We scouted around and found some dynamic families and asked them to share their mom’s best advice, how she inspires them or perhaps a funny memory. Just in time for Mother’s Day, we’re excited to share their responses with you. Enjoy!

Grace Bittick, Mimi Major & Margot Bittick

What is the best piece of advice your mother ever gave you?

Mimi: My mother wasn’t big on advice, but she went back to school in her 40s to get her degree in landscape design and became well-known in the field around the Southeast. Several of her gardens were published. She taught me it is never too late to reinvent yourself.

Margot: What’s on the inside is all that matters — being kind is the most important thing.

Grace: Eat healthy!

From left to right: Grace Bittick, Mimi Major & Margot Bittick; Mimi is the community manager and events coordinator at Pepper Place in Birmingham, AL.

Martha Ivester

What is the best piece of advice your mother ever gave you?

My mom died at age 59 from a brain tumor (I was recently married but had no babies … yet), so I never had the chance to learn about parenting or marriage or career from her. What I did learn was really driven home to me through the period of her illness — which is prioritizing time together with close girlfriends.

Invest in fun with your besties and make time to create ‘friend’ traditions. Mum organized five-year reunions for her college nursing pals, annual weekends with her curling team and canoe trips with her high school mates. They put on silly skits, drank lots of wine and adventured to the Yukon together. When she was very ill, all those women rallied around her to support us through her final days. I was humbled by the depth of her community and the hilarious stories they treasured.

Chantal Drake & Peyton Monroe

What is the best piece of advice your mother ever gave you?

Chantal: No matter what the situation is, my mom’s response 90% of the time is, “Everything will work out,” and it usually does. It helps me not focus on the problem and to realize that once the moment has passed, no matter what the outcome, everything will be fine.

Peyton: To try new things — she says I won’t know that I don’t like it unless I try it. And sometimes I like it when I didn’t think I would.

Chantal Drake is Director of Communications at Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis. She’s pictured here with her 11-year-old son, Peyton Monroe.

Cheryl Pickney, Nashville Property Manager

What is the best piece of advice your mother ever gave you?

The greatest lessons I learned from my mother were how to be business-like and professional, honest and kind. Also, the importance of documenting things!

Jay Gulick & Sandy Gulick

What is the best piece of advice your mother ever gave you?

Sandy: Probably the best advice I gave Jay: Be cheerful, honest and considerate while working hard, and you will be successful.

Jay: There is no business deal so important it’s worth risking your reputation over — do everything with integrity.

Sandy Gulick (right) is a sales associate/co-founder and partner at Kentucky Select Properties. Her son, Jay Gulick, is managing broker/partner at Kentucky Select Properties.

Linda Roberts, President & CEO, Therapy Systems, Inc.

What is the best piece of advice your mother ever gave you?

My mother was a very special woman with amazing intelligence and talents too vast to list. She taught me some very important lessons at a very early age. Among them: You can do anything … literally. And this was at a time when many opportunities were limited for young women. A college education is a requirement. Marriage is secondary. Know that you are loved beyond measure. Since I lost my mother at 29 (she was 49), her guiding principles and love have been a foundation for me that has remained through all these years. I could never thank her enough.

Kelsey Riggs

What is the best piece of advice your mother ever gave you?

The best advice my mom has given to me is to listen to others, treat everyone with respect, and be true to yourself. She taught me that everyone has a story, and whether someone has reached the top or they’re still finding their way, you can still learn and grow from their experiences if you take a minute to sit back and listen. In a world that’s always demanding more from you, be true to yourself and remember that you have the ability to write your own story.

Kelsey Riggs is an NBC Charlotte sports anchor. She’s pictured here with her mom, Pam Riggs.

Chara Gill & Phoenix Gill

Share a funny memory or surprising fact about her that you cherish.

Phoenix: We were bowling and she threw the ball and stepped into the lane a little and the bowling ball took her down the alley (laughs).

Chara: She’s been laughing at me since that happened 5 years ago (smiles). A surprising fact about Phoenix is that she is a rapper (laughs). It’s hilarious. So, she told me that she was a rapper and she had been asking me to buy her studio time, and I thought that was hilarious, and then I went to the school and all of the teachers knew about her rapping. She was like, “You think I’m just playing with you. Do you want me to show you?” So, I listened to her rap, and it was phenomenal. She has written poems and music since she was old enough to write at age 4. So, the fact that she transferred her poetic energy into actual rapping is delightfully hilarious to me.

Chara Gill is a Library Media Specialist at Bush Hills Academy in Birmingham, AL. Her daughter, Phoenix Gill (13), is in eighth grade at William J. Christian K-8 School.

Larken Egleston

What is the best piece of advice your mother ever gave you?

My mom (and dad, for that matter) taught me and my sister by example, not words alone. She always demonstrated a commitment to her family, friends and community and instilled in us a sense of obligation to serve. To this day, she is more proud of us for what we do for others than what we do for ourselves, and the giving spirit she imparted in me is what led me to run for office.

Larken Egleston, Charlotte City Council Member, and his mother, Amy

George Timothy Reed, a.k.a. Carmella Marcella Garcia

How did your mother inspire you?

I put her though a lot. Not every Southern mama can have a gay drag queen son in the South in the Bible Belt. She was so forgiving and understanding. She prayed a lot in the early years, but after all that time of praying, she said God told her, “You just love him and let me do the rest.” After that, she said, “I’ve got the easy part.” She was a single mother, so she played the role of Mom and Dad, and she taught me everything I know. Don’t take your mothers for granted. One day they won’t be around, and you’ll cherish every memory you have of them. Overlook the faults — we all have those. The good memories will last forever and the negative will fade away.

George Timothy Reed, a.k.a. Carmella Marcella Garcia (left), is a retired entertainer, comedian, lip syncher and impressionist. He’s pictured here with his late mother, Patsie Montana Reed.

Ed Nash, artist based in Nashville, TN

What is the best piece of advice your mother ever gave you?

My mum never complains, is always interested in other people, is a great conversationalist and is the last one standing at a party.


Guess what? We launched a brand-new podcast called “Southern Voices.” Take a listen to our very first episode, which, in honor of Mother’s Day, is all about motherhood. Click here!