‘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 Janeway, 2021 Tennessee Mother of the Year®.
What does it mean to you to be selected as the Mother of the Year® in your state?
It’s an honor. I’m very privileged to even be nominated, much less to be the Mother of the Year® for Tennessee. I’m very excited. I think it’s an opportunity to help other people and to tell someone that they too can be Mother of the Year.
What do you love most about being a mom?
Unconditional love. You never know what loving someone is until you’ve carried a child and been a mother, and nurtured, taught and guided them, and watch them sprout their wings.
What do you do to encourage your children to never give up?
Fake it till you make it, put on some red lipstick and smile. And don’t ever let anybody know that you’re falling on the inside. Just go and give it everything you’ve got. And I’ll always be here to catch you when you fall and to push you harder.
I try my best to give above and beyond and try to treat everybody like I would want someone to treat my mother. That’s how I teach my kids to just give with your whole heart always.Doris Janeway, 2021 Tennessee Mother of the Year®
Does your family get out and do other things in the community?
I live my whole life to help someone else. I would sacrifice every last breathing breath in me to help someone else. I’ve always done that, and I’ve always taught my kids to do that. And sometimes, I have literally said, “What are you doing?” and they say, “Mom, we’re acting like you. This is what you taught us to do.”
Just an incident not very long ago, my daughter had just bought a brand new mattress and a bed. She didn’t have one. And then somebody I knew their house burned down, and they were in a really bad car wreck all in the same 24 hours. And when they came out of the hospital, they had nothing. My daughter gave them her brand new mattress. So I said, “Now you don’t have a bed.” And she said, “Mom, you taught me to give until it hurt. And I learned it from you. And you can’t say anything to me. Then you always give unconditionally. You just give and don’t ever expect anything in return.”
I don’t want to give myself praise at all. But I feed the community every Tuesday. I started it almost two years ago, and I’ve fed over 4,000 people. And I started feeding kids. I started because, in the community where I was at, there were lots of kids—the smallest one I had on a regular basis was four—and teenagers whose parents chose other things, and some were homeless kids or children that had nothing and nobody who cared for them.
I average 50 to 75 every Tuesday. That’s just one example of things that I do to give back to the community. I try my best to give above and beyond and try to treat everybody like I would want someone to treat my mother. That’s how I teach my kids to just give with your whole heart always.
Do you feed them out of your house?
I cook the meals at my house. I start sometimes as early as five o’clock in the morning. I prepare the meals, I dish them up in to-go boxes and I put them in grocery bags. I put in everything they need, a fork or spoon. If I’ve got extra things—chips, snacks; in the winter, gloves, socks, hats, chapstick—whatever I can add to it. And then I put totes and boxes in the back of my van and I drive to where I know the homeless people and underprivileged children in the community are.
Doris Janeway is a 46-year-old mother of three beautiful girls. A Mimi to 2 precious grandsons and an awesome granddaughter. Doris is a home healthcare nurse. Doris is a youth leader, a wife, very positive, caring, hardworking woman. Doris gets a little sideways and crazy at times. Doris is a strong, happy, and confident woman. Doris would graciously give her last of whatever to even a stranger. Doris loves unconditionally. Doris was a single mom working as many as five jobs for over 10 years. Doris is very independent and passionate. Doris’s mission in life is to take whatever life throws her and makes the best of everything. When Doris falls she will get up and dust herself off and keep pushing, keep fighting. She loves with her whole being and will forgive even the ugliest of wrongdoings. Doris feeds the homeless and loves caring for teenagers.
Do you have moms in your life you’d like to nominate for the Mother of the Year® honor? Nominate them today!