Christina Snell squeezes the cheeks of her son Austin Snell, 10, Thursday at Guy Leeder Softball Complex. (CNJ staff: Eric Kluth)
By Ryn Gargulinski: CNJ staff writer
They come from different walks and stages of their lives with a varied number of children, interests and manner of living. But they all have one thing in common — they come highly recommended as amazing mothers.
Culled from contacts made at Cannon Air Force Base, area day care centers, and Clovis Community College, CNJ rounded up an array of moms to honor on this special day.
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A common sight in Christina Snell’s house is a huddle of kids on the couch.
“We have a huge sectional where we like to cuddle,” said the 31-year-old mother of seven children — two who are adopted. They range in age from 1 to 16 years old. Snell and her husband also frequently take care of her sister’s three kids.
“I just love kids,” said Snell, the eldest of six siblings who were all born and raised in Clovis.
Snell’s average day begins at 6 a.m. when she feeds and clothes the brood, sending them off to school or taking them to daycare. She then puts in longs hours at Hank’s Bail Bonds where she works as a bounty hunter.
“Idle hands are troubled hands,” said Snell, who shares the responsibility of driving the kids to baseball practice and extra-curricular activities with her husband. Their family is so big, she said, they always need to take two cars anyway.
Snell also credits her mother with giving her sound advice on raising children. “She told me always to love your children no matter what — and let them know that you love them.”
Snell does just that on a daily basis — she won’t let any of the children leave the house without a hug and a kiss, an activity she said can take up to 20 minutes. “But it’s the best 20 minutes of my day.”
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When 18-month-old Anthony isn’t dancing to Metallica, mom Morgan Hernandez said he also enjoys playing peek-a-boo and “chase.”
“Usually when I’m changing his diapers,” Hernandez said.
Although the 25-year-old Senior Airman’s schedule is cramped with activities, she always finds time to spend with her child.
Her husband of six years, John Anthony, who is also in the Air Force, helps when he’s around — but has been deployed to two other bases since Anthony was born.
Up at 5:30 a.m., Hernandez has Anthony at the baby-sitter by 6:45 a.m. She then goes to work on the Cannon Air Force Base as a physical training Leader and a referral management technician.
Hernandez, who has one brother and was born and raised in Victorville, Calif., credits her mother with teaching her everything she’s learned. She recalled her mother’s sound advice: “Work can replace you tomorrow but your family never can.”
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Education is the key for mother of three Sharon Hill.
This 31-year-old mom is a full-time student at Clovis Community College, majoring in business administration.
She envisions a career that includes helping others.
“I tell my kids to treat people with kindness,” Hill said.
The biggest challenge for Hill is finding extra study time or time for herself, an art she said she has yet to master.
Sometimes her days, which begin at 6 a.m. with breakfast and taking her two sons to school and her daughter to daycare, doesn’t end until 2 a.m. Each moment is filled with classes, cooking, cleaning, soccer practice, and homework — either her’s or her children’s.
“I just want to make a brighter future for my kids,” said Hill, who credits her husband for being supportive — when he’s in town. Stationed at Cannon, he is scheduled return home today from Qatar.
The only daughter in a family of four, Hill was born and raised in Macon, Ga., where her mother encouraged her to gain a solid education.
“I’m already stressing college,” Hill said, “if that’s what my kids want to do.” She pictures her 8-year-old as a doctor while she said her 11-year-old is good with his hands. “I’m always encouraging them, whatever they’re interested in,” Hill said. “I tell them they will be successful if they stay positive.”
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The biggest challenge facing mom Veronica Chavez is being a mother and father at the same time, she said.
This 40-year-old single mother of one said she struggles with the dual role but knows she is never truly alone as “God is always by my side.”
Chavez also finds it hard to squeeze in time for herself in between all her other duties.
Out of bed by 5:30 a.m., Chavez and her 7-year-old son Bryan head for La Casita Elementary, where he attends classes and she has worked as a full-time teaching assistant for the last 10 years.
After school lets out, it’s home for supper, then daycare for her son, and then school for Chavez at Clovis Community College. She majors in bilingual education.
When there is no work or school, Chavez and her son like to go to the zoo, watch movies, or enjoy skating at the roller rink.
Chavez said her mother served as her role model.
“Just because we are single parents, doesn’t mean we can’t accomplish everything we set out do,” said Chavez.
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New mom Renee Campbell, 22, has one child at the moment but can foresee herself with another nine or 10.
“This may sound corny,” said Campbell, “but I feel like I was born to be a mother.”
Her daughter Charly, was born on Leap Year in 2004.
Married three years, Campbell believes in mothering the natural way, with cloth diapers, breast feeding, and being there every millisecond for all her child’s needs.
“Sometimes she’ll nap for an hour and a half and I’ll just sit in the rocking chair and hold her,” Campbell said. “That way when she wakes up she’s happy.”
An average day for the mother-daughter duo begins at about 8:30 a.m. when Charly gets a bath before mom and daughter eats yogurt for breakfast. Campbell cleans house while Charly plays. Then comes nap time, followed by more togetherness.
The day ends with another bath and perhaps some dancing where Charly will groove to “anything with a beat,” Campbell said.
“There is no such thing as spoiling a baby by loving them too much,” Campbell said, whose husband Nathan works as a weather forecaster for the Air Force.
The middle child of three born and raised in San Antonio, Campbell said her mother taught her the natural way of child rearing and hopes Charly passes that on to her own children, as well.
“‘They are only young once’ was the best advice my mother ever gave me,” Campbell said.