Wade Spees // The Post and Courier
Sara and Brooks Tyre with their children (counterclockwise from lower left) Hannah, 8, Hyrum, 7, Emily, 7, Lindsey, 7, Austin, 7, Bryce, 5, and Alyssa, 7, in their Summerville home.
Mom is the do-it-all job -- design, planning, operations, investment, human resources. It's a wonder anybody meets the job requirements, much less so many. These days, more often than not, a mom has to go above and beyond. Here are just a few of the women who do, and how they make it work.
The Multiple Mom
SUMMERVILLE -- The kids are home from school. Three are plunking the piano when a fourth hops up on the keys. One is out back on the trampoline. Two are in the kitchen, bouncing a rubber ball off the wall, trying to put it in a plastic basketball hoop.
Mom is in the middle, a little harried maybe, but grinning ear to ear.
Sara Tyre, 33, and her husband, Brooks, are both from large families and wanted a large family. They were struggling to make it happen when they made a decision: Start an adoption, start a fertility drug, and whichever one came first came first.
The day Hannah was born, Sara found out she was expecting. And expecting. And expecting. And expecting. And expecting. Quints.
Two years after Alyssa, Emily, Lindsey, Hyrum and Austin arrived, Bryce came along.
"It was overwhelming at first. But you just feel like it's a gift," Sara says.
It's a gift that keeps a mom scurrying. The quints are 7 years old. Hannah, 8, is only five months older. Bryce is now 5. They have a penchant for grouping up in various bunches to play, then drifting off one by one for time alone.
"They're kind of ... ," Sara says, waving her arms everywhere. They don't like to dress alike, but Sara and Brooks learned quickly during the toddlers' years to dress them alike when they go out -- so they can keep an eye on everybody.
The boys tend to get their chores done so they can play. The girls tend to deal; they'll tell Mom they're going to pay Lindsey $1 to do their chores for them.
Hannah will quickly tell you she's the real oldest one. The girls giggle and tease Hyrum that he came "out the back way" because he was born rump first, a clinical detail that Mom still can't believe they absorbed, much less keep bringing up.
When everybody wants to go somewhere, they press Sara en masse to do it. Mom just smiles in delight.
"They're really at a fun stage right now. For the most part they really get along. Hopefully it continues," she says, crossing her fingers.
How do two seriously outnumbered parents make it work, especially with Dad studying long hours in med school?
"She's very good at multitasking and making sure they all have individual time," Brooks says.
"Great kids make great parents. One of my favorite sayings," Sara says.
People gape when the family goes out. They want to know the secret. There is none -- "I'm a normal person. I'm not a super mom," Sara insists -- except maybe this one: Asked how she felt her first Mother's Day with Hannah in her arms and quintuplets in her belly, Sara gets a dreamy look in her eyes.
"Just blessed," she says. "I felt very loved."
Margaret Cochran's seven grandkids don't know how lucky they are. She raised three sons and a daughter while she and her husband balanced long-hour jobs and a ministry that took them out of the home most days of the week.
The Charleston woman did it all "like a big family," and did it so well that dealing with one child's learning disability led to a third career for her -- she now teaches parenting classes for young parents.
Grandmom, the grandkids will learn, is wise.
Margaret Cochran and her husband, Anthony, brought up four children with somewhat varying interests and widely separated in age. Her oldest son, August, is artistic. Their second, Ricardo, is mechanically minded.
Their third, Darin, would tear up Tonka toys as a child and put them back together. Emmalyn, their daughter, is logical and scientific, excelling in chemistry and now works as an electrical engineer.
Six years separate the Cochrans' second and third children, nine years separate the oldest from the youngest.
Yet the Cochrans did everything collectively when the children were growing up.
When one son played in a junior college basketball game, the family packed up the car and everybody went to watch.
When problems or conflicts came up, they brought the kids to the table to ask, what do we need to do as a family? When Mom and Dad coached in the Agape Ministries midnight basketball league, the kids coached their own teams.
"We wanted our kids to see what it was like volunteering," she says. "We made them a part of what we did. There were very few places that, if we went, we were not able to take our children. And we made things fun."
The Single Mom
Diane Langston graduated from The Citadel on Saturday with a Master of Education degree in counseling. She did it with a perfect 4.0 grade average, while taking on maximum course loads.
She did it while holding down a part-time job, teaching Sunday School, playing hand bells and serving as treasurer of the honors sorority.
And, oh yes, Langston, 40, of West Ashley, did it as the single mom of a "tween" and two teen daughters -- in between choir practice for twins Emily and Julia Brown, 16, and the tennis team for Ashlyn Brown, 12. Even Langston isn't sure how she managed.
"Gosh, I don't know. It's tough. You just can't say you can't do it," she says. Her motivation was simple. A divorce after 13 years as a stay-at-home mom meant she had to make a living.
The teacher she took four classes with, professor George Williams, uses the words "commendable" and "conscientious." Langston earned more credits than she needed for the master's degree, he says.
She made a point of attending class even though it occasionally meant a daughter or two came with her.
"She's focused. Her faith is important. She's able to put it all together in priority, and prioritize her importance as a mom," he says.
After a big Saturday, she expects Mother's Day this year will be low-key. The girls will make her cards and likely hand over a few vouchers to do housework.
"Sweet things," she says. This year, the day couldn't get much sweeter.
The Working Mom
MOUNT PLEASANT -- Molly Joseph might not be home today for Mother's Day. She might have to deliver a baby. The obstetrician is on call this weekend for her practice.
Her kids understand. It's not that unusual for Mom to wake up in time to scrub in for a 7 a.m. surgery, work all day, be met with an emergency that night and not get home until the next afternoon.
It can create what Joseph calls a huge scramble, but Hannah Pressler, 13, and Luke Pressler, 11, have learned to take it in stride.
"She works really hard, but she still has time for her family," Hannah says.
Joseph, 44, says her secret is her village, starting with Dad. Scott Pressler is self-employed, flexible enough to step in on a moment's notice.
"A good dad is part of being a good mom," Joseph says. She lives near her hospital and the kids' schools. She has great partners at the practice who cover for each other when needed, and great friends who carpool.
Joseph says she learned the most about her job when she had children of her own.
"Until you have kids you don't understand the tiredness, the scheduling, the job pressure, the stresses," she says. When she's not working, her kids get her time. The secret is finding that balance, she says, and keeping life as simple as she can.
"The fun part about my job is to watch the transformation of my patients becoming mothers after the birth of their babies. I'm very lucky to be part of such a special moment in someone's life, and I get to be with that mom and take care of her for many years to come."