As we prepare to celebrate moms across the country, we selected a few local moms to tell us how they enjoy motherhood. Enjoy their profiles here and then start making plans to treat your own mom on her special day with our Mother’s Day Guide.
Agnieszka (Agnes) Litman moved from Poland to Ypsilanti with her husband, Kamil in 2014. Both their sons were born here, the youngest on February 16. “I miss family and friends, and that network around me, but my mom is visiting over Mother’s Day and we will celebrate twice, since Polish Mother’s Day is May 26,” says Litman with a smile.
What fills your day? When my first son was born, I gave up my marketing job to stay home and look after my family. He is very playful and sociable so we spend a lot of time outside in good weather. In bad weather, we visit children’s museums and indoor playgrounds. We also attend different activities within International Neighbors, and I am a host and leader of a Baby Tea Group.
Biggest mom-achievement over the past year? My oldest son refused to sleep for the first year of his life. I was exhausted, but through patient teaching with a strict nighttime schedule, he goes to bed every day with no issue and falls asleep immediately. I do too!
What is your favorite local treat? Zingerman’s hot chocolate and éclairs. It reminds me of my childhood. My parents used to take me to a café at my hometown on weekends, where we talked, laughed, drank hot chocolate and ate éclairs.
Whom do you admire? The person I admire the most is my mom. She is a loving and caring person with a lot of empathy, but also strong and independent, not afraid of new challenges. She showed me how to be a good person and a good mom.
Funny mom moment? My older son is an extrovert. When we go shopping, he waves and sends kisses to everyone. One Sunday in church, he sent kisses to the priest. The priest smiled at him and sent kisses back. Everybody laughed.
Shaira Daya lives in Ann Arbor with her husband, Andy Newman, an anthropology professor at Wayne State, and their two sons, ages 5 and almost 1.
What fills your day? I work with Food Gatherers, the food rescue and food bank program serving Washtenaw County, on Nutrition Projects that support their efforts to make healthy food available and accessible for those facing hunger and food insecurity. Because I work part time, I also have a few weekdays at home with my kids. For me, it feels like the best of both worlds.
Biggest mom-achievement over the past year? I birthed a baby this year! I think that’s a pretty spectacular achievement. Being a parent is hard work. In general, I like to celebrate the small stuff: I feel good if we make it out the door on time wearing matching socks.
What is your favorite local treat? Zingerman’s gelato! They make a good root beer float, too. I indulged in way too many of those this past summer when I was pregnant. Songbird Café is my favorite spot for an extra bit of caffeine, which I need in abundance these days!
Whom do you admire? I have such admiration for the preschool teachers who spend each day sharing their patience and compassion with our kids. In our family, we’ve seen what a positive impact early-childhood teachers can have on the development of empathy and mindfulness. I am grateful to them for their dedication and seemingly endless energy and grace.
Luca Carpenter from Nashville and Matthias from Milwaukee met in Ann Arbor, fell in love and are now married and living in Ypsilanti with a “blended” family of three children of 10, 8, and 7, two bunnies, three cats, and their dog. Luca and Matthias also always leave their door open for other extended family members.
What fills your day? I co-own Elements Preschool for Natural Learning and I teach there. Elements provides early childhood education while trusting the natural world to provide us the materials, environment, and inspiration for learning.
Biggest mom-achievement over the past year? Over the last year, I’ve started a business, gone back to school, and somehow managed to keep all of the children and pets happy and well cared for. I’d say that’s a big achievement!
What is your favorite local treat? In the summer, our family loves going to Ice Cream Time in Ypsilanti! We can bike there from our house. The kids love that they put little candy eyes on the cones.
Whom do you admire? Lately, I’ve been filled with admiration for the local queer community. It’s been a rough few years politically and I am in awe of how we take care of each other, lift each other up, and find little ways to resist every day.
Mother of three and grandmother of four Melissa Thun is a long-term Ann Arborite. Her children and grandchildren live on the two coasts, two in California and one in Massachusetts, and she says, “I certainly have a different relationship with my children being that far away, but I always look back and think positively about raising children, seeing them flourish and, now, raise children of their own.”
What fills your day? As a VA retiree, I now spend my time volunteering for International Neighbors. The organization welcomes women from all over the world. It is very rewarding; I get to stay connected with young women, and mothers, and I’ve learned a lot too.
What is your favorite local treat? My late husband and I often celebrated special events with dinner at Pacific Rim. Eating there brings back wonderful memories and the food is amazing.
Whom do you admire? I admire teachers. They change so many lives and inspire children to pursue their dreams. As high school teachers in California, my youngest son and his wife spend so many extra hours grading, preparing classes and attending school events to show their support for their school.
Funny “mom” moment? Wasn’t recently, but I had a good laugh when my young son wanted to know why there was a “tomato warning.” Of course, it was a tornado warning.
What message would you want to share with other moms? Enjoy your children now, because they grow up so quickly. Make sure you prioritize family time!