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state mother of the year
Headshot of Karen Connell, Wisconsin Mother of the Year 2023

Meet Karen Connell, 2023 Wisconsin Mother of the Year®

August 22, 2023


Karen Connell grew up on a small farm in southeastern Wisconsin. She started a sales career early by selling strawberries and sweet corn at a roadside stand. Karen attended the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater and earned a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s in education. She taught high school business and economics classes for 25 years and continues to be involved with young people by teaching Drivers Education and Behind the Wheel. Karen Connell has been married for thirty-three years and has five children. In addition to providing childcare for several children, her family was entrusted with caring for five foster children over the course of several years.

What surprises you most about being a mom?

Having 5 of my own children and several foster children I have learned that there is no one perfect method for dealing with kids. I was surprised to learn that even though they could be born into the same family, each child is different and the most successful way to deal with each of them is very individualized. Each child has their own unique needs, gifts, and preferences. I believe it takes every wit you have, lots of trial and error, and lots of patience to be able to know what is going to work for each child.

Who has been impactful in your journey as a mother? What lessons do you carry with you and often share through motherhood?

My parents, of course. From the unconditional love of my father, I learned that family is the most important thing. From my mother, I always learned to have a sense of fun and play. Both my parents were very focused on having us learn independence and a strong sense of self.

What continues to inspire you in your motherhood journey?

Helping others inspires me to move forward in my motherhood journey. I love helping others, especially when they need childcare help. I LOVE “littles” both babies and children of any age. It is a well-known fact that I am a “baby hog”. Friends and family cannot expect to get baby-holding time if I am around. I love watching them grow and develop into young children, then teens, then adults, and eventually become parents themselves.