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Local mothers of the year recognized by Weber County Commission

By Ryan Aston - | May 10, 2024
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Monica Godfrey was recognized as the mother of the year for Ogden City and the state of Utah last winter.
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In this January 2024 photo, Monica Godfrey discovers she has been selected as the mother of the year for the state of Utah.

OGDEN — The Weber County Commission met Tuesday morning and, with Mother’s Day fast approaching, the commissioners took a moment to spotlight the local mothers of the year, as recognized by American Mothers and its Utah chapter.

Honorees included Monica Godfrey (Ogden and Utah State Mother of the Year), Kaelynn Studebaker (Weber County), Debbie Stanger (Marriott-Slaterville) and Sharon Muirbrook (North Ogden).

Mothers were nominated by friends, family and colleagues, after which nominations were reviewed by the national committee and forwarded to American Mothers’ state and local leadership groups.

For their part, Godfrey and Studebaker were initially unaware that wheels were in motion to honor them.

“I got a call from this lady — she’s the president of American Mothers and was like, ‘Oh, I’m so-and-so with American Mothers. Can we come by your house tomorrow?'” Studebaker told the Standard-Examiner. “And I was like, ‘Oh, this is some sales thing.’ So, I had no clue.”

Studebaker had been nominated by her mother, while Godfrey’s name was submitted by her daughter. And the latter similarly discovered what was happening via phone.

“It’s a good surprise,” Godfrey revealed. “And it’s also very humbling because we all know so many amazing mothers, right? … Everybody has an amazing wife or a mother in their life. It’s, I don’t know, it’s a little bit awkward that way, but it’s a really neat honor.”

Honorees, board members and selection committee members met in November. They convened again for a January event, during which it was revealed that Godfrey would attend April’s American Mothers national convention in Omaha, Nebraska, as the Beehive State’s mother of the year.

As part of the process, all honorees were asked to give speeches on their experience as mothers. And, as both women see it, there’s no great secret to motherhood.

“You just do the best you can with what you know,” Studebaker said. “When I was pregnant with our first and I was quite young, I read a million books and you ask everybody their advice, trying to prepare yourself to be this mother. … Then they come and you’re learning it all from scratch. … It’s definitely just a learning, growing experience and nothing can prepare you for it the way that just going through it and living it does.”

Said Godfrey: “I just tried to give my kids a happy, innocent, safe, fun, unencumbered childhood, as much as possible. … My mom taught me something really great. She said, ‘You respect a 2-year-old for being a 2-year-old. They’re going to do 2-year-old things.’ So you just expect that and respect that, and you can kind of go through every age that way.”

Sometimes, they say, it’s about finding ways to manage the chaos, too. Studebaker has three adult children and is now raising a pair of young nephews. Meanwhile, her husband is a lawyer and she works as a paralegal and also owns a mediation business.

As for Godfrey, her husband — Matthew Godfrey — previously served as Ogden’s mayor, and the pair have raised five children.

“I do feel like I’m kind of running a marathon all the time right now,” joked Studebaker. “But life is good.”

“I think it’s just priorities,” added Godfrey. “I always tried to keep life as simple as possible and cut out as much as I could so that I could focus on the things that I felt would make a difference for my kids.”

Ultimately, making that difference is what it’s all about for Godfrey and Studebaker, who were both more interested in seeing mothers and motherhood in general receive recognition than in taking any for themselves.

“We’ve all got moms and they all mean something to us. And it’s a lot of sacrifice and love that they put into us each and every day of their life to make us the best that they can, you know?” Studebaker said.


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