Moms Just Like the Rest of Us

by Mary Beth Bishop

How do well-known local moms like to mark Mother’s Day? With fancy teas, thrift-store visits and cherished handmade gifts. But all year long, they have ways to celebrate family life like hitting the highways for a road trip and even hunting bugs. Atlanta Parent asked some of them about their lives as moms.

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Atlanta City Council  /  Mom to Lance, Langston, Lincoln and Lennox, ages 3-12

What’s your favorite activity for mother-child bonding?
We are a pretty busy family so just being able to spend a day at home with nothing scheduled for anyone is a real treat. It’s especially fun when we make a giant bowl of popcorn and sit together under blankets and watch movies. It sounds simple but it’s these kinds of moments that allow us to really bond as a family.

What are three words to describe your life right now?
Bustling, busy, blessed.

What do you do to nurture yourself?
Running helps keep me balanced. It is often the only activity that I do that is all about me. Running gives me a chance to relax, pray, plan birthday parties and troubleshoot some of the city’s challenges, sometimes all in just a three-mile run.

Emily Saliers

One Half of the Grammy Award-winning Indigo Girls  /  Mom to Cleo, age 1

What are three words to describe your life right now?
Full, tiring, happy.

What’s your favorite activity for mother-child bonding?
I love to read Cleo books any time of day or night. I also love to give her a bath with all of her bath animals. Our favorite songs to sing are “Happy Birthday,” “ABC’s” and “The Wheels on the Bus.”

What’s your best advice for other moms?
My best advice is to remember that “this too shall pass,” to take care of yourself as best you can, and the most important thing for a child is love.

Egypt Sherrod

Host of Property Virgins on HGTV  /  Mom to Kendall, 2

What’s your favorite activity for mother-child bonding?
I like to take Kendall to the baby gym. She tumbles and turns into a wild child, but her favorite activity is to read books together. I turn on the TV and she could care less. So I love the gym and she loves her mommy-and-Kendall book time.

What are three words to describe your life right now?
Love, transition and fulfilled.

What do you do to nurture yourself?
One word: Sleep. If you ask any parent of a toddler, they’ll probably tell you the same thing. Since she’s turned 2, she makes her own schedule. At 6:30 she pops up and the whole house is up. Sleep is my best friend. I also love my Bikram Yoga.

Nancy Grace

TV Host and Legal Analyst  /  Mom to 6-year-old twins Lucy and John David

What’s your favorite activity for mother-child bonding?
I read to them every single day. Last Saturday we read the whole day, then Sunday I read to them in the car while my husband drove to church. Then we sat in the car in the rain and finished the book. And this sounds crazy but we like to get our bug paraphernalia out and look for bugs. We also like to look for trolls and fairies.

What’s your best advice for other moms?
Follow your instinct. I think it’s because of my background, having had my fiancé murdered long ago, but every day to me is do or die. I try to make every day the best day I can for the twins. I know there are mundane things you’ve got to do. You’ve got to go to school. You’ve got to brush your teeth. But I try not to let a single moment slip away. I don’t do everything right but I have a lot of love.

How do you like to spend Mother’s Day?
I like to spend Mother’s Day with my children and husband. I don’t care where we are or what we’re doing. I don’t care if I get a fancy present. I just want to be with them. And of course Mother’s Day is on Sunday so we will be at church. My favorite gifts have been the crafts they make. One year they made me a cross. I wear it on my left arm as a bracelet and I’ve never taken it off since they gave it to me.

Asha Gomez

Chef at Cardamom Hill which has been featured in Southern Living and Bon Appétit  /  Mom to Ethan, 9

How do you like to spend Mother’s Day?
My son and I love high tea at the St. Regis Hotel. Ethan loves the pastries and the tea. I love the bonding time with him in the sumptuous and relaxing surroundings.

What do you do to nurture yourself?
I’m a firm believer that in order to nurture in ways mothers inevitably do, I first need to rejuvenate, recharge and replenish by spending time with myself. Sometimes that’s meandering away hours at my favorite café or watering hole, a solo trip to the mountains to a sweat lodge or finding bliss at Jejune Sauna.

What is your best advice for other moms?
I experience the push and pull and tugs at the heartstrings of every working mother oscillating between the reality of having to work for a living, actually enjoying what I do, and always feeling that there is never enough time to spend with my kid. I realize, though, that the best gift I can give him is being the example that having a passion for something and an avocation is one of the most fulfilling things in life.

Cynthia Bailey

The Real Housewives of Atlanta on Bravo  /  Mom to Noelle, 14

What are three words to describe your life right now?
Blessed, busy and busy!

What’s your favorite activity for mother-child bonding?
I know this sounds really simple, but my favorite mother-daughter bonding time with Noelle is taking her to school and picking her up. I always want to make sure that she starts her mornings off with my love, support and well wishes. This is our private time to talk about any issues that she may be having, to laugh together and listen to music and just be in the same space together. I love picking her up even more so I can find out how her day went. When Noelle has a good day, I have a good day!

What do you to nurture yourself?
I’m a homebody, so once a month I take the day off to just stay in bed and sleep and watch movies all day. I also love a spa day!

Portia Bruner

Reporter, Fox 5 News  /  Mom to Solomon, 7, and Asa, 5

How do you like to spend Mother’s Day?
Half-day of thrift store shopping, half day with the boys, preferably somewhere outdoors in the sun followed by an evening with no laundry to fold.

What do you do to nurture yourself?
I’m trying to take longer, relaxing showers after everyone has gone to bed. No lights, no TV, no music. Just scented candles that help me unwind. I’m also getting out more with the girls. Those are the nights I wear cute shoes and carry impractically small purses and try to remember that my sons really don’t need to see me every waking moment of my days off. The guys-only time with Dad is priceless to them and that’s when I get to practice more of that whole “me time” thing I hear folks talk about.

What’s your favorite activity for mother-child bonding?
I love praying with my sons before they go to bed and when they first wake up in the morning. Since our prayers aren’t really scripted, they just speak from the heart and that gives me a sense of what’s on their mind, what they’re worried about and what their concerns are. I also get a chance to hear what they’re thankful for on any given day.
The second fave – road trips! We try to make them memorable. Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery. The Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. The Lorraine Motel in Memphis. Gibson Factory Tours in Memphis. All of these trips helped the boys make practical connections with the historic events they hear about in school.
Plus the time on the road leaves the door wide open for a lot of great conversations. It helps that the boys are still young enough to love stopping at truck stops at gawking at 18-wheelers.