‘It Takes a Mom’ interview series highlights our recent Mother of the Year® honorees by sharing their stories every week. These moms from across the country contribute to our collective voice as mothers. They show us how they harness their maternal energy and how it really does take a mom to do it all! Here’s our interview with Calli Kwon, 2021 Rhode Island Mother of the Year®.
What does it mean to you being selected Mother of the Year® in your state?
Honestly, it’s just very humbling. I feel like I know so many amazing moms both in my state and elsewhere, and being recognized as someone exemplary in the area is very humbling. Especially in this pandemic, I feel like the most comforting thing is that we are all doing something different, and we are all exactly the right moms that our kids need. Even in my being a mom, and obviously not always getting it right, I am encouraged that my kids are the kids that I’m supposed to have. And I’m the mom they’re supposed to have. So it’s humbling to be recognized as being a good one.
So what do you love most about being a mom?
I have always wanted to be a mom. I went to college and got a degree in early childhood so that I could be a better mom, even if I didn’t have a career. I feel like being a mom is the way in which I feel God’s pleasure the most. It’s really what I was meant to do, and I’m the most fulfilled in just being a mom. I’ve never had necessarily career aspirations like my career aspiration was being a mom, so I love that I get to do that. I love that I get to be home with my kids every day. The days are long, but I’m very thankful that I’m here for them. I think the other sweet thing this past year is that my husband has been working from home and has been able to enjoy some of these with our kids, and he wouldn’t have gotten that opportunity before that. There’s nothing earth-shattering. There’s nothing to pinpoint. It’s just the journey of actually getting to do it and raising my kids.
If you ask my kids what belongs to them, they’ll say nothing. Because nothing does, but nothing belongs to me either. Right? Everything has been entrusted to me. And so I think instilling that in our kids when they’re young and helping them realize that even if everything were to disappear, we would still have everything we need.Calli Kwon, 2021 Rhode Island Mother of the Year®
How would you encourage your children to not give up, to keep going, to keep trying?
I think a lot of it has to do with raising them now. It has to do with treating them as adults when they’re little and expecting them to make the right decisions, and encouraging them in those things. Having a faith background is also helpful for our kids because they have sort of an end goal to look forward to. They realize it doesn’t really matter what happens in this life because we have a hope that’s bigger than this life. I think that makes enduring whatever it is that you’re going through that much easier because that’s the thing that you’ve been given to endure right now. I think there’s a beauty in doing it well, even if you don’t want to, especially if you don’t want to. There’s a grace in carrying yourself through something that isn’t fun. We haven’t necessarily experienced the big things, but they don’t like chores or brushing their teeth. But they know that they trust my husband and I, and they trust that we are doing it for their own good. And even if there are fights and tears along the way, the consistency of ensuring those things happen is not going to stop.
One of our main things with American Mothers is the Golden Rule movement. It provides a platform for women who embody the selfless caring spirit of motherhood, and who are using that maternal energy to make the world a better place. How would you exemplify that Golden Rule in your everyday life?
I have gotten involved with a local nonprofit that helps homeless pregnant moms. I think that that was a big thing we, especially living in the city, tried to encourage with our kids. We always had snacks, extra gloves or things like that because it’s a big need in the city of Providence. Anytime we would pass an intersection, or somebody was stationed, we would have things to offer. I think allowing my kids to see that when somebody asks you, give if you can. So yes, getting involved with Little Flower Home has just been life-giving for me. I hope that my kids will be able to be involved in some aspects down the road. I’m going to be just mostly offering rides. I’ve been supporting one host family in particular, who is housing a mom who has a now four-month-old, I think. Pregnancy has always fascinated me since I was a kid, so being able to still be involved in that world has been really helpful. It’s just time in which you need a lot of support, and I wanted to provide support for people that don’t really have any.
One thing that my kids know, that’s just on a personal level, is whenever a birthday or Christmas when they know that they’re going to get things, we make a big point of going through the things that we have. So when my son turned five, for example, he had to choose five things, from toys that he just didn’t really play with anymore. We’ve talked a lot about where those things would go, we worked together to try to find the right place to bring things, and we do that periodically. They have to call the number of items for the age that they are. So even my two-year-old did it this year for his birthday. That is been really helpful. If you ask my kids what belongs to them, they’ll say nothing. Because nothing does, but nothing belongs to me either. Right? Everything has been entrusted to me. And so I think instilling that in our kids when they’re young and helping them realize that even if everything were to disappear, we would still have everything we need.
Calli Kwon is a New England native who has landed in beautiful Barrington, RI. Though she seriously questions this locale every February, she quickly remembers why she’s here from May to October. Calli earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies through the University of Connecticut and exhibited deep care and understanding of the process of life from an early age. She has always thrived when working with young children and discovered a similar heart for working with expectant parents and those with young children. Calli has been married to her best friend James since 2012, and together have welcomed two sons, Max and Gus. She is blessed to spend her days with her two young sons, teaching them and learning to find beauty in the mundane, magic in the ordinary, and the love of Jesus within us all.