BROOKVILLE — “I have always wanted to be a mother,” said Kelly Yarbrough, of Parker, the winner of last week’s Mother’s Day Makeover package winner with several local businesses.
As sometimes as happens in life, expectations and reality do not always match. “It was nothing like I expected it to be. I had my first child at 21 and was completely unprepared. I was too young and not financially stable. I never imagined all of the struggles that comes with being a parent,” she said.
Yarbrough says that “as a single parent the biggest struggles were financial stability, juggling children and work, and making sure they always had what they needed.”
Her children recognized those years of struggles and how hard their mother worked to give them a stable home life. “Now that I’m older l realize why she was at work all the time. She was a single parent. She always made sure my brother, sister, and I were taken care of. We weren’t the best of kids to raise. I’m sure there were days where she just wanted to give up. Nope, she kept on going. Between three jobs, she made sure we were taken care of. Roof over our head, food in our stomach, and clothes to go to school,” wrote Nicole Peterson, Yarbrough’s daughter about her mom when she entered her for a Mother’s Day contest.
“As a single parent I had to learn to depend on myself but my mother was always there when I needed a helping hand,” Yarbrough says. Her mother, according to her daughter’s entry letter, would watch the children while Yarbrough was at work.
It is her mother who Yarbrough credits as being a role model for her. “I learned to be a great mom from my mother, Judith Mellott. She was the best role model any child could ask for. She always made sure I had what I needed.”
Yarbrough’s three children are grown now at ages 17, 20 and 24. So what does she hope her children have learned over the years, watching their mother work so hard to provide for her family?
“I have hoped that my children have learned to have children at an older age and to make sure that they are financially stable first. I also hope they have learned to be good people. How to be loving kind adults,” she said.
Looking back over those years of struggles, is there anything she would do differently? Yarbrough says the only thing she’d have done differently is to “have children later in life.”
She has this advice for others who may be looking at motherhood for the first time, “Children do not come with instructions. Do the best you can with what you have. Always teach them good morals, respect and how to make good decisions.”
Looking back over the years, Yarbrough says that the best part has been “watching them grow into becoming adults. They all have different personalities and views. There was never a dull moment!”
When she read what her daughter had written about her in last week’s Tri-County Sunday, Yarbrough says, “My first thought was I didn’t realize I was a good mother. I sometimes felt like a failure but according to the letter I did a great job. I think all parents feel like they fail at something while raising children. We are not perfect and will make mistakes.”
So what is her definition of a mother?
“My definition of a mother is someone that is caring, compassionate, loving, and also the person that is the maid, nurse, chef, and caretaker. A mother has a good heart and teaches their children everything she knows,” Yarbrough says.
According to her daughter, Yarbrough is still fulfilling the role of mother to its fullest as she continues to watch over her children, ready to offer a hand when needed just as her mother helped her. And what better words can a mother hear from her child than “My mom is the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” as her daughter Nicole so aptly summed up her mother.