The hopes, experiences and wisdom of mothers are passed from generation to generation. We asked the four mothers of the five-generation Mamanakis family, whose matriarch lives in Morgan, to share their thoughts on motherhood.
Ellen Mamanakis, 88, says things have certainly changed since her days as a young mother.
"It's much easier, with the conveniences we have nowadays," she said. "We have so many things to help us with raising our kids."
Disposable diapers are a big improvement, the Morgan resident said, as are parenting classes. The Internet gives modern mothers instant access to information, but Mamanakis says she had her own network.
"You learned a lot about things when you were at a quilting party," she said.
Mamanakis, who was 20 when she gave birth to her first of five children, says she was prepared for the challenges of motherhood by helping her parents during the Great Depression.
What Mamanakis remembers most about her hard-working mother is how she tried to make sure her children had a strong connection with church and family. She tried to do the same with her own children.
"It has given them something to keep a good footing in life," she said.
Now that she's a great-great-grandmother, her role has changed a bit.
"It's just about keeping them going, and helping them, and answering their questions," she said, adding that she also tells them stories about their family's history.
Her advice to mothers is try to keep discontent at bay.
"Work on peace," she said. "Don't give in to the worldly things. ... Strive and do what's right, and hold to it."
Linda Willerton, 67, of Syracuse, became a mother on Labor Day in 1967 and, shortly after, the family moved because of Willerton's husband's job.
"I had my first son, and when he was about 6 weeks old, I flew out to Chicago," she said.
She remembers what it was like to be a young mother so vividly that she speaks of it in present tense: "He keeps you awake, and you drive all over north Chicago to get a kid to fall asleep at night. Then you go to work the next morning."
Willerton's second child was a daughter.
"She was the first girl in the Willerton family in five generations," she said. "She was kind of a miracle."
Raising her was also Willerton's biggest challenge as a mother. "I was stubborn-headed, and things had to be my way," admits her daughter, Heather Green.
Willerton says the parent-child relationship was changing when she was raising her three sons and one daughter.
"Even when I was raised, you did what your parents said. As I started to have kids, they all had stronger personalities and ideas of what they wanted to do," she said. "I see it in my grandkids today, that they're a little more independent."
Willerton says being a mother, then a grandmother and now a great-grandmother, taught her patience -- and that's what kids need.
"Just be patient, especially with the older ones," she said. "Let them have a little bit of freedom, but if they start to go the wrong way, bring them back into reality."
What she remembers most about her own mother, Ellen Mamanakis, is that she was always around.
"Whenever we needed her, she was there, and even when we didn't need her, she was there," Willerton said. "Dad worked at the naval base here in Clearfield, and then he went in at night and worked on automobiles, so mom was the one who did most of the raising of the kids. She would play games with us on the front yard, and all of the neighborhood kids would come around, and we just had a blast."
Heather Green, 42, of Grantsville, has two children -- a boy and a girl.
"When I gave birth to them, life was more exhilarating," she said.
Green became a mother at age 20, but, looking back at her own experience, recommends waiting until 26 or 27 years of age.
"You'll have a better understanding of getting your life together, and knowing what you can do for them," she said.
Teaching her children to make good decisions was Green's biggest challenge as a mother. It's even harder to raise children now, she said, because of the pressures and stereotypes they encounter.
"Don't give up on your kids ... Talk to them," she said. "Just love your kids for every little thing they do, even though at times you get angry with them."
And be as patient -- that's what she learned from her own mother.
"My mom loved me, and she didn't give up on me," Green said, adding that her mother did a good job of raising her, even though she was "stubborn-headed" as a youngster. "She brought the church into my life, too, so I'm grateful for her doing that."
Green says her mom is now her best friend.
"We just have a better relationship now that I've gotten older, and I understand what you have to do," she said. "She just tried to give me the world, and I love her for it."
Now it's her turn.
"I'd give up anything for my daughter, just like my mom did," Green said.
Brooke Green, 19, became a mother at the age of 18, in 2011.
Being a mother means having more responsibility, and losing the freedom you had as a teenager, she said.
"Some people make it sound so easy, and at times you want to rip your hair out," she said, by phone from her home in Madison, N.Y.
But she's amazed by her son, Aiden.
"I've learned new things from him every day," she said. "He's very unique and smart, and he does things that a 1-year-old, you wouldn't think, does."
Green says technology has made some of the responsibilities of motherhood easier for her than for past generations of mothers, but the overall job description is still the same -- loving and caring for your children.
"How loving she was" is what Green says she remembers most about her own mother, "and knowing that she was there for me when I was pregnant."
Green offers this advice for other young mothers: "Take it one day at a time, because every day is different."
HOPES FOR AIDEN
What do these four generations of mothers hope for baby Aiden, the newest generation of their family?
"I hope that he grows up and graduates, and he does every dream he possibly can," said his mother, Brooke Green.
"I hope that he gets all of the benefits life has to offer him, because he is loved," said grandma Heather Green.
"I hope he can grow up and go to college, and find himself a good woman, and not have the problems of getting into smoking or drugs," said his great-grandmother, Linda Willerton.
Ellen Mamanakis, his great-great-grandmother, hopes he'll honor his mother, and enjoy the history his family has left behind.
"Just grow up and be strong," she said.