‘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 Maria Thorpe, 2021 Maryland Mother of the Year®.
What does it mean to you being selected Mother of the Year® for your state?
It is an awesome honor. I was so surprised to be selected from such a wonderful group of women who could have easily been selected. It’s an opportunity to be an ambassador for our mothers, to get out in the community and try to let them know what I stand for, things that I’m interested in, like mentoring and helping children and families, and my platform, of course, teaching STEM education. So this is a wonderful honor. And I’m looking forward to meeting some of the other mothers across this country.
I’ve always found in my life that someone has given something to me, whether it was their time, or their knowledge, or just a kind word, and so being able to give back and share experiences and the different organizations that I support.Maria Thorpe, 2021 Maryland Mother of the Year®
What do you love most about being a mom?
I never thought I was going to be a mom. It wasn’t even on my radar, but once I became a mom, it was just surreal. The love that an individual can have for someone and how someone can have that back to you—just being able to guide and love another human being into a wonderful grown adult, or just sharing your knowledge with them and watching them grow—All of it has been fantastic. My husband and I have enjoyed every single minute of it. But mostly, I can’t believe how fast it went.
How do you encourage your children to not give up and to keep persevering?
I always say, “Everything that is worth having is worth working for.” And another mantra that I have in our household is “See it, believe it, achieve it,” meaning, dream it, put your plan together to believe in it, and all the actions you take will help you achieve it. [I tell them to] be a mentor, get a mentor because this thing we call life is not to live alone. It’s to work together to help others because in helping others, you’re helping yourself. So just telling them to persevere, to be good, kind people, and to work hard for whatever it is that you want.
What do you do to relax, disengage and take some time for yourself?
I love reading. I love being outside in the sun. Outside of walking and reading, I love sports. I shoot hoops a little bit. [I enjoy] doing active things and being engaged. My husband and I have a chess club, so we’re teaching chess. Interacting with the kids is relaxing, and watching them grow is relaxing. But for me, just a hot bath, a book, and a chance to walk.
The 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 the world a better place. How would you say you exemplify the golden rule in your every day life?
Giving back. I’ve always found in my life that someone has given something to me, whether it was their time, or their knowledge, or just a kind word, and so being able to give back and share experiences and the different organizations that I support. One of the things we use in my household growing up is, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” so I try to live by that as a golden rule. Giving back and sharing what I have with the people in my community and my family.
Maria Thorpe was the first in her family of eight to graduate from college with a degree in
engineering. There were some who didn’t think she would succeed, but she was determined. Along the way she had various mentors supporting her goals. Due to the support she received, she wanted to give back to her community by motivating, uplifting and encouraging youth to find their path to success through science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. For over 20 years, Thorpe has been involved with STEM activities and education for our youth. She has worked tirelessly, mentoring students, speaking at schools and career fairs, providing tours of her labs and having students shadow her to experience a day in the life of an engineer. She was even invited to the White House to discuss STEM careers with underrepresented students. Through these activities over the years, she had engaged thousands of students.