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state mother of the year

Meet Taylor Whitson, 2023 Pennsylvania Mother of the Year®

March 22, 2023


Taylor was born and raised in a small town near Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she developed a love for photography and traveling at a young age. She attended college at Jacksonville State University where she earned a Bachelor of Art with a concentration in photography. During her time at Jacksonville State University, Taylor was selected for the Disney College Program where she would work as a PhotoPass Photographer at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida. During this time she met her eventual husband, Casey, an active-duty Marine serving in Jacksonville, North Carolina, as an Aviation Ordnanceman. Taylor and Casey were married 18 months later and eventually welcomed their son, Finley. Now as a family of three, they are enjoying the “four seasons” while stationed in Central Pennsylvania. On top of being a stay-at-home mom, Taylor works as a Magic Maker® with Off to Neverland Travel® planning unforgettable adventures for her clients. As a military spouse and mom, Taylor recognizes the importance of community and is honored to lead The Military Mom Collective.

What surprises you most about being a mom?

I was surprised most by the changes in my marriage. I know you hear “a child changes everything,” but I wasn’t prepared for how much my love for my husband would grow too. Watching him with our son stretches my heart in ways I never knew before. We also became a stronger team. Some days it’s him and I against the world. On other days, we are the ones putting on a brave face together to endure THE TODDLER. He is my safe place and I thank the Lord every day that I am “mom” alongside that “dad.”

Who has been impactful in your journey as a mother?

For the majority of my life, my mom was single. She showed sacrifice, independence, and strength in ways I would never comprehend (sometimes still can’t fathom) until I became a mom. I tell people now that her willingness to not hide/sugarcoat her struggles with my brother and I have impacted the way I “solo-parent” while my husband serves our country. She showed that it can be done and while it won’t be easy, it is rewarding to see what can be accomplished when it feels way too heavy to carry alone. The reward? She is now my very best friend.

How has being a mom shaped your life?

I have a deeper sense of compassion and understanding. I became more intentional with my time and also my decisions due to the constant watching of little eyes. Lastly, I became more appreciative, especially of my own mother, and seeing firsthand the sacrifices we make as moms. My journey through motherhood is scary and overwhelming at times but every day I am grateful for the way it is molding and shaping me.