Becoming a mother was one of the best decisions of my life. Out of all my titles – Doctor, Medical Director, CEO, New York Times best-selling author – “mother” is the one that I cherish and value the most.
I became a mother on March 3, 2017, when my husband Xavier and I traveled to Wisconsin to welcome our daughter Elle into the world. We spent 3 weeks holed up in a hotel room in the freezing cold and snow. It was a crazy time for us southerners! Finally, the time came to begin our lives as a family. Xavier drove the 18 hours all the way home on his own, while Elle and I went to O’Hare airport in Chicago to fly back to Texas.
I was alone with Elle for the first time. I’m sure many of you remember this milestone as clearly as the day it happened. I was terrified and excited. Being a doctor did not make me immune to the anxiety that comes with being a first-time mother. I was worried that being only 3 weeks old and traveling through one of the busiest airports in the world, she would catch a virus or some form of bacteria.
I remember covering her baby carrier with muslin to help protect her. The problem with this was I could not see her, so I had one hand on her chest to ensure she was breathing the whole time. I didn’t mind doing whatever I need to do to protect her as I was totally in love with my daughter.
To this day, if I ask Elle what my No. 1 job is she will happily reply “to protect me.” I could not be more proud of the beautiful 5-year-old daughter she has become. I am thankful each and every day for the gift she gave me of becoming her mother.
Each year on Mother’s Day, I celebrate my mom and the many other women – great-grandmothers, grandmothers, aunts, teachers, mentors, and friends– who nurtured me. Although most of these women – including my amazing mother – are no longer with me physically, their impact on me is on my mind as I celebrate my 5th Mother’s Day as a mom.
What I Learned From My Mother
My mother (and I) came from a long line of smart, talented, courageous, strong, and caring women. My mother was the most intelligent and talented person I have ever met. She had degrees in fashion design, architecture, and art history. My mother never made over $30,000 in a year, so she had to be resourceful in providing me with the things I needed. She worked two jobs to put me through high school, made most of my clothes, and made all of our meals from scratch at home.
My extended family, my great-grandmother, and my grandmother played a significant role in my upbringing. My great-grandmother, who lived to 103 years old, also lived in the same apartment building as us and helped to raise me when my mother went back to architecture school. My great-grandmother was something special. She went to college, had a job, and she was brave enough to get a divorce in the early 1900s. She raised my grandmother, who had a master’s degree in English in the mid-1900s. These were the women I was raised with: strong, nurturing women who valued education and making a difference. They were incredible role models.
I am passing these lessons on to Elle so she understands how important she is and grows into a confident woman. I am trying to parent as my parents taught me, and there are many lessons that I want to share with Elle that my mom shared with me.
Passing it Forward
I chose to become a physician because helping people is inherent. I was raised with the idea that it is better to give than to take and to strive to make the world a better place. My mother and I volunteered in our community at a young age. Since Elle was born, we have made giving a regular part of our life – adopting several families in need at Christmas. She insists that we regularly donate food and money to the homeless, which makes me a very proud mama.
As the founder and CEO of a company that empowers hundreds of thousands of people, I show my daughter every day what is possible. At Amy Myers MD, our mission is to Empower the World to Achieve Optimal Health™. My team and I are guided by three core values:
- Serve: We go above and beyond to be of service
- Effect: We actively look for a way to make a positive impact
- Empower: We empower people and deliver quality results.
Service to others is one of the driving forces of everything I do. In fact, my team does a service project two times a year. Through my giving program, a portion of every sale goes to a wide range of non-profit organizations. In fact, over the last 4 years alone, Amy Myers MD® has donated more than $275,000 to dozens of organizations that help to make our world a better place.
My hope is that my daughter sees and feels the impact of everything that we do as a company and together as a family to help others in every way we can.
My mom and I gardened and cooked and baked together. We grew sprouts, herbs, and vegetables and we often made yogurt, whole wheat bread, and molasses cookies together.
Elle enjoys cooking and baking with me as well. We have made many recipes from my cookbook. Elle (and I) were thrilled when we planted cherry, peach, pear, apple trees, and berry bushes on our Santa Fe property. She loves picking fruit directly from the trees. Our goal is to have a vegetable garden this year.
Growing up, I ate exactly what my parents ate. There were no separate meals for my brother and me. It was only breakfast, lunch, and dinner as a family. I am so proud that my daughter does the same. In fact, she is way more adventurous than I was as a kid and even than I am now. I recently ordered a seafood platter at a restaurant and as I pushed the octopus aside, Elle asked what it was and promptly ate it all.
Elle is an in-resident Amy Myers MD® ambassador and taste tester. You can find numerous videos on social media of her trying new products and flavors. We have a rule in my house – we both have to love a product for it to go to market!
Her favorites include making hot chocolate using Double Chocolate Paleo Protein, Leaky Gut Revive® Strawberry Lemonade (she absolutely loves this), and berry smoothies using the Vanilla Bean Paleo Protein. For a snack, Elle really enjoys the Coconut Joy Bars.
My parents really emphasized the importance of education. Both of my parents and each of my siblings and I, have postgraduate degrees. I started Montessori school when I was three years old and my parents read to me every night.
I have done the same with Elle. She started Montessori when she was 18 months old and she continues to this day. I have read several books to her each night since she was born. I remind her daily to enjoy school, study hard and she can achieve anything.
She takes this message to heart and has achieved a big milestone recently in that she started to read on her own. We practice her reading every night together. She has so many books! While Elle is starting to read on her own, she will not let me get away without reading at least 2 books to her before bed.
Travel & Dreaming Big
My mother loved to travel, and so do I. Before my parents’ divorce, we camped and took many road trips as a family. I traveled outside the U.S. for the first time at the age of 14, traveled across the country on my own when I was 21 years old, joined the Peace Corps and lived in rural Paraguay at the age of 25, and have been to Asia, Africa, South America, India, New Zealand, Australia, Central America, and Europe.
I think Elle flying home to Austin at the young age of 3 weeks old gave her the travel bug, too. It makes me so happy to see how excited she gets when we travel! She loves to travel whether it is by plane, car, or by Cowboy, our blue and silver RV. She took her first international trip to New Zealand and Australia when she was just 18 months old. If you ask her what will happen when she turns 10 she will proudly tell you that I have promised her an African safari.
I aim to create a strong, independent young woman. By exposing her to the world at large and letting her see all the amazing places and cultures, I hope that she learns inclusivity and the importance of being tolerant of other people who are different.
Quality Time Together
The one thing that money cannot buy is time. Since my mom and I didn’t have much money when I was growing up, we had a lot of quality time together. When my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer she quickly said, “I can’t do it without you.” And I simply replied, “I know. Don’t worry, I have already put my pre-med studies on hold and told my apartment I wasn’t returning to Seattle to stay in New Orleans to care for you.”
Running a company takes a lot of my time. I’ve set boundaries between my life as a CEO and my life as a mother. When I’m with Elle, my phone is off and she has my full attention. We eat as a family every night and I arrange my schedule so I can pick her up from school every day. I’m lucky to be able to do that and I treasure every moment we spend together.
Elle and I share a lot of common interests. She has picked up my love of swimming. It’s so exciting to bond with her over something I have always enjoyed and get to see her enjoy. She and I also share a deep interest in art. I spend a lot of time with her drawing and painting together.
These might sound a little cliché, yet I believe they become important memories for mothers and daughters. I can imagine that if my mom were still here, she’d want to be with Elle and me, cooking, getting our nails done, and celebrating the amazing women we’ve become.
With Thanks and Gratitude
This special day really makes me stop and think about all the moms in the world. It’s so much more than biology – it’s all the women who care for their families, for other people’s children, for each other, and for our world.
I understand Mother’s Day can often come with a mixed bag of emotions for many of us. Maybe you are struggling to become a mother, maybe you chose not to become a mother, perhaps like me, your mother has passed away, or you have a strained relationship with your mother, or you are a mother figure to someone else’s children or to a four legged fur ball. I understand!
For many many years after my mother died and I myself was not yet a mother, it was a very difficult day for me. Still now, it is bittersweet for me – it is a reminder that my mother is not physically with me, that she never got to meet Elle or Xavier, and it is a day that I am celebrated by my daughter and husband.
I hope wherever you are in your journey of life that you can take this day and be celebrated or celebrate a strong woman who has had an impact on your life, someone who may or may not be your biological mother, but nonetheless has had a profound impact on you.
I’m wishing a love-filled day to all of you who care for others, and sending gratitude to all our mothers near and far, present and departed.
Happy Mother’s Day!