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 Tara Renee Jackson, 2021 North Carolina Mother of the Year®.
What does it mean to you to be selected as the Mother of the Year® in your state?
Wow, it means a lot. It means that I get to represent mothers all over the state of North Carolina. And I’m really passionate about being a parent. I have two children, and others who call me mom that I didn’t birth. But it really means a lot. It means that I get to share and I get to serve in a capacity that is greater than I’m used to. But I’m ready for it.
What do you love most about being a mom?
I love the fact that at some point when your children get older, they’ll be able to come back to you. And you can actually see the fruits of your labor, good or bad. So it really means that when the children come back, and they’re all grown up, and they get to tell you, especially after they have children, ‘Wow mom, you made it look really easy. But you told us it was going to be challenging.’ I think that’s really rewarding.
“I try to empower and encourage and inspire other women. I want other women and mothers to be the best that they can be. I have friends who are not mothers, and they feel as if they’re missing out on something. I explain to them all the time that there are reasons why everyone is chosen, or not chosen. But that either way, we have an obligation, if children are in our space, to show that motherhood.”Tara Renee Jackson, 2021 North Carolina Mother of the Year®
With your kids, and even your grandchildren, how do you encourage them to persevere and to not give up?
I try to be as transparent as I can. I learned a long time ago that if you wear a mask, and you hide yourself, no one else can learn [from you], you’re not able to share, and they’re not able to understand what you know and what you’ve actually gone through. So I tell my children and my grandsons, especially the oldest one, to keep going, because, at some point, you’re going to reap those rewards. I tell them all the time that life is hard. And if you quit, you’ll never know what you can become. I just encourage them to keep going if they need help. I believe in a village, I believe in having different people around you that can help you grow. I tell them all the time relationships are the most important thing that you can choose in life, your friends, who you have around you, you can’t choose your family. But you can choose your friends, and it’s wise to make great decisions when you’re doing that process.
At American Mothers, the Golden Rule Movement provides a platform for women who embody the selfless and caring spirit of motherhood, and who are using their maternal energy to make the world a better place. How would you say you exemplify the Golden Rule in your everyday life?
I try to empower and encourage and inspire other women. I want other women and mothers to be the best that they can be. I have friends who are not mothers, and they feel as if they’re missing out on something. I explain to them all the time that there are reasons why everyone is chosen, or not chosen. But that either way, we have an obligation, if children are in our space, to show that motherhood. I have a girlfriend who is a teacher, who really wanted to have children, and I told her all the time, ‘You have children in your space that you’ve been given. You can still give great advice, the advice that your mother has given you and your grandmother.’ So I just think it’s great all-around to be able to give back. To give to the community, or whenever you see children. I just feel we as mothers and women have an obligation to do that.
Tara Renee Jackson was born in Durham, NC, in an area known as Black Wall Street. At sixteen, Tara gave birth to her son, Sean. She was able to graduate high school with her peers, but delayed college to raise her son. Tara ensured he did his best in school, kept him involved in athletics and church weekly. In 1996, Tara married and had a daughter, Sydni. Tara was determined to keep her children on the right track in a city that, at the time, had one of the highest crime rates in the nation. At 44 years old, Tara earned her bachelor’s degree from Shaw University, followed by a master’s from University of Mount Olive. Tara is a member of Alpha Chi, a coeducational academic honor society and chairs the Single Mother’s Ministry at Southside Church of Christ in Durham, North Carolina.
Do you have moms in your life you’d like to nominate for the Mother of the Year® honor? Nominate them today!