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Published November 27, 2013, 11:00 PM

Women’s Wisdom: Rebecca Miranda

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite American holidays. It’s a treasured day, full of family, thanks and my husband’s endless search to discover the best secret recipe for a moist turkey. Not to mention today marks the biggest paper in The Forum’s history, which I am not going to deny, put a little pressure on this columnist.

By: Chris Linnares, INFORUM

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite American holidays. It’s a treasured day, full of family, thanks and my husband’s endless search to discover the best secret recipe for a moist turkey. Not to mention today marks the biggest paper in The Forum’s history, which I am not going to deny, put a little pressure on this columnist.

For this special day I wanted to feature a kind of women’s wisdom I haven’t highlighted before, a really beautiful and special woman, and I am honored to introduce to you Rebecca Miranda.

Miranda is not a founder of a nonprofit. Neither is she a CEO of a big company, a best-selling author or a famous artist. She carries a place and position in our world that, in my opinion, transcends any of the vocations listed above.

Miranda is a mom – and our world defines her as a “stay-at-home mom.”

“Are you sure you want to interview me?” Surprise filled Rebecca’s voice when I called to ask if I could feature her. She couldn’t see the reason why she should hold the slot of a prominent woman, especially in a Thanksgiving Day paper.

I had the perception Rebecca didn’t feel worthy at first, and I related with her reaction. Being a stay-at-home mother can bring some negative backlash in today’s society. For the first three years of my daughter’s life, I received the title of stay-at-home mom – a title that couldn’t be farther from my reality. I thought to myself, “I am running my kids to activities. I am running errands to take care of my family. I am volunteering… Where is the ‘stay’-at-home in that?”

My confusion came from my experience as a native Portuguese speaker. In Portuguese, the words that define the title of a woman who runs a household are “dona de casa.” Translated, it means “owner of the house,” owner being the same word used in the title “owner of the company.” So, in my mind, I came from being considered “owner of my home” to a “stay-at-home.”

I remember filling out forms at the doctor’s office and wondering what I should put under the “job” line besides “stay-at-home mom.” I didn’t want to write just “mom,” because I don’t agree that it can quite be defined as a job.

“Job” implicates being compensated for what I do, and the magic of motherhood is that it brings out a beautiful selfless side of me that I didn’t know existed. I give my heart, soul and life for my daughters’ well-being, and there isn’t one piece of me that wants to be compensated for any of it.

Motherhood is so much more than a job. It is a mission, a ministry, a blessing, a calling. For me, motherhood is a small taste that a human being can have of a selfless, unconditional, divine love. This motherly unconditional love can be expressed in so many ways – through a mentorship, adoption, friendship…

You feel this love when you read or watch the heartfelt video blog conversation I had with Miranda.

Mother of seven beautiful kids, this loving and kind woman grew up in Webster, S.D. Every time I meet up with her, she is managing her whole family with a smile on her face and peace in her heart. I can’t help but wonder, “How can she be so peaceful taking care of seven kids if many times I can get overwhelmed with just one?”

Miranda’s love and devotion to her family is so inspiring that she deserves all the honor and recognition she can get, but humbly, she is not expecting.

On the official day of gratitude, I want to honor her and mothers of all forms. On the personal side, I want to use this opportunity to express my immense gratitude to my own beautiful mom who is now back in Brazil. A woman that is my inspiration, my best friend and my hero. A mother, who just like Miranda, took care of a big family of six kids and received from the world many titles: “working mom,” “owner of the house,” “CEO of her family”... But for me, she is always my “mamae.”

On this holiday, I would give the world to be able to give her a big hug and express my deepest gratitude.

Q: In the story of your life, what was the most challenging moment you needed to overcome?

A: Being an at-home “career mom” of seven children is my biggest challenge. It has no salary, no days off, and no 401(k).

Rather than overcome this challenge, I’ve chosen to embrace it. I get to fix boo- boos and mend broken hearts. I diffuse tantrums, change diapers and push strollers. I’m a mentor, a disciplinarian, an encourager, a boogie-man chaser, a homework tutor and a taxi mom. I am a sounding board for frustrations, a teacher of life lessons and a monitor of texts and Facebook accounts. I’m a fan at sporting events, a referee in sibling arguments and a cheerleader for kind behavior. I do rock-a-byes, sleepless nights, make birthday cakes, sing songs, play games and pray with them at bedtime.

Q: What empowered you to overcome those challenging moments?

A: God gave me a heart and passion for being a mother. Learning to multitask is paramount in order to juggle activities and then multiply by seven. I prioritize the work to be done, but also learn to accept my limitations. It’s a freedom to learn that it’s OK to leave less important projects for another day.

Q: If you gave the book of your life to your teenage self, what lessons do you wish she’d learn then that you know now?

A: Let God be the director and author of your life. Wherever you are, is where you need to be. Be choosy on what to worry about, and then give it to God.

Q: What advice can you give to empower women?

A: Women put a lot of pressure on themselves to be everything to everyone. Embrace your instincts to love and protect, and don’t worry about being perfect. You don’t always have to be in control; let God take the reins. If you teach your child from your heart, they will blossom in wisdom and goodness.

Q: How can women best impact the world today?

A: Women can best impact the world by taking care of a smaller community: their own family. By recognizing our individual families as miniature communities, we will be empowering our future generations. We are the first people to influence our children in the way of values. Teaching love, forgiveness, sharing, kindness, and empathy will help heal the hatred, blame and greed in the world.

Chris Linnares is international author, psychotherapist and founder of Women’s Impact, formerly Diva Connection Foundation. Originally from Brazil, she lives in Fargo with her daughter and husband Bill Marcil Jr., publisher of the Forum. To suggest a woman for this column, email chris@womensimpact.org. For more information on Linnares’ work, visit www.chrislinnares.com.

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