‘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 Tiffany Gravelle, 2021 New Mexico Mother of the Year®.
What does it mean to you to be nominated for the Mother of the Year® for your state?
I was floored and blown away and so honored. But what it really means to me is it gives me a greater platform to stand on, to advocate, to share, to teach, to tell, to unite, to include. And that’s really the kind of standpoint I’m taking. It’s going to let me have a bigger voice in my community.
How many kids do you have and how long have you been married?
I have a blended family of seven. My two daughters and then three stepkids, a daughter, and a set of twins. It’ll be two years [of marriage] this year and our tenth year together. We started [our relationship] when the twins were five. And one of the reasons we kept delaying being married is because we knew it was so difficult to blend, so challenging to bring extended families together, to understand the kids, and moving houses and feelings with parents, school, and discipline. It was a tricky road to navigate.
We as a family have always practiced resiliency…and how we’re personally accountable to alter our viewpoint and change our situation. Honestly, the most powerful lesson of that is how we serve others because when you’re serving others, it immediately elevates your heart, your mind, and your gratitude.Tiffany Gravelle, 2021 New Mexico Mother of the Year®
Looking back, is there anything you would’ve done differently now that your kids are grown?
I was very career-driven in my early 20s. I had my first daughter at 24, almost 25, and my second daughter two years later, and I had the opportunity to work from home. I’ll always be super grateful for that because I was entrenched in the every day with them, but I wish I would have been a little bit more present. I allowed work to dictate more of my schedule than parenting, and that’s time you just don’t get back.
I also recently became a published author. I wrote a book called Blended, Not Stirred, where I shared our process to blending and the lessons that I learned because there were several instances where I wish I could have done it differently or thought through it better. You’re just so [focused on] doing the best you can that it’s hard to take a step back and breathe. That’s why I wrote the book, so that other parents who were blending or going through the same experience might have a little more insight into the process, and not miss the really important stuff that’s going on.
As a mom, what do you do for yourself to relax and unwind?
This is something I’ve had to really teach myself to do and hone in on. I’m a cheerleader and a celebrator and a lover by nature, so I had to learn to say no to my kids, first of all. The way I take care of myself is I set goals of things that I want to accomplish that are important to me, and I spend time on them.
The last few years have been hard for our kids and they’ve wanted to give up and throw in the towel. What do you do to encourage your children not to give up?
We, as a family, have always practiced resiliency. My daughter got early practice when I was a single mom. Our income disappeared, and their daddy moved away, and they didn’t want to have their friends come to our apartment because it was embarrassing, and so I’ve always taught them to be resilient and grateful, especially through the pandemic. It helped because they knew the kind of cards they were dealt and what they had to play with. We worked on ‘how do we solve for this?’ and ‘what’s going to make it a better experience for us?’ and how we’re personally accountable to alter our viewpoint and change our situation. Honestly, the most powerful lesson of that is how we serve others because when you’re serving others, it immediately elevates your heart, your mind, and your gratitude.
At American Mothers, the Golden Rule Movement provides a platform for women who embody the selfless 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’m involved as a volunteer with my local school district, so I reached out to their title one department and told them I wanted to collect gifts to make sure people here have a Christmas. I wanted to create an experience for them, so I reached out to my community, and I created contact list donations. My original goal [for the Make Merry Project] was to help 200 families and 500-600 kids get a new gift, and we exceeded that. We were able to serve 850 children and a little over 300 families, and one woman. She was so touched and so emotional. She told me if we hadn’t had this event that there was no chance they would have had Christmas.
Tiffany Gravelle is an author, professional events planner, and business consultant with over 25 years of experience in business development, leadership and managing high-performing teams, including her blended family of seven. She holds the Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) designation from the Events Industry Council and is a Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE). You will never catch Tiffany without her trusty paper planner and black coffee. As a New Mexico native, Tiffany orders her chile “Christmas” and never tires of exploring the diverse cities and cultures of her beautiful home. She is passionate about hunger insecurity, domestic violence prevention, and education initiatives across the state. When she is not celebrating everyone and everything by spreading joy, Tiffany is a mom and proud stepmom of two teenagers and three adults, the wife of a mountain bike addict, a lake rat, Red Sox fan, avid reader, foodie, and dog-lover.
Do you have moms in your life you’d like to nominate for the Mother of the Year® honor? Nominate them today!