‘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 Mary Schreindorfer, 2021 Vermont Mother of the Year®.
What does it mean to you to be selected Mother of the Year® for your state?
Being selected as the Mother of the Year® for the state of Vermont is an incredible honor. It is also a very humbling experience. It’s an honor for me because I feel that the profession, the vocation of being a mother, is critically important to our society. I don’t think it gets enough attention or credit for the impact that we have on others. But it’s humbling because I know so many other women who are very worthy of this honor.
What do you love most about being a mom?
Being a mom is just a great blessing, a huge challenge, and a wonderful opportunity. I feel that as moms, we have such an opportunity to impact another’s life, to nurture it to help it grow in a deeply personal way. We can do many things in our lives—we can impact people’s lives in incredible ways in the work we do and the positions we hold. But I believe that mothers have a deeply personal way of impacting the world. We’re creating tomorrow’s citizens and the leaders of our world, communities, states, and nation.
How would you encourage your children to not give up and to keep pushing on?
I believe that the pandemic has been a very troubling time for a lot of people. I think that troubling times are opportunities for growth—that we have a chance here as parents to help our children to recognize that things don’t always go smoothly, that things in our life many times are out of our control, and that we need to dig deep into the gifts that God has given each of us to look for the positives. And to reach out to others and try to make their days better, to make their world better. As individuals, we can do that. We may not be able to change the whole world and what’s going on, but we can do our part. If everybody was doing that, then it brings about goodness in the world. And in that, I think we need to teach our children about any challenge they face—to look for the positives and the helpers. And we want our children to be those people!
One of the main things at American Mothers, Inc. 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 do you exemplify the Golden Rule in your everyday life?
Exemplifying the Golden Rule in my own life is something that I work toward every day. Whether I’m helping my grandchildren to give them a stable place during these very challenging times, helping them appreciate the world, the natural world they live in. Whether it’s helping an elderly neighbor, or working in a religious education program, teaching children about the love God has for each of them, or supporting a family through grief, I think that there are opportunities all around us. There are all kinds of things we can do, things we don’t need to have some special training to do.
Mary Howrigan Schreindorfer was born in 1951 to W. Robert and F. Virginia Mawn Howrigan. As the second oldest child in a family of nine, Mary and her siblings worked and played on the family dairy and maple sugaring farm in Fairfield, Vermont. Those formative years and Mary’s Roman Catholic faith instilled values of teamwork, responsibility, honesty, integrity, and service to others. After graduating from Trinity College, Burlington, Vermont, in 1973, Mary married John Schreindorfer and that fall began teaching. Mary left her formal teaching position a few years later when she and John started their family. They had four children, a son Brendan and three daughters Sarah, MaryKay and Kelly. While raising their family, Mary was active in church and community and worked part-time. Upon retirement from her office position, Mary has continued church and community service. Many days now, you will also find her helping to care for her elderly Mother or for any number of their 12 grandchildren.