"My mother is an everyday hero to my family and me because she's an eternal caretaker. She is always putting others wants and needs before her own. Without her we'd all be struggling to get by." — WWE Superstar Seth Rollins, son to Holly Franklin
There isn't a more deserving group of unsung, everyday heroes than Mothers. I'm a proud member of this band of sisters and am aware of the initiation fee into this troop. As I type these simple sentences, I'm forced to hold back tears.
The title of "Mother" is worn by deserving, loving human beings who, like Seth so beautifully acknowledged, faithfully put another's needs ahead of their own. A Mother is the champion of another's dreams and the clean-up crew when mess management is required. Motherhood often feels like the most thankless job until one of our own is blessed with the words of a Superstar son who echoes the sentiment so many feel. We'd all be "struggling to get by" without the anchor, rudder and sails provided by a beloved Mom.
Motherhood is not for the meek, mild or weak. I become overwhelmed with the subject matter of motherhood, because although it is the hardest job I've ever held, it's the one I could not live without.
In Orlando, Fla., I was so touched to be asked about my choices on motherhood at the project:OM yoga class with Susan G. Komen during WrestleMania weekend. I joked and heard the chorus of knowing laughter when I revealed my work for WWE feels like a vacation from the job I hold at home. I gained a newfound understanding for the plight of single, working Moms when I became one myself. Losing my pledged partner in parenthood opened my eyes to an entirely new sorority of warrior women. Slugging motherhood out alone is a new level of scary. My best friend Denise has done this march from the start. She is my everyday hero.
Every mother — single or married, widowed or divorced — needs to take the time to put herself on the list. The best way to care take ourselves is to commit to physical activity and share social time with women who understand our plight. Camaraderie with other like-minded soul sisters is a way to reconnect with who we are as women and expand beyond our roles as Moms. I often caution other Moms not to lose their given name. Those who use my name, Dana, as an endearment are my truest support. This weekend's yoga event project:OM is the perfect example of immersing oneself in positive, healthful community activities that allow an on-the-go Mom to press pause, breathe, and simply say, "Ommmmmmmmmmm."
I loved talking to WWE Superstars about their everyday hero Mothers. Sasha Banks' reply told me a great deal about this Superstar's integrity and depth of character.
"My mom is an everyday hero to me because she taught me the meaning of sacrifice,” Banks said. “Raising two kids on her own, one with autism, can be pretty daunting, yet she kept her head straight and eyes forward and put her feet to the ground. Seeing what she went through showed me that even when times get tough, if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything."
Judith Varnado, Sasha Banks' Mother, is an example of modeling behavior that promotes surpassing survival and encourages thriving. The patience of a mother is profound. The challenges they face and the behavior they model is what creates responsible, kind, compassionate human beings. Looking at other everyday hero Moms is an opportunity for all of us to grow and learn too.
Natalya spoke to the universal theme of motherhood and its unceasing commitment.
"My mom is my everyday hero because she is there for me 365 days a year, in the middle of the night, in my darkest hours,” Natalya said. “She is the greatest example of loyalty. No one can replace her … EVER."
We have two opportunities in life at the parent/child model in a traditional sense. We need to celebrate those chosen mothers of our hearts too. Biology does not make a Mother; it's all about a vast, unconditional heart and the willingness to care for others. There are so many women who come to motherhood through unconventional avenues. The stories of moms stepping into the role after a biological mother was no longer present are epic. I have a friend, who as a young mother herself, tells a beautiful tale of the woman who rescued her. This young woman's life was changed when the Mom of her heart recused her as a child from a drug-addicted birth Mother. She credits the Mother who became her Mom for being the model she carried into motherhood herself. This woman took it upon herself to create a safe life in which young children could trust again, grow and thrive. Looking at the twin daughters my lovely friend is now raising, I see the legacy her Mother, who chose to be one. Choosing love over biology is the ultimate display of an evolved human spirit.
I took the commitment of being a Mom as a solemn vow. I knew my daughters’ lives were not a vanity project. I had directed intention on raising good human beings who would understand the world did not revolve around them but instead they orbited within the world. I look in awe at my children for their resilience and strength amidst real loss. After all we have borne, I had a friend tell me, "Your girls still carry such light … that is on you; that's because of you." It remains to be the single best thing anyone has ever said to me.
There are so many ways to be a Mother. I cannot possibly list them all, but YOU know who you are and the job you do! Mother to Mother, I commend you. Mother to Mother, like I did Eric LeGrand's mother, Karen, I bow down to you. In whatever capacity you are called MOM, you are all that and so much more. Your resume should also read CEO and VIP.
I believe those who hold the essence of motherhood are the true everyday heroes. I believe motherhood is the toughest job but yields the greatest rewards. I believe we celebrate our matriarchs and carry the gifts they unselfishly give … not just on Mother's Day … but ALWAYS!
Join us this weekend in support of project:OM, the world’s largest yoga class benefiting Susan G. Komen. Find a class near you at www.projectOM.com.