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Hotzler: The meaning of "mom"

The definitions of parenting and motherhood are broader than you realize

Mary Jo Hotzler.jpg
Nichole Seitz Photography
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What does it mean to be a mom?

If you ask me, the first paragraph of our Mod Mom profile this month sums it up nicely:

“Women mother more than just kids. Some women mother extended family members, some mother ideas and organizations and many mother animals as well as children in their lives.”

It’s an interesting way to look at motherhood and all of the ways a person can provide this unique blend of nurturing, support and love to others in their lives. After all, the word “mother” can be both a noun and a verb.

In my life, I am a mom to twin boys. They turned 12 years old in March, and I can’t quite wrap my head around this being the last year before the teenage years hit. But like most of us, I mother so much more than my kids — at home, work and in life.


Of course, broadening the concept and definition of mothering doesn’t minimize the actual feat of bringing a child into the world and all that comes with that — mentally and physically. That’s a big deal, too, and in this edition of On the Minds of Moms, we have a story that speaks to the physical impacts of childbirth. More specifically, our story is about c-section recovery and how to overcome issues like loss of core strength, urinary incontinence and back pain.

Meanwhile in our cover story this month, we introduce you to Crystal Knight and her husband Jeff. Crystal is a mom to two children, and together Crystal and Jeff are proud foster parents. In the story Jeff says being a foster parent has amplified a notion he already had before meeting his wife and her kids:“I knew the kids didn’t have to be mine, they didn’t have to come from me for me to love them.” Jeff and Crystal hope more people will consider this path.

As always, please continue to share your story ideas with us at and enjoy this edition of the magazine.

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