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Shelia Brookins with her Family

It Takes a Mom: Interview with Sharon Donlin, 2021 Iowa Mother of the Year®

June 24, 2021


‘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 Sharon Donlin, the 2021 Iowa Mother of the Year®.

What do you love most about being a mom?

I love the fun that we have together. And the fact that as the girls matured, we’ve become best friends. When they need to run something by somebody or just get another opinion, they call me first, and I like that. However, I call them also… I’m just so proud of how they have turned out—just doing what they learned, doing good for other people and being happy people themselves.

What does being Mother of the Year in your state mean to you?

At first, it was just kind of shocking. I truly could not believe it. I kept arguing and saying, “NO!” and you kept saying, “yeah!” It was humbling. What an honor! And you know, my cheering section—my girls— said, “Well mother, of course, you’re so deserving!”

…the listening part is really important [in encouraging a person to persevere and not give up]. People need to be to open up and say what they really feel.

Sharon Donlin, 2021 Iowa Mother of the Year®

So throughout the years with your daughters and grandkids, and even your involvement in your church working with other kids, when a child wants to give up how do you encourage that person to persevere and push through it and not give up?

Right now, for example, my 22-year-old grandson is going through some very serious health issues. It’s a lot to carry on young shoulders. But getting him to open up to talk about how he feels and suggesting some possible things to help, he finally came around and got the help he needed. He’s looking toward the future now. He’s looking down the road, like maybe six months, and then he wants to do this, this and this. I’m going to get a little teary here. I am just so thankful that we could be there for him and help him through. I think even if it wasn’t somebody in my family, the listening part is really important. People need to be to open up and say what they really feel.

American Mothers’ 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 everyday life?

It’s through a saying that a friend of mine in Bible study shared that has just stuck with me. It goes, “live so that people who know you, but don’t know God, come to know God, because they know you.” And that just kind of sums it all up for me. If one can live that way, wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Sharon Donlin was born and raised in LeMars, Iowa. She graduated in 1956, attended Iowa State and Minnesota University until serious health issues ended her plan to be a physical therapist. Sharon chose to stay home with their two daughters until they were well established in school. She worked in the human services field, starting at a funeral home, her most difficult and rewarding job. She worked as an Administrative Assistant to the CEO of Children’s Square USA, a multifaceted organization for troubled youth, and finally worked for 20 years at a local hospital in the mental health area, retiring at the age of 80. In retirement, Sharon still keeps busy with church, community, and family activities plus playing with her 90-pound dog and small kitten.

Do you have moms in your life you’d like to nominate for the Mother of the Year® honor? Nominate them today!