‘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 Doris Feilmeier, the 2021 Nebraska Mother of the Year®.
What does it mean to be selected as Nebraska Mother of the Year®?
First of all, I was pretty sure I didn’t qualify. But after I had neighbors and friends and family congratulating me saying it was such a good honor and well-deserved, I thought ‘Wow, this is really cool.’ Not only have I accepted the fact that this honor is mine, but I think it gives such a tribute to my mother and her mother, and I think it doesn’t seem so bad accepting an honor when I know it wasn’t all mine — that it was because of her upbringing that I got to be who I am. If I can just be a tenth of what she is, I will feel like I have accomplished a lot.
What do you love most about being a mom?
You know, I can never see my kids enough. I love them so much. As they were growing up, going into their room in the morning and seeing how happy they were and the smile they had and the hugs we got. As they got older, that didn’t change. I’m just so proud of what they’ve accomplished what they’ve done with their lives and how they’re bringing up their children. I’m proud to see them with their children and have that same look in their eyes that I have for them.
“I was never afraid to admit I was wrong with the kids. You know, if I had a bad day, and I would lose my temper, at night, I’d come in and sit on their bed and I’d say ‘I am sorry. I hope you understand. I didn’t mean to. I was having a bad day.’ I’ve told them 1000 times over to not be afraid to admit they’re wrong.”Doris Feilmeier, 2021 Nebraska Mother of the Year®
Maybe now or even when your kids were younger, was there a time they wanted to throw in the towel on something, and what is it that you would tell them so they would not give up?
I look back at my hard days and realize that was just God preparing me for the good days. I mean, you don’t get the bad without the good and you don’t get the good without the bad. I guess I would tell them to pray about it. We have different prayers for different reasons and different saints for different reasons too. I almost lost my sons to ulcerative colitis, and then about six months ago, I just about lost my daughter…it was the prayer that got us all through that.
At American Mothers, our Golden Rule Movement provides a platform for women who embody the selfless caring spirit of motherhood, and who are using that maternal energy to make a world a better place. How would you say you exemplify that Golden Rule in your everyday life?
I was never afraid to admit I was wrong with the kids. You know, if I had a bad day, and I would lose my temper, at night, I’d come in and sit on their bed and I’d say ‘I am sorry. I hope you understand. I didn’t mean to. I was having a bad day.’ I’ve told them 1000 times over to not be afraid to admit they’re wrong. That’s probably one of the biggest things.
I’m kind of a firm believer in putting a smile on your face even when it’s really tough. When I was working last Sunday, I had a client on the other side of where I was working and he was just attacking me about everything I was doing. He must have been about 82, I suppose. I finally reached across and took his hand and said ‘You know what, I had a really good day today and you can’t ruin it.’ He didn’t say another word but a couple of days later he came in and said ‘I don’t know how you do it but you’re a really good person, you know that?’ That was somebody standing behind me letting me know that I needed to stay strong. There was a day where I couldn’t have done that, but I guess I’ve gotten a little smarter over the years.
Doris Feilmeier grew up on a farm going to a country school with eight grades in one room. She came from a family of eight other siblings. All the children were expected to help with meals, laundry, cleaning, milking, and other outside chores. They were taught to cook and bake at home and care for their younger siblings. After graduating from high school, Doris moved to Lincoln to work in a bank. After a couple of years, she returned home to marry her high school sweetheart. They bought a farm in Hartington and raised eight children. During this time she also cared for the elderly in a nursing home, worked in the school cafeteria, and did home health care for many. She has been managing a service station for the last 19 years, and nine years ago, she undertook the job of managing another service station. She loves to work with people and when having a tough day, she always says, “The day is what you make it. You can either have a bad day or a good day…it’s your choice.” Doris’s hobbies are quilting, baking, and being outdoors.
Do you have moms in your life you’d like to nominate for the Mother of the Year® honor? Nominate them today!