When you become a mom, you quickly become part of a sisterhood unlike any other. You are not alone in your worries, joy, frustration, confusion, elation and all the emotions that motherhood brings with it. So what keeps moms from burying their heads in the sand, throwing in the towel or running away from home? The fact that by day’s end, being a mom is one of the greatest roles you will ever have in life.
Famous moms, the mom next door or the mom you read about in a magazine article all have struggles, challenges and adversity to overcome. And then there are those moms who embrace motherhood and use it to propel their dreams, their passions and their hearts. Here are 15 inspiring moms who will surely put a smile on your face and bring comfort to your soul:
Hillary Clinton: Mother, lawyer, presidential candidate, secretary of state—what has Hillary Clinton not done? Whether you agree with her politics or not, you cannot deny that she is the prime example of a woman who found a way to successfully balance motherhood, a career and politics.
Mother Teresa: While she did not have children of her own, she was the protector, advocate and mother of poor, homeless, hungry and ill children and adults. By 2007, her Missionaries of Charity had six hundred schools, shelters and missions all over the world. (photo credit)
Michelle Obama: Raising two daughters can be difficult enough, but raising them in the White House no doubt provides a bit more of a challenge—especially when the whole world is watching. But Michelle pulls it off with style, grace and an almost effortless way. Her strong platform on health and fitness inspires both kids and moms to take care of themselves. (photo credit)
Ursula Burns: Aside from being a mom, Ursula Burns is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Xerox. Even more impressive—she is the first African-American woman to hold such an important role. Back in 2009, she was rated the 14th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine. (photo credit)
J.K. Rowling: The author of the Harry Potter books and the winner of numerous awards became a best-selling author only after a divorce, the birth of her daughter and having to file for government assistance because she could not support her and her daughter. None of this, however, stopped her from following her heart and her motivation to pen one of the greatest children’s classics of all time.
Melinda Gates: Even though her husband is the better known of the two, Melinda Gates has managed to secure her spot as a successful philanthropist, businesswoman and mother. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the world’s largest private foundation whose goals are to reduce poverty and better the quality of healthcare on a global scale in addition to providing better access to technology and educational opportunities in the United States. Melinda Gates has been on Forbes top-ten list of the 100 most powerful women the past three years. (photo credit)
Cecile Richards: Her mother, former Texas governor Ann Richards, was definitely an inspiring figure for her which is why Cecile Richards has never had a problem combining her passion for women’s rights as the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America since 2006 while being a mom of three kids herself. (photo credit)
Dara Torres: It is one thing to be a twelve-time Olympic medal winner—no easy feat to say the least—but to come back to the Olympics at the age of forty-one, nearly two years after giving birth to her first child and winning more medals is downright awesome. Dara Torres also became the oldest woman to ever place on an Olympic swimming team, marking her place in history as well as inspiring future Olympiad moms. (photo credit)
Jessica Alba: While she earned her fame as the star of the television series, Dark Angel, she would probably tell you that her role as a mother of two is the role she enjoys the most. As an advocate for chemical-free products that are safe for children, Jessica Alba has turned her passion into a successful business as the founder of the Honest Company which provides safer health and beauty products for children and adults.
Princess Diana: Gone, but not forgotten, Diana, Princess of Wales, was the epitome of royalty, class and motherhood. Her passion for helping adults and children with HIV/AIDS, during a time when holding babies and children with AIDS was deemed unsafe and not becoming of a princess, was not lost on her two sons who continue their mother’s work in helping those who are in need, including those living in poverty. (photo credit)
Jamie Lynne Grumet: The name may not be recognizable, but her 2012 cover of Time magazine surely was as she stood there nursing her three-year old son. The cover opened up a profound discussion about attachment parenting. And no matter what side of the debate you were on, the photo definitely proved that moms should never be embarrassed or ashamed of who they are as a mom. (photo credit)
Murphy Brown: Even though she was a television mom, her story resonated with single moms everywhere who were trying to manage both work and motherhood. Then Vice President, Dan Quayle, and several other politicians and activists both praised her and demonized her for her decision to raise a child on her own. But regardless of the controversy, single moms everywhere were glad that their story was being told. (photo credit)
Lea-Ann Ellison: Who could forget the firestorm of controversy that her photo created as she lifted a heavy barbell overhead while 33 weeks into her pregnancy. Some thought she was risking her and her baby’s health while others applauded her tenacity (she had been doing CrossFit for quite a while). After giving birth to a healthy baby, she showed women (and the world) that pregnancy is not a disability and a woman’s body is strong and beautiful—even while pregnant. (photo credit)
Coretta Scott King: When her husband, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1963, she instantly became a single mom of four children. But taking care of her kids never stopped her tireless efforts of continuing her late husband’s legacy in making sure that racial equality was guaranteed for everyone. (photo credit)
Brooke Burke: With four kids and a body to die for, Brooke Burke has shown the world that she is a lot more than a pretty face and six-pack abs. From modeling and television appearances to reality show winner and co-host, Brooke’s contagious enthusiasm and positive attitude even through battling thyroid cancer makes you wonder if there is anything she cannot do.
These moms all had perseverance, determination and an unwillingness to let others tell them they should just be moms and not do anything else. They showed that being a mom is a wonderful gift—one that drives them, motivates them and propels them to do great things. To other moms, they are real life inspiration and living proof that moms can indeed do it all.