This story was updated at 6:20 p.m. on 1/13/20 following an interview with Marybeth Redmond.
A local woman has been bestowed with one of the highest honors a mom can garner.
Marybeth Redmond of Essex Junction was announced on Jan. 9 as the American Mothers, Inc. (AMI) 2020 Vermont Mother of the Year--becoming the 61st recipient of the accolade.
Redmond is a member of the Vermont House of Representatives, representing the Town outside the Village, but more importantly an inspirational mother. She was selected for the award, in part, due to her work in the Vermont Legislature, Women’s Caucus, Vermont Commission on Women, as well as working for various nonprofit organizations to amplify the voices of women and girls, New Americans and refugees, and incarcerated populations.
“I am humbled and honored to receive the distinction,” Redmond said. “There are so many amazing and deserving mothers around the state… I was completely surprised.”
Redmond first became a mother when she married her husband, Mark, and began helping to raise a stepson, Aiden, when he was age 14. Two years later, Redmond gave birth to a son, Liam. Aiden is now 33 years old--married with his own family and living in New Hampshire; Liam is 17 and a junior at Essex High School. While Redmond has worked to be a responsive parent, modeling compassionate values in her immediate family, she tries to be a mother to her community as well.
“I am a proponent of mothering with a small ‘m’ and reaching beyond my comfort zone to lift up other people,” Redmond said. “I see motherhood as a calling, to use the privilege and resources I have to support people in my community who are vulnerable and struggling. But I see it as a mutual relationship where I have something to learn from them as well. So I accept this award with that in mind.
“It’s important to invest in our own children--to give them chances to play sports, get involved in afterschool activities, and to be emotionally available to them. But it’s also essential to invest in other children in our community who don’t have the same opportunities. I’m going to use this award as platform to challenge all of us to go beyond our own kids--to lift up other children who need our hope, resources, and time. It truly takes a village; I really believe in that saying.”
Asked what the most rewarding part of being a mother is, Redmond said, “Forming a deep, emotional, and connective bond with another person--that’s always been the top priority of my parenting. Whether it is with my stepson, my own child, or other kids in the community--if their heart can really rest in you, that’s the most important thing to me: relationship.”
“For 85 years, American Mothers, Inc. has held the responsibility of searching for and selecting the Mother of the Year in every state, district, and territory in our country,” said AMI Board President Connell Branan. “Like all of the honorees before her, Mrs. Redmond now joins the ranks of Vermont history--with the opportunity to become a part of American history as she represents the mothers in her state and is considered for the honor of 2020 National Mother of the Year.”
Redmond currently sits on the House Committee on Human Services, the Joint Legislative Child Protection Oversight Committee, and the Canvassing Committee. Despite growing up in New York, Redmond spent every holiday and vacation either on the ski slopes of Vermont or hiking through Okemo State Forest.
After spending post-graduate years as an on-air reporter in Indiana, Long Island, and Connecticut television markets, Redmond and her family relocated to Vermont in 2003. Since moving to the Green Mountain State, she has been a professor at Saint Michael’s College and directed development and communications efforts at Vermont Works for Women.
Redmond serves on the Vermont Commission on Women and was a steering committee member of Change the Story VT--an innovative partnership that aligns policy, program, and philanthropy to fast-track women’s economic status in the state.
From 2010-2014, she co-founded a program for incarcerated women in the state called writing inside VT--using writing as a tool for self change; this effort resulted in a book of the women poetry and prose entitled “Hear Me, See Me” which was nationally published in 2013.
Redmond, along with honorees from across the U.S., will be recognized during AMI’s 85th National Convention in Washington, D.C. April 19-21. She will also serve as an ambassador for Vermont mothers during visits with members of Congress. One honoree will then be named the National Mother of the Year during a gala fundraiser for the American Mothers’ “Golden Rule Grant Fund” on April 21.
“I’m really looking forward to the Mothers Convention in D.C.,” Redmond said. “I’m so excited to meet incredibly-talented and diverse women from around the country and have this new network of people who are also dedicated to being a mom.”
Redmond said her husband, who leads Spectrum Youth and Family Services in Burlington, and sons agreed with AMI’s decision and couldn’t have been more excited to hear the news of her selection.
“They were thrilled and happy for me,” she commented. “That’s the ultimate test of being a parent, right? To ask your child what kind of mother you have been. But they were delighted for me.”