In June I wrote a post about the type of mom I think deserves a Mom of the Year award. There were lots of other people who thought a mom they knew was worthy of the award – 16,909 moms, in fact. That’s how many nominations were received for Walmart’s Mom of the Year award.
16,909 nominations – that’s a lot of love for a lot of moms, some of whom likely don’t often get much recognition. How do you narrow it down from that number? I don’t know, but Walmart did and now eight finalists have been selected. Each of those women receives $10,000 for the charity of her choice AND $10,000 for herself, which I think is pretty bloody amazing.
I was browsing through the list of the finalists and reading their stories. And I stopped at one in particular.
Helen MacDonnell’s son, Alex, included this in nominating his mother:
“After her brother committed suicide, she began reading about bipolar disorder and depression, which is what he suffered from. She saw the lack of support that existed for people living with mental illness, and set out to change it.”
This is how one person can change the world and save lives doing it.
For many people, mental illness isn’t something that hits the radar until it happens to someone you love. And then, often, the first step they take is to try to understand, which is so important in promoting awareness and offering support for mental illness. That’s what my own mom did, and then really took up the cause by dyeing her hair blue.
Helen went a different route – she started hosting an annual kitchen party to share stories and support about mental health. I love that idea. Can’t you just picture it? One woman starting something — putting herself and her family out there — because it was important to her and because she knew that to make a difference in the world she had to start doing something herself. Those kitchen parties grew into an annual fundraiser called Women and Wellness that promotes open dialogue about mental illness. Dialogue. Fantastic.
Congratulations, Helen. Whether you’re selected as Mom of the Year or not, you’re already a winner.
This is the campaign’s first year, and it will be back in 2013. I’m already looking forward to hearing about more amazing moms.
Disclosure: I’m part of the Walmart program by Mom Central. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own. Mom of the Year Award: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY Internet access and valid email account required. Nominations were open May 10, 2012 to July 8, 2012 for legal residents of Canada over the age of majority. Entrants cannot nominate themselves. One (1) grand prize available to be won consisting of $10,000 cash, a $100,000 donation by Walmart Canada Corp. to charity/cause and a trip to Toronto (ARV $22,000). Seven (7) runner-up prizes available to be won consisting of $10,000 cash, a $10,000 donation to charity/cause and a trip to Toronto (ARV $22,000). Charity/cause subject to verification and final approval by Walmart Canada Corp., at its sole discretion. Odds of winning depend on how the judging panel evaluates each entry according to the criteria. For Official Contest Rules, visit www.momoftheyear.ca.
Speaking of moms doing good things, my friend Yael created Mamas’ Comfort Camp – a closed group on Facebook. Here’s how she describes it:
“Think of this group as your refueling station: a safe haven of self-care and self-kindness for moms. Over 200 moms from around the world come together to nourish ourselves and each other by sharing our ups and downs, our joys as well as our doubts. In this safe space we are free to give ourselves permission to feel all of our feelings and disarm what is painful by conscious interaction with our fears and demons. We (Yael Saar of www.ppdtojoy.com and my fabulous Den Mothers) will be sharing experiments in self-kindness and self-care without “shoulds”. We also talk about ways to disarm the inner critic that lives in the head by finding and befriending the inner wise woman who lives in the body.”
The camp has just celebrated its six-month anniversary. I’m proud to be a Den Mother there and would like to invite other moms to join. You can ask to join anytime and new members are added (and welcomed) each Monday. See Yael’s blog for more info about the camp and how to join.