SALT LAKE CITY — An Ogden mother of seven and foster mom over the years to more than 100 other kids has been named Utah Mother of the Year.
Barbara Booth received the honor for 2020 during a ceremony in Salt Lake City.
"I'm not a perfect mother at all, but I think mothers are supremely important," Booth said Friday by phone, a day after receiving the recognition. "It's just a privilege to be a mother."
The honor comes from the Utah Mothers Association, which is affiliated with American Mothers Inc., a non-profit group founded to promote and honor the importance of motherhood. Now she'll be considered for 2020 National Mother of the Year honors.
A Utah Mothers Association press release noted Booth's involvement with her own kids as well as her efforts caring for more than 100 foster kids over the past 27 years. "She is being recognized for her work as a caregiver for so many of Utah's most vulnerable citizens," the statement said.
Booth said she started foster parenting when she found herself with time after her youngest child entered grade school. The kids she's helped have stayed with her for as little as two days and for as long as a year-and-a-half.
"It's just been a perfect fit. I can't give it up," she said. She continues to foster kids, nowadays helping with "medically fragile" kids who need special care.
Six in all from around the state were nominated for Utah Mother of the Year. Area nominees aside from Booth were Tamara Taylor of South Ogden, the mother of Brent Taylor, the former North Ogden mayor killed in late 2018 while serving in Afghanistan, and Sandy Suarez of Layton.
In a statement that was part of her nomination, Booth discussed her philosophy of motherhood.
"My first priority has always been to create a home where each child felt unconditional love and acceptance," she wrote. "I believe that the way we treat and talk to our children, day in and day out, can help them feel secure and safe, enabling them to grow and thrive in their own lives."
But she thinks mothering isn't confined to women or even biological parents. She cited examples of families with two dads instead of the more traditional mother-and-father combination and historical figures like Mother Teresa.
"You don't just have to be a mother to mother. Mothering is something for everyone," she said. "Having a mothering ideal means you want to help people and serve and nurture."
Also at Thursday's ceremony in Salt Lake City, Jeannette Herbert, wife of Gov. Gary Herbert, was named the Utah Mother of Achievement for 2020.
Booth and other state mother-of-the-year recipients will also be honored at the National Convention of American Mothers Inc. in April.