they have made me feel like I’m special when really I don’t think they know how special they are. I love them for their strengths that are different than mine and I love the history we share. And the Hendrix hair we share. They say blood is thicker than water, but Hendrix hair is way thicker than blood. (Our maiden name was Hendrix.)
M- Sisters are great! We are all very different but very much the same. We can call at anytime of day and know what is going on in our kids’ lives. We love spending time together to shop, cook, and laugh. Three girls was a hard dynamic growing up and someone was always getting left out. As we have gotten older, and needed to rely on each other more, no one is really getting left out. We don’t always get along and sometimes we fight but we always get over it because we love each other.
You can find Whitney, Katie, and Megan and their #momstories at https://www.threemotherhens.com/