Being a mom is the best –and the hardest–job I’ve ever held.  I’ve gained hands-on experience as a carpenter–I’ve assembled everything from play kitchens to revolving bookshelves; as a hair stylist–I’ve mastered intricate braiding techniques on a squeamish one-year-old; as a top chef–I’ve whipped up homemade baby food that made it into my daughter’s stomach and not onto the floor; and as a doctor–I’ve nursed my little one through stomach flu and teething troubles.  Although I’m not paid in coins, I’m paid in kisses, which is priceless. The journey through motherhood has led from food stamp lines to lines at the airport.


I’ve taken trips to report about other mothers, striving to raise their children without a job, without a husband or without health insurance.  One thing they all had was a dream.  No matter what their circumstances, they dreamed of a better life for their children–something my parents always told me growing up. My father never took family vacations out of the state, so he said his children would travel the country, and his grandchildren would travel the world. My nephew already has several stamps on his passport! Recently, I met three amazing mothers dreaming something similar, and they encouraged their children to do the same.





Quinessa & Jada Miller

Two years ago, Quinessa Miller didn’t have a roof to put over her two daughters’ heads. When tough times fell upon them, they became homeless and moved in with their grandmother. The experience sparked a dream in Jada–14-years-old at the time. Jada, believing no one should be in need,  decided that she wanted to open a homeless shelter.


Jada: In the newspaper, I read that this 18-year-old got turned away from a homeless shelter, because they didn’t have enough beds. I felt like that was wrong. They could have sent her to another place. She’s sleeping on cardboard. I want to build my homeless shelter so that won’t happen. When I was homeless, I felt powerless. I felt useless. Once we got our own place, I gained my power back. That’s my dream, even though some people may say I’m too young. Age is just a number. You can have a dream at any age. Billionaires today started dreaming when they were 13.


Quinessa: My foundation is always prayer. I knew homelessness was not a permanent situation. It was a temporary situation.  It made me feel horrible. But looking back and understanding now, it was something I had to go through.  Somethings, even though you don’t like to go through them, you have to because it’s not always for you. Sometimes it helps someone else. I’m able to encourage someone else. Now my daughter is encouraging others. I feel as if I’ve accomplished what I was supposed to do.


Jada: My mom has had a huge impact on me. She’s the one who convinced me to do Disney Dreamers. If it wasn’t for her, I would not be here. She encourages me to do my best and to not give up. She is an inspiration to me. I feel honored to be here. It’s a once and a lifetime opportunity. The best thing so far is the classes. We’re learning how to get to our dream.”





Dionne & Aliya Bright 

Dionne Bright has battled Lupus for more than 20 years. During that time, she has had a kidney transplant, a double hip replacement and countless hospital stays. She also had two children. Although she wasn’t always there for her daughters physically, she showed up mentally. She encouraged them to focus on fun and learning. Despite what she endured, she made sure the kids came first. She also made sure her children dreamed big. This came in the form of actions, just not words. Last year, Dionne graduated from college.


Dionne: I try to push Aliya to try anything, even if it was something she was afraid of. She’s a little shy. I told her just to try, you never know what you may find out. You may not like certain things or do well in certain things, but that’s OK. Just pick up and try something else. Be open to difference experiences and possibilities. I expose her to everything. She tried piano, which didn’t work out, so she learned to play the guitar.


Aliya: My mom had a huge impact on my life. She had Lupus when she was in college and had to drop out. She went back to school when I was in the third or fourth grade, and she just graded last May. She knew she had to go back and she didn’t let anything stop her. LIke my mom, I have to believe in myself and not let anyone stop me. I must listen to my inner voice.




Marthe & Brandon Tanyi 


Marthe Tanyi came to America with her two sons a decade ago. Before her youngest child Brandon even stepped on U.S. soil, he already had an America dream. He wanted to become a cardiologist to help heal people like his mom, who was diagnosed with myocardial disease–something that could cause heart failure and sudden death. Marthe made a huge sacrifice to travel and to leave her husband behind. A few years later, her husband joined his family, but Brandon continued to take care of his mother.

Marthe: I’m very happy for Brandon, because he’s a very good kid. He always takes care of me.  When we lived in Cameroon, he would walk for miles to the hospital to pick up my medication. He’s always by my side. When he was younger, people would say he was stubborn, but I knew that wasn’t true. I told them you just have to pull Brandon aside and speak calmly. I never shout at him.


Brandon: My mother’s condition made me more responsible. I had to focus on my education and improve my grades. She told me to focus on my school work. I look up to her. She has taught me everything and tries to make me be my best. She has been there my whole life. We left Africa together, before my father came to the United States. I hope to one day go back to my country and help the people there. My mom had heart problems since she was a baby, but the doctors there didn’t diagnose it.


 Hey DFTM Fam–What obstacle have you overcome on your journey through motherhood? How has you experience made you a stronger, wiser person? 




About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

10 Responses

  1. Lisa

    It’s always wonderful to hear inspirational stories of loving relationships between parent & child! Keep ‘um coming DOFTM!

  2. Bernadette Hudgins

    Wow! What inspirational stories. I think it is important to lead by example. Your children pay more attention to what you do than what you say. Thanks for sharing these families stories.

  3. Ajacks313

    God bless all these families! I especially like Jada’s goal of opening a homeless shelter. It’s something we tend to forget about. Best of luck to all.!

    • newmom0608

      Jada was so full of passion! She won an award when she was only 5-years-old. These kids are destined for greatness.

  4. Stacie

    Wow, what amazing inspirational women! How fortunate that you were able to learn them and share with the DFTM community. Keep up the great work and best of luck to all of these families highlighted.

  5. Jewel

    What a wonderful experience for young people. Hats off to DFTM for making dreams come true. Although I’m not a mom, I’ve seen the difficulties in raising children with today’s economy. How do parents get children involved in this program?

  6. Pamela

    This is neat! My little one is only 3 but I often worry about her future because all you hear on TV is bad news. Good to hear about young people doing and dreaming great things.

    My biggest obstacle so far has probably been being laid off for over a year after disclosing that I was expecting but it all worked out and increased my faith.

  7. Christine

    This is such a great post with such touching stories. It’s so refreshing to see these “young dreamers” because I wasn’t taught that at a young age. I only just learned how to dream again over the last couple of years. But these are the things that I am committed to teaching my children. Thanks so much for sharing these stories!

  8. kwiaciarnia online

    Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really loved browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing on your rss feed and I’m hoping you write again very soon!

  9. Sandy

    I’m not a mom but I can totally relate. My own mom went through a period of time where we had to do without many things that other kids had. I didn’t however want for anything. I think the rough patches made me a more resilient and resourceful adult! Great stories! I love to hear about people dreaming and striving for more!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.