Illinois Mother of the Year: Motherhood a Work in Progress

Contributed By By Kara McMurray, Church News staff writer

  • 4 June 2014

Kathryn Roberts Holyoak poses with her family at the Salt Lake Temple on August 24, 2013. Back row, from left: Riley Holyoak, Larsen Holyoak, Kendrick Holyoak, David L Holyoak, McKelle Coleman Holyoak, David Holyoak, Kathryn Roberts Holyoak, Porter Holyoak, Heather Holyoak Schanz holding Will Schanz, and Adam Schanz. Front: Kate Schanz and Ella Schanz.  Photo courtesy of Kathryn Holyoak.

Article Highlights

  • Kathryn Holyoak, named the Illinois Mother of the Year by American Mothers, Inc., relies on Jesus Christ, Primary, and respect to raise her six children.


Kathryn Roberts Holyoak’s husband describes his wife as a nurturing, loving, and supportive mother. The Illinois mother of six was recently named by American Mothers, Inc., as the mother of the year for her state.

Sister Holyoak, a member of the Naperville Second Ward in the Joliet Illinois Stake, was one of 17 LDS mothers and young mothers of the year around the nation.

“I have definitely tried and continue to try to parent in a Christlike way,” she said. “For me, Church and family are everything. That’s what matters most.”

Kathryn Roberts met David Holyoak while she was studying to be a dental hygienist at Brigham Young University. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple in July 1982; their first child, and only daughter, came a year and a half later.

Thirty years and five more children later, Sister Holyoak says that “motherhood is a work in progress.“

“It’s on-the-job-training and motherhood is never finished with your children.”

Sister Holyoak said she has several parenting philosophies that have helped her to raise her six children as a stay-at-home mom.

“It’s hard to just have one [philosophy],” she said. “Probably, for me, it’s about listening with my heart to my children and encouraging discussion with them and relationships with them without arguing and disrespect. I used to tell my children, ‘You can’t tell Mommy no, but we can talk about it.’”

It is respect, Sister Holyoak said, that is a big key.

“Respect is huge. Not only children respecting parents, but parents respecting children, too,” she said.

Sister Holyoak said it was always important to her and her husband that she be a stay-at-home mom. This, she said, allowed her to volunteer in “whatever my children were involved with at the time” and serve in various Church callings and capacities.

Many of her callings have been in Primary, and it is there, she said, that she learned of her need to become as a little child and that she gained valuable resources in raising her children.

“My own children have taught me so much and have refined me in many areas. I was with my children when they were in Primary and I wanted my children to have that firm foundation of gospel truths and a pattern of living it,” Sister Holyoak said. “While children, they grew their testimonies from my light and testimony, but now they have their own light and own testimony. That is my greatest joy.”