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Panel Interviews: A Special Mother's Day Tribute




Joy Barnwell


What is the greatest legacy your mother has left you?

My mother was an amazing woman, an absolute visionary and I wish I would have shown more gratitude towards her when I had the chance. Growing up in the Caribbean with 9 siblings my mother always wanted more for us. I remember her taking us out to the backyard and telling me to look up at the planes in the sky, and she used to say one day we’re going to be on that plane. In 1968 she made this vision come true and we moved to Canada, for this I’m forever grateful. Looking back, I’m not sure how she selected Canada as our new home, but she always had it as her vision. She always instilled in us that words have power, and education is everything.


What is the greatest legacy you want to leave as a mother?

I hope to pass along the wisdom and legacy from my own mother to my son. I want to pass along how important it is to have a vision in your life, and how surrounding yourself with mentors and people you can look up, is an important step. One must always remember that your plan is a journey, not a destination and sometimes you will need positive role models to help inspire you and make revisions to your plan. I also believe that having a spiritual practice is important, this can look different for everyone but accepting a higher power is essential.


Do you remember any inspirational messages or advice your mother gave you? Can you tell us?

Be careful who you choose as friends. Always show gratitude. It’s important to serve your family and community, and take on volunteer positions in your community to give back. Education is important, always make sure you set yourself up to succeed on your own so you never need to rely on a man financially.


Having in mind the phrase Mothers: More than just a label, what do you think defines a mother as such?

A Mother is many things - a guide, and a mentor. She sets the bar for love, compassion, and kindness in your life. She is a molder, like all great potters she can help shape you without forcing anything or making you something you’re not. Most of all she is a collaborator, and creative counterpart to help you set your road map and vision.


What is a mother made of inside?

Hercules – she has amazing strength, both physical, physiological and spiritual. She can endure anything for the betterment of her children. She has brain power like no other and is always multitasking. She is completely selfless, pure, and is always striving to support others. She has no ego, and is deeply gifted.



Jody Steinhauer & Spencer Simon


What is the greatest legacy your mother has left you?

Spencer - Never show up empty handed!

Jody - It doesn’t matter where you came from, we’re all going to the same place. We can’t take our money with us, so no judgment. Also, everyone has a backstory.

Be kind to everyone!


Do you remember any inspirational messages or advice your mother gave you? Can you tell us?

Jody - I’m fortunate to have a lot of adoptive mothers in my life, one of them always said to me - always do your best, and be the best at everything that you’re passionate about. Always strive to work a little harder and be a little bit better. Also go after what you love! Another one of my adoptive mothers always said don’t worry about what everybody thinks, just do what you love to do. This is something I always try to instill in my daughter Spencer, she is about to graduate from university and doesn’t know what she wants to do but she has this unbelievable style and passion for interior design and I know she will find something that is a great fit. What I wish for my kids is that they go out and find something that they’re passionate about!


Spencer – Everything happens for a reason. This is something I live by!


Jody – I think something that Spencer might not realize but she’s very good at practicing is - always respect yourself, and don’t ever allow anybody (a boyfriend, partner, etc.) to not give you that same respect. She’s very good at putting up these boundaries which I know as a young woman isn’t always easy to do.


What is a mother made of inside?

Jody - A large recipe of many different things, I think at sometimes it’s just pure caring and empathy and listening, and on the other side it’s that tough teacher. I think about the person who is carrying the lamp, leading the way. It’s not so fun sometimes, I’ve always said to my children it’s the hardest job in the entire world, being a mother, and it’s not always fun but it’s the most important job in the world. It’s exhausting, and it never ends, you’re on 24/7 from the day that child is conceived to the day you pass away. But at the same time, it’s the most rewarding job you’ll ever have, both the highs and the lows. The lows can be difficult, for the most part Spencer and I have always had a great relationship, but there was a period of time where we hated each other. She was very angry with me, and a lot of mothers would have quite but I always knew I couldn’t give up. This is what women are made of, and it’s my job to hold the course and keep telling her I love her and this will pass. I knew eventually she would get it, and she did. I could have given up but I didn’t, now everything is behind us and things are just awesome!



Akunna Nwagha


What is the greatest legacy your mother has left you?

There’s two in particular that I’d like to share. The first and most important is Faith! She is a woman of faith and has always put her trust in God, and lived to serve God. When I was growing up I don’t think I always appreciated this, and it took me a while to find my own faith but I appreciate it very much now.

The second is whatever you do, do it well! She always taught us to do things the right way no matter what it was, school work, house chores etc. This way you can always take away the satisfaction that you’ve done the best you could.


What is the greatest legacy you want to leave as a mother?

I would like to pass along my mother’s legacy to my children as well. I want my children to grow up with faith, and I wish that they will come to their own faith on their own terms because it’s something that’s very personal. Out of that faith everything else will flow, you will have a higher purpose, everything you do will be in service to God.The second thing is excellence, always make sure you’re living intentionally. Who you are influences what you do. If you’re a person who values excellence, who values doing things right, adding value, making an impression, living intentionally, then it flows out of everything you do and it will be clear to see. When I’m speaking to my children and asking them how they’re doing in something I’m never asking them to compare themselves to others, someone will always be better or worse than you. What I’m asking is, when you examine yourself can you walk away from that encounter and say you did the best that you could. That’s all you ever need to do, be the best you can be and make sure you leave nothing on the table.


Do you remember any inspirational messages or advice your mother gave you? Can you tell us?

My mother has a saying that she’s famous for in our family, the phrase is in pidgin English but it translates to “There’s no cure for bad character”. To me that means be careful who you are, and be mindful of your character. Your character is who you are, and you need to be mindful when making choices. It’s good advice, and we always laugh when she says it. But in that phrase, she’s saying there’s no cure, and I don’t exactly believe that. I believe that you can change, the choices you make determine who you are so when you start changing your choices and being more intentional you can change your character in a positive way.

Having in mind the phrase Mothers: more than just a label, what do you think defines a mother as such?

The Heart! Being a mother is never just about bearing kids, it’s having the heart of a mother. It’s that nurture instinct, caring for a child that is an infant that you have chosen to bring into your family whether that is literally or figuratively. It’s about extending yourself and pouring yourself into them, giving them the love and the care that a good mother would give. I think anyone who brings that nurturing heart, and pours that into another person, a young person, a child or infant, that person has earned the right to be called a mother


What is a mother made of inside?

A mother is made up of a combination of things that will come out at the right doses when needed. A mother will give corrections when needed, but always with love as a backdrop. A mother will challenge when needed, but always with love as a backdrop. A mother will rejoice with you, a mother will cry with you, a mother will weep for you. When you think of what a mother is made of inside I think the heart is the biggest thing, but it’s whatever is needed in the moment. She is a well that you can draw from, and the wisdom to always know what is needed and then bring it up.


Closing thoughts:

I come from Nigeria, and in the African community family is communal. Family is everyone around you, your neighbors, your extended family, everyone is looking out for everyone. Because of this you would have lots of mothers, my mom’s friends, my aunt, my mom’s cousins were all moms to me and I think that was very valuable. It’s very important to have people around you to look up to.


Another thing I’ve learned from just watching my mother is gratitude. She always appreciates the little things, and is always paying good deeds forward. This is something that I want to be present in my own life. She influenced me much more than she could know, not just by what she told me but by the way she lived. As mother’s we all have such great influence, and I think we should be aware of this and wield it in an intentional way.



Daniela Luchetta


What is the greatest legacy your mother has left you?

There’s so many! She’s an incredibly caring person, and she's always somebody who will bend over backwards for someone whether that be for their career or personal problem. I remember her being up all hours of the night finishing projects for the church, or friends, or the neighbours. She's just always so supportive, and not just only to my sister and I but for the whole family, and to me that's just a pretty amazing legacy in my opinion! If there was just one it’d definitely be that.



What is the greatest legacy you want to leave as a mother?

I’m not a mother yet, but I do have a lot of nieces. In that sense I would hope that the legacy we’re building is in a culture of acceptance, and being strong female forces in this world, breaking stereotypes, andexpectactions of women in this society. Really just being fiercely independent and passionate, about finding our calling in life and pursuing it wholeheartedly. Finding a strong voice, and pursuing it without fear.


Do you remember any inspirational messages, or advice that your mother has given you? Can you tell us?

The best advice I got from my mom wasn’t her words, but her actions. She was always giving of her time especially to those who may have needed a bit more attention. She would go out of her way to look out for women coming up behind her, and did her best to give what she had to those who needed it. I try to remember that in how I carry myself today - we don’t get ahead without helping our sisters and brothers come up alongside us.


Having in mind the phrase “Mothers; More Than Just a Label” What do you think defines a mother as such?!

I personally think in terms of the role of “mothers” and “mothering”. I think in the UK they call it “Mothering Sunday” and not “Mothers Day”, and I think that’s really interesting because it’s the idea that it takes a community to raise children, and each other, and family. Alongside the community of women and women figures, mother figures. That’s what makes a mother figure, showing that caring, sometimes tough love, leading others, showing up strongly, and leading by example!


What do you think a mother is made of inside?

It’s tough to be a mother, I think it's the incredible balance between being that softness, and that warmth when needed but still carrying so much internally and on your shoulders, and still persevering through all of that.




Jo Lean


What is the greatest legacy your mother has left you?

My mother is just somebody who is so kind, compassionate, and loving. She is someone who is looking to help others, in any way she can. I believe the legacy that she has left me, is to be that kind loving person.Not only for myself, but for others as well.


What is the greatest legacy you want to leave as a mother?

It’s very similar to what my mother has left for me. I would love to leave the legacy that let’s every single person know that they are worthy of love, period, and that they can love. You know, right now there is a significant “self love” deficit, where womxn and people in general don’t feel good enough. They’re walking around; unhappy, burnout, on autopilot, people pleasing, letting life pass them by because they don’t love themselves. Because they’ve listened to society, parents, friends, teachers and at some point in their lives they’ve thought they weren’t good enough. Another thing I would love to leave is that true happiness does come from within, and to really find things to fill your cup and bring you joy, laughter, and adventure, just continue to practice those things that make us happy. We know that life is challenging, but we have the option to choose light in different situations, because you know, pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice. You have the choice to choose yourself in life, and you get to decide your thoughts, beliefs, and stories that you tell yourself, to choose better, and to choose love, and not fear. Just go towards your dreams, as well as telling yourself loving things.


Do you remember any inspirational messages, or messages/advice your mother gave you? Can you tell us?

My mother always, and to this day always told me to rest. She would see me overworked, stressed, or in a perfectionist mode and just tell me to rest! She also always told me to, “do what you can.” A lot of parents growing up were always focused on achieving things based on your accomplishments. She just wanted my siblings and I to do and feel well, and of course do what we can. Reflecting on the fact that there are so many people striving for the best, and to achieve accomplishments it is so important that she just really cares about how we’re doing, you know, physically, mentally, and emotionally, it was really just so kind.


Having in mind the phrase Mothers: More than Just a Label, what do you think defines a mother as such?

What comes to mind is unconditionally loving yourself first, and then giving from an overfilled cup. She puts herself first so she can give from a whole entire place, she is kind, loving, accepting, and compassionate of herself with others, it is important to be vulnerable and ask for lots of help and support.


What is a Mother made of inside?

Definitely healing and love, it’s not to say that it’s always going to be sunshine and roses all the time, it’s important to always come back to that innate ability to love unconditionally.







M2D TEAM

2021