| REAL LIFE: ERICKA WOODS |

Mom on a Mission for Good

FIRST PRINTED IN THE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021 ISSUE

Ericka Woods knows all too well those feelings of loneliness that can creep into a mom’s life. An 18-year-old mom when she had her son, who ended up having behavioral problems, Woods felt so alone. 

“I would never give up on my kids for anything, but it was so hard. I felt like during those times there were no resources for parents. What do I do, the school is continuously calling me? I was just stressed, I was really stressed out,” says Woods, whose son is now 22. She also has a 16-year-old daughter and is expecting her third in January. 

“… I knew I couldn’t be the only person.”

Unable to find what she needed, she created her own. She started a private Facebook group, 1Mother2Another, a positive, uplifting spot where moms could feel supported and comfortable asking the tough parenting questions, with a little bit of everyday levity and life’s regular quandaries thrown in. No judgment allowed. “I just feel like we deal with so much in life already, I don’t want negativity in that space at all.” 

Today, it’s nearing 5,000 moms ready to help each other and their community and it has since sprouted a nonprofit organization of the same name committed to doing good, with a monthly moms’ day out centered around volunteering (and maybe a little wine).

Although Woods, who works logistics for the automotive industry and calls herself a volunteer junkie, has been featured in Cheerios and Coca-Cola commercials, along with winning the Spirit of Detroit award among others because of the work, she says it’s never been about the accolades. Rather, it’s all about doing good for others. 

“For me growing up, we didn’t have a lot,” she says, adding she watched her mom struggle to take care of the family. “I understand how it feels to not have.” Volunteering gave her all the good feels.

Your best advice for raising kids?

“Always make sure, love all your children. Growing up, I did not have that. I think that’s why I love so hard on my kids so I think it’s very important as parents that we show – and tell – our children that we love them and how much we care for them. I didn’t get that from my mom until I was in my late 30s. Now we’re (her mom and her) in a good space. Make them your No. 1 priority.”

She says she grew up not knowing about her father. She used time during the quarantine to dive into doing an ancestry search to find him. She found him, but had her heart broken: He died from COVID-19 just two months before she located him. 

“My past has made me be who I am. I didn’t get love from my mother so I always make sure I show my children love. I didn’t have certain things so I always made sure I worked hard so I can be an excellent provider for my kids. Just everything I went through in my life; I always make sure I’m the opposite.”

Now, at 41, she’s starting over, in love and expecting a baby in January. 

“What am I doing?” she says with a laugh, joking she didn’t even think “those parts” worked any longer. “I’m just in love. As moms do, I’m just like, I got it, I’ll figure it out.

FAST TALK

MOST HATED HOUSEHOLD CHORE?

I’m a neat freak. Maybe the bathroom.

YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE?

Eating tacos. Tacos are my absolute favorite food. My family gets so mad when I make tacos for dinner. They’re like ‘Again?’ Yes, again.

YOUR SUPER POWER?:

My strength.

 

HOW DO YOU MANAGE EVERYTHING?

The mothering part, that’s a given. Love and passion for giving back, I have to do it. I just make time for it.

THE ONE THING YOU HOPE YOUR KIDS SAY ABOUT YOU?

That they’re proud of me. I always want to make them proud of me. This is exactly who I am doing it all for. 

How to Help

Every October, 1Mother2Another provides tote bags with socks, hand and toe warmers, granola bars, etc., to the homeless in metro Detroit for its Socktober drive. Find details on donating money or items from the group’s Amazon Wish List or contact Ericka Woods directly at 1Mother2Another.org.

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