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Patient, loving, tough: That's what ideal mom needs to be


With two days to go before Mother's Day, some experienced moms and dads were asked to help build a composite of an ideal mom. Here's what they included:

Patience. Lisa Lawrence, 35, a Detroit mother of three, was called at 2:30 a.m. by a son's friend asking for a ride home. Rather than leave him stranded, she pulled herself out of bed and hopped into the car.

A racer's road skills. "She must know the city or know where she's going. You know, to chauffeur," says Ms. Lawrence.

Ambition. "A mother has to have ambition not only for herself but also for her family," says Margaret Phillips, 60, of Shelby Township, Mich.

Warmth and hugs. "I touch all the kids," Ms. Lawrence says. "I give them a hug."

Anita Hill's courage. "A lot of times your child will do something that . . . may not necessarily be right or wrong but shows taking a stand on something," Mrs. Phillips says.

Nina Totenberg's toughness. "She's pretty direct and stays on course," Tom Cunningham, 60, of Ferndale, Mich., says of Ms. Totenberg, of National Public Radio.

Mother Teresa's commitment. "Somebody looks at her and says, 'Oh yes, there's a person who believes deeply in what she's doing,' " says Karen Kierpaul, 38, a Warren, Mich., mother of five.

Jane Fonda's figure. "I think that a mother has to present a good example as far as eating and getting the right amount of sleep and exercise and not smoking and that sort of thing," says Mrs. Phillips. And Ms. Fonda "is in pretty good shape for an older woman."

The Energizer rabbit's batteries. "Mom's got to keep going," says Mr. Cunningham.

Coretta Scott King's tenacity. She has continued to pursue her goals and the goals of her late husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. A mom, Mrs. Phillips and others say, should never give up.

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