“Newsmakers: Mothers of the Year,” Ensign, Sept. 1998, 68
Diane Stirland Matthews of the Southern Estates Ward, Mesa Arizona Kimball Stake, recently was named 1998 National Mother of the Year by American Mothers, Inc., and Tammy Jones Huber of the Oatfield Ward, Milwaukie Oregon Stake, was chosen as National Mother of Young Children.
Sister Matthews has been the single parent of six children since April 1983, when her husband, Elmo G. Matthews, died of a heart attack. A stay-at-home mother who was trained as a schoolteacher, she renewed her teaching certificate and taught for several years while trying to settle her husband’s business affairs and raise her children. However, “it was too much emotionally and physically, and it didn’t allow me enough time to assist in the growth and development of my children,” she says. “After a lot of soul-searching, I finally decided I needed to beat home.” She established a business in her home and resigned from her teaching position so that she could be the main caregiver to her children—a decision she now calls “the wisest I ever made.”
“For me, the blessings that have come from staying at home as much as possible have far outweighed anything perceived as a sacrifice,” she says. “We’ve had our struggles, but we have a solid, cohesive family that works well together and supports one another, and my children have chosen to walk in paths of righteousness.”
Sister Huber, at 27 the youngest nominee for the title of National Mother of Young Children, has endeavored to teach her three children the importance of community service. “My children are almost always with me when we serve, whether it’s taking meals to someone who is ill, helping out in someone’s yard, or visiting the elderly,” she says. She first realized the impact of her children’s involvement when she overheard her son inform someone that he had “five or six grandpas,” referring to the elderly men he had helped serve meals to. “My son didn’t see just an older person; he saw a person to love,” says Sister Huber.
She emphasizes that she isn’t a “perfect” mother. “When they made the announcement at church, my son was in the process of doing a cartwheel off the pew,” she says with a laugh. “In public I may appear well put together, but like any typical mother, I spend many days in my sweats. They didn’t choose me because I was the most perfect; I’m simply a mother who tries her best in all facets of life.”