A Tribute to the Moms of Cincy

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Motherhood: a messy, exhausting, testing, rewarding, hilarious sort of journey that pushes you to be better than you ever thought you could be. Moms, you probably spend about 99% of your time thinking about your kids, work, to-do lists, and laundry, and hoping you’ll get a chance to sleep in between. Take a minute to enjoy this day and enjoy being you! Below, each of our featured Women of Cincy shares a little bit about her mom.


Hillary Copsey, founder of Make America Read:

My mom raised my sister and I. My dad was a truck driver, so a lot of times he was gone and it was just the three of us. Now that I’m a parent I can imagine how tired she must have been, and she always encouraged me. She continues to encourage me and my kids. She’s one of the most important people in my life.


Libby Hunter, co-founder of WordPlay:

My mom is kind of the quintessential mother spirit. We always call her a mother tiger. She’s a little thing. She’s like barely over five feet tall, but just that unconditional nurturing and care. I’m not like her. I’m fiery, and short-tempered, and I yell at my kids. But, just to understand so fundamentally that it is that unconditional love, first and foremost, that any child needs, especially our at-risk kids. She’s been tremendously important in my life in terms of that.


Izzi Krombholz, editor-in-chief of Women in Rock magazine:

My mom, Heather, has influenced me in many ways. When I was growing up she always played great music in the car (Bob Dylan was one of our favorites). I was taken to my first concert at age 6 which was the B-52’s…pretty cool! She has been a huge influence on my love of music. She also started me in piano lessons at 6 which I continued to take until I graduated from high school.

My mom is also the best cheerleader out there. She is always supportive of me and encourages me to challenge myself in my professional and personal life. Not only that, but she copy edits all of the Women in Rock magazines! I feel lucky to have such a wonderful mom and a great friend.

Nicole Lee founder of Warrior Moms,
in the dedication of her book “Healing Cosmetologist”:

I dedicate my first published book, “Healing Cosmetologist,” to my mother, Roberta: “Your natural beauty as a beautiful black Queen inside and out has allowed me to know I too am a beautiful black Queen. The unconditional love you have always poured into me is what creates this Desire to become God’s obedient child. Thank you, I love you always!

Robyn Mahaffey, teacher at North College Hill Middle School:

My grandmother was a teacher, and I think that’s why way back in first grade, I wanted to be a teacher. She grinded. She was born in Middletown. She went to Miami when African American students couldn’t stay on campus in the ′30s. She got an advanced degree when people of color weren’t getting advanced degrees.

My grandma was asked to be one of the first African American teachers in one of the white middle schools, and that’s where she retired from. She did everything: music and plays and language arts. But it was a struggle, especially in the ′30s, ′40s, and ′50s. She did a lot of firsts in Middletown.

My mom, she had three girls, and she raised us to be able to take care of ourselves. She was very serious. She passed away maybe 11 years ago; she was diagnosed with cancer in September and she passed away in December, so we would just rotate taking turns staying at the hospitals. I said, “Mommy, how come you didn’t play with us when we were little? You were always so serious.” And she said, “I had three girls to get ready to survive in this life and I took my job very seriously.” And so we fell and we made mistakes, but she was always there. You grow up saying, “I don’t want to be like my mom,” but now I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I wanna be like my mom. How did she do it?”

We didn’t have a lot, but she worked every day. I watched her go to work in a blizzard. We lived on a hill and we would have to get up early and jump in the back of her hatchback so that the car could get up the hill, and then we’d go back home and go to bed. So I watched her grind, just instilling that work ethic in us and a love for Christ.

She was always helping people. We always didn’t understand, like, “Why are you giving our piano away?” “Because this person who’s a budding artist needs it.” Things like that. She had a huge heart. Once we were grown, we could see how cool she was.

I remember when I changed majors, and everybody was like, “I can’t believe you did that,” and she was like, “You’ve gotta follow your heart.”


Alyssa McClanahan, co-founder of Kunsthous:

My mom got her Ph.D. in pharmacology; she’s a brilliant lady. I learn a lot of different things from [her and my sister], especially as I get older. I am really good friends with them now, not just little sister or daughter. Those are specific relationships, but as you get older, it’s also like, we’re both women. And I feel very close to them about that. They’re from different generations and I think they have a lot to offer to me about what it’s like to be a woman at different points in your life; as a married woman, as a women who’s of the baby boomer generation and all the struggles and progress that that generation made for women. I’m always learning more from them and I’m very appreciative that I have them. They’re definitely some of my best friends.

Robin Sayers, compassionate entrepreneur with Trades of Hope:

One of the most influential women to me is my mom. She is just that person that’s always the first in line to offer compassion and to offer kindness and to help anyone that’s in need. She’s very generous with her time. I feel like as a society that’s something that we just are not good at. We’re busy all the time, and we’re not good about being generous with our time. She’s always willing to listen to someone and just be there for people, and I feel like that is something that I can struggle with, especially as an introverted person. Like, okay, these are your problems, I’ll listen, but the time part is a little bit draining for me. So I’m using her as a model and being able to say, “Okay, it’s not about me.” I can love people on a different level because of how she’s taught me to do that.