Dr. LaTarsha Holden, the 2020 National Mother of the Year®, has persevered through some big storms, and now she uses her voice to share where she finds strength and what matters most in her life. During the 2021 National Convention of American Mothers, Atlanta native Dr. Holden joined us to share her story and spoke about standing strong during the storms in our lives.
At 35 years old she was homeless, uneducated, and underemployed, with six children to support. On the brink of hopelessness, she began to think of her purpose and legacy. “I realized that as I was going through the storm, as long as I kept my focus and chased purpose and not perfection, I was doing well,” she said. Dr. Holden had to get to a place where she — as someone who was “the black sheep of the family” — had to always remember to chase purpose. “If I waited for the time to be right to pursue anything, there was no way I would have done anything.”
At that time, she decided to enroll in college to bring her family out of homelessness. Dr. Holden earned her A.A., B.A., MBA and was accepted into the Ph.D. program for a Doctorate in Leadership Studies. During this time she began her writing career and has become a published author, fourteen times over. Her discipline to focus on her purpose led by faith and her passion to be a servant leader have been her pillars of strength. In her faith, she also found her commitment to knowing what’s important to her. “When we were homeless, I never saw a U-Haul following a funeral procession. It was then I realized that the most important things in life are not the things that we strive so hard after,” she said during her guest speech at AMI’s first virtual convention on May 1, 2021. “The things that have the most value are really the small things.”
Soon after, she decided to run for City Council in the 2017 election to stand with the homeless community, single mothers, for affordable housing, and those in low-income communities. Her passion to serve others continues. “I believe as a servant leader that when we depart from this world, the only thing that will last and have eternal value is what we did for others.” This has been at the heart of how she raises her six children, now aged between 18 to 32 years. Dr. Holden has guided her children to give back and be led by faith, kindness, love, and compassion.
During her speech to over 80 attendees at the 86th National Convention, Dr. Holden shared her insights into parenthood and more specifically motherhood. She spoke of times where, as parents, we see what other people’s children are doing and hear family members bragging about their kids, and how we sometimes can put judgment on our own kids. “I had to learn how to love my children for who they are, and how to love them for their gifts and talents,” she said. “Take the time to learn your child. When we take the time to learn our children, we can love and nurture them according to who they are and not who we want them to be.”
Dr. Holden also spoke at length of the resiliency of mothers through her story and pointed out how over the years American Mothers, Inc. has recognized these resilient, inspirational mothers and the work and communities they carry with them. “You are generational curse breakers. You are the chosen ones. There are so many people tied to you as you do what God has called you to do. There are so many people tied to you as you persevere through the storm. So when you give up, so many people fall to the wayside. But when you keep going, there are so many people that grow up and come up with you. And that’s why parenting is so hard,” she said.
We are grateful to have Dr. LaTarsha Holden as last year’s National Mother of the Year®, representing the resiliency and strength of mothers all across the globe. At American Mothers, Inc., we believe that the journey through motherhood comes with highs and lows and that every mother has a built-in instinct and maternal energy to persevere through every big or small storm in her life. AMI is an 86-year-old non-profit organization recognizing the hard work, resiliency, and impact of mothers across the country.
Read about the 2021 National Mother of the Year®, Dr. Mautra Staley Jones, here and meet the 2021 Mother of the Year® state honorees here. We’re now accepting nominations for 2022 Mother of the Year honorees. Nominate a mom who inspires you!