‘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 Julie A. King, 2021 New Hampshire Mother of the Year®.
What does it mean to you to be selected as the Mother of the Year® in your state?
To use a pop culture phrase, “It’s everything!” Right? When you think about my journey to becoming a mother—I was married and I couldn’t have children. And the only thing I ever knew from when I was a small child that I wanted to do with my life was to be a mother. I remember driving in my car and I was like 40 years old, and I said, “I’m divorced now. I have to accept that it’s not going to happen, and God’s got a reason for it.” So then I just started helping kids through my church, and I became known as ‘Mama Jules.’ I taught teen Sunday school for a number of years. So when I look at the group of women in my state, the diversity, and the amazing accomplishments, I get to represent them as one person? That to me is a huge responsibility. But it also is such a blessing given the journey that it took me to get here.
What do you love most about being a mom?
What I love most about being a mom are those special moments that only he and I share. And I know as he gets older that changes. We were at ninja class this morning; it’s him from across the room getting ready to swing on a rope to some high-up thing. He just looks over across the room at me and he gives me that thumbs up and I’m just like, “That’s awesome.” You know, it doesn’t get better than that. It’s the morning snuggles. It’s watching him not be afraid to approach other kids and be a good friend and a good human. Those moments are just awesome.
If you could do something different as a mother, what would that be?
I think it would be to break down the barriers that mothers face in terms of time and resources. Really empowering women to stop beating themselves up as mothers. There’s never enough of you to go around, but you still need to teach them by your own accomplishments—”I can do this.” I would love to change that and have women feel better about their choices. There are so many days where I hear friends say, “I feel like I’m a terrible mother. I lost my cool. Well, you’re Mother of the Year®, you never lose your cool.” No, that’s not what Mother of the Year® is. I feel like I have this whole speech I carry around to kind of clarify, but it’s really about how do we empower other women to feel good about being mothers and like raising children.
When your son is doing things, how do you encourage him to not give up if it’s something hard that he wants to try to do?
I’m just his biggest cheerleader. I always talk to him about how the two of us are a team. And so when I feel like I can’t do something, I’m like, “Buddy, you need to cheer me on.” And I do the same for him. So it’s really trying to tell him that he can do it. That even if you don’t do it as well as you think somebody else would, it’s ‘did you do it better than you did it the first time?’
So when I look at the group of women in my state, the diversity and the amazing accomplishments, I get to represent them as one person? And that to me is a huge responsibility. But it also is such a blessing given the journey that it took me to get here.Julie A. King, 2021 New Hampshire Mother of the Year®
What else do you do in your community to help make a difference?
I do work through my church. I lead the women’s ministry, and that, especially during COVID, is very tricky. So I host a Monday night Bible study. And then we have sort of chat time to talk about how can we make a difference for others. There’s a lot of people who have been shut in and are lonely, so how do we mail them cards, how do we make time to make a phone call, things like that. I also have a 20-year-old, who, seven years ago, I met through my church and I became his Mama Jules and I have poured into him. He and Daniel are like brothers. He is in the National Guard and he’s doing great. So for me, it’s figuring out who around you can you pour into. Within the community, I’ve done homeless outreach. I’ve been down to Texas and Louisiana nine times building houses after hurricanes and fires. I would never side my own house, but I’m a heck of a helper siding somebody else’s.
The only thing Julie A. King ever knew she wanted to be was a mother. Growing up, her parents, Frank O. and Sherry A. King were active in their church and community, helping children and teens and fostering several children in the late 1960s. Julie followed in their footsteps, teaching and mentoring teens and young adults in her church, participating in mission work, helping rebuild nine houses in Louisiana and Texas after Hurricane Rita, and helping at the homeless ministry. In 2017, while helping a struggling single grandmother who had recently taken custody of her three grandchildren, Julie felt the call to become a foster parent. In 2017, she began her foster care journey when she took in a 17-month-old boy. Three years later, Julie adopted her son. Julie is a single parent who works full time at Bauer Hockey as a Senior Manager of Training and Community Development. Julie was instrumental in developing Bauer’s philanthropic platform in support of families. Under Julie’s leadership, #BauerGivesBack serves families in greatest need, providing financial support, hockey gear, and inspirational experiences to families in need. In her free time, you will find Julie enjoying adventures with her son, leading Women’s Ministry at her church, and spending time with family.