Columbus Parent's Mom of the Year Contest Winners

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Due to a glitch in the voting system, we decided to award a $1,000 gift voucher toward a closet makeover from California Closets and a $500 voucher toward travel with Turnberry Travel to both of our two top vote-getters. Here they are for you to meet.

Kristin Marks

Age: 40

Mom to: Peyton, 5, and Ethan, 3

Married to: Shane Marks

Lives in: Worthington

What's the most challenging thing about being a mom?

Right now, to keep them from fighting with each other and teaching them the right way to get along and be good friends. Always trying to be a good role model. That's not easy because we're all human, and we all make mistakes. You forget that you are a model for them. You have to be on your toes every minute. Every moment is a teachable moment.

One of the hardest parts for me is the guilt - worrying if I do enough for them. I want them to have everything, but they can't have everything they want. Sometimes I feel like I'm the grandma instead of the mom.

What's the most rewarding thing about a being a mom?

Oh my gosh, there are so many things. Kids are amazing. Seeing them grow and become these little individuals is very rewarding - and to know I have a part in that.

What's your parenting philosophy? My mom was a kindergarten teacher, and she has this saying: "A child is a candle to be lit, not a cup to be filled."

I like the idea of letting them learn along the way because children learn by making mistakes just as we do as adults. As a parent, our instinct is to protect them from mistakes but they really need to learn to make their own way in the world because we won't always be there to watch out for them.

Samantha Bennett

Age: 35

Mom to: Nolan, 2, and Archer, 1

Married to: Jason Bennett

Lives in: Gahanna

What's the most challenging thing about being a mom?

The most challenging part of being a mom was just trying to become a mother. After a three-month stay on a maternity ward, I ended up in an emergency C-section. Jonas was born at 34 weeks. After two days in the NICU, sadly, he did not survive.

Almost two years later, Nolan was born full term and healthy. Then another year later, Archer was born. I'm constantly reminding myself that the boys are going to be OK.

It's really important to me that our kids grow up to be generous people. I want them to be nice and generous even with each other. But I don't want them to be so soft that the world is rough for them.

I do think it's a challenge to teach important qualities.

What's the most rewarding thing about being a mom?

Getting the opportunity to be a mother is a reward in itself. I'm so grateful that I am where I am. I love having these little smiling faces and the unconditional love they have for you and giving it back to them.

It's made me realize what my own mother has done. I'm so thankful for my parents and the strength they gave me.

What's your parenting philosophy? Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. It's just really important to me that our kids are nice and giving. I try to focus on just being nice.