Happy January birthday to you!
Every year on July 16, I request some of that vacation time I never use, spend most of the day entirely by myself, and then celebrate with an ice cream cake, a glass of wine, and Googling “who else was born on July 16?” Turns out civil rights activist and mom of six, Ida B. Wells, and I are birthday buddies over 100 years removed.
Shared birthdays have always fascinated me. When reading a biography, I pause for a moment when the author mentions the subject’s birthday wondering if I know anyone else born on that day. I try to draw connections between the people and think about them making wishes on their shared personal holidays, blowing out the candles perhaps decades or thousands of miles apart.
I don’t think I’m alone in this birthday buddy fascination either because the Ty company did VERY well with Beanie Babies. People love birthdays.
HAPPY JANUARY BIRTHDAY, MOMS!
After finding my Ida connection and getting drawn in by our mutual love of the written word and what parallels I saw in our lives as working moms, I thought it would be fun to dive a little deeper.
Who shares your birthday? Is there a famous hard-working mom out there you might find a connection to based on the day you both popped out into the world? Maybe you are both nurses or business leaders. Maybe you both love jazz music or each have four kids.
So let’s find out, starting with January!
Find your mom January birthday buddy below and let me know if making a wish on the same day is a straightforward as that, or if there is something more between you and your match. In this busy doing one million things world, it’s nice to take a pause and focus on yourself once in a while. Celebrate you, make new connections, and eat some birthday cake!
Definitely eat the cake.
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Betsy Ross – Upholsterer and mother of seven. Betsy is credited as having sewn the very first American flag. She was also a business owner and solely responsible for keeping her family afloat after being widowed three times.
Christy Turlington – Model, Nonprofit Founder, and mother of two. Christy is perhaps best known for her physical beauty, rocking the runway as a supermodel in the 80s and 90s. But she also has a beautiful heart, founding Every Mother Counts, a nonprofit that supports maternal health programs worldwide.
Danica McKellar – Actress, author, and mom of one. While you probably remember Danica as Winnie from The Wonder Years, in the years since she has been getting kids into math through her books including New York Times Bestseller Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail. On a personal note, I desperately needed that book in my younger years."I want girls to feel the confidence you get from being smart. They get so many messages that tell them the most important thing is to be beautiful." – Danica McKellar Click To Tweet
Barbara Ann Cochran – Olympic gold medalist, business owner, and mother of two. Barbara Ann comes from a family of exceptional skiiers, past and present. She is retired from competition now, but offers her expertise on handling the pressures of competition through her coaching business.
January Jones – Actress and mother of one. She was nominated for an Emmy and two Golden Globes for her work in Mad Men and continues to rock the big and small screens. And yes, January is her real name. I checked!"I don’t believe in regret. I just try to be a better person. Try to be a better mum. Maybe it’s an ego thing. But I think even missteps are done for a reason." – January Jones Click To Tweet
Ree Drummond – Food blogger, TV personality, and mother of four. You know Ree as “The Pioneer Woman” from her blog and TV show. She also wrote a book Black Heels to Tractor Wheels that is being turned into a movie. P.S. Don’t go to her website while hungry. Just saying.
Katie Couric – News Anchor, author, and mother of two. Emmy-award winning news anchor, Kate Couric, has been on your TV screens for years having worked for CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS throughout her career. She’s also authored two children’s books and the bestselling nonfiction book The Best Advice I Ever Got, and been nationally recognized for her work increasing cancer awareness and screenings. Oh and now she heads up her own media company. Katie came to play!
Carolina Herrera – Fashion Designer and mom of four. Carolina founded her fashion brand in 1980 and her designs have been gracing red carpets, and adorning First Ladies, for generations. She’s got style, she’s got flair, and she has totally been there.
Rigoberta Menchú – Human Rights Activist, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and mom of one. Rigoberta has been making her voice heard in support of human rights since she was a young girl, joining her family in their activism in Guatemala. She has been internationally recognized for her work and dedication towards ensuring the rights of Indigenous people and women.“What I treasure most in life is being able to dream. During my most difficult moments and complex situations I have been able to dream of a more beautiful future.” – Rigoberta Menchu Click To Tweet
Chandra Cheeseborough – Olympic gold medalist, coach, and mom of two. Chandra was a CRAZY fast sprinter and won two gold medals in the 1984 Olympic Games, in two events that were held a half-hour apart. (!!!) Later she coached track and field at Tennessee State and in the 2008 Olympics.
Amanda Peet – Actress, author, activist, and mom of three. You might know Amanda from her work in romantic comedies on the big and small screen, but she’s also deeply committed to the Every Child By Two nonprofit organization that advocates for childhood vaccinations. She also co-wrote the children’s book Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein.
Ali Wentworth – Comedian, actress, and mom of two. Ali is one seriously funny lady, and Jay Leno and Oprah agree. She was a correspondent on both The Tonight Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show, and starred in In Living Color.
Gwen Verdon – Dancer, actress, and mother of two, Gwen won four Tony awards for her work on Broadway and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1981. She starred in Chicago, Damn Yankees, Garden of Eden, and Can Can. This lady had MOVES!
Tillie Olsen – Writer and mother of 4. Excuse me while I nerd out over Tillie Olsen’s influence on future writers and mothers. She wrote short stories on a variety of topics, including motherhood, decades before writing on motherhood became mainstream. She also published in the nonfiction genre shedding light on the challenges female writers faced in getting their writing recognized.
Rachel Roy – Designer and mother of two. Before launching her own line, Rachel Roy, Rachel served as the creative director of Rocawear for women’s and children’s lines. Rachel’s famous clients include Michelle Obama, Tyra Banks, and Lucy Liu. Talk about fancy!"I think that a woman wears so many hats, we have so many aspects to us that we're not just one thing. We represent so much within us and that kind of comes across for me as a designer through mixing prints and colors." – Rachel Roy Click To Tweet
Jill Tarter – Astronomer and mother of one. Jill’s work focuses on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and she has a slew of awards on her shelf, including two from NASA showcasing her contributions to the field of astronomy. Is it lame of me to say she’s out of this world? Yeah, probably.
Michelle Obama – Lawyer, Nonprofit Director, Former First Lady of the United States, author, and mother of two. She drove efforts towards creating a healthier America and inspired millions with her autobiography, Becoming, that details her life as a working mother.
Joanna Newsom – Musician and mother of one. Joanna is incredibly talented and can play multiple instruments, but she’s best known for her work on the harp. Her musical style has been described as psychedelic folk which is basically the coolest things I’ve ever heard.
Shawn Johnson – Olympic gymnast and mother of one. After reading up on Shawn, I have to imagine she has an entire room in her home dedicated to medals, perhaps several. Along with many other medals/honors/awards, in 2008 she took home the Olympic gold medal for balance beam, and then the Mirrorball Trophy from Dancing with the Stars in 2009.
Patricia Neal – Actress and mother of five. Academy Award-winning actress, Patricia Neal also won a Tony and a Golden Globe during her 50-year career on the stage. Reading her film credits makes me seriously want to break into some classics. Breakfast at Tiffany’s anyone?
Geena Davis – Actress and mom of 3. I realize I should talk about all of Geena Davis accomplishments as an actress here, and there are many, but we’re going to lean in hard to A League of Their Own here, and for good reason. Generations of young girls were inspired by A League of Their Own, myself included and a big reason behind that Geena Davis’ portrayal of Dottie Hinson.
Diane Lane: Actress, philanthropist, and mother of one. Diane’s IMDB profile does not quit, she’s been at this game and crushing it for decades! But as much as I loved her as Riley’s mom in Inside Out, many more props given for her humanitarian efforts, especially with Heifer International.
Amanda Smith – Preacher and mother of seven. Amanda Smith was a former slave who went on to become a leader in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, ministered across the world, and founded The Amanda Smith Orphanage and Industrial Home for Abandoned and Destitute Colored Children in Chicago.
Ethel Turner – Author and mother of two. Australian writer, Ethel Turner, made a name for herself in children’s literature in the late 1800s and early 1990s. Her most famous children’s book, Seven Little Australians, was later made in a television show.
Etta James – Singer and mom of two. Six-time Grammy award-winning artist, Etta James, is a musical legend. I could talk about all her songs and talent here, or let Etta speak for herself.
Anita Baker – Singer and mother of two. Eight Grammys! EIGHT! You don’t need me to tell you Anita Baker has pipes. She retired briefly in 2017, and then was all like “nah, I’m Anita Baker. I’ve still got it!”
Asma Jahangir – Human rights lawyer, social activist, and mother of three. Asma fought for democracy and human rights in Pakistan throughout her illustrious career. She was also Pakistan’s first woman to serve as the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association."When there is oppression and dictatorship, by not speaking out, we lose our dignity." – Asma Jahangir Click To Tweet
Sarah McLachlan – Singer and mom of two. Who among us hasn’t sobbed uncontrollably because of Sarah McLachlan? Honestly, I could barely read the list of the titles of her songs without losing it. Plus her commercials for the ASPCA make me want all the dogs. Thanks for making generations of people feel deep feels, Sarah.
Sara Gilbert – Actress, producer, and mom of one. You know Sara as Darlene from Roseanne or Leslie from Big Bang Theory, but she was also the executive producer of The Talk and current executive producer of The Conners. Making moves out front and behind the scenes!
Barbara Tuchman – Historian, author, and mother of three. According to biographer Oliver Pollack, Barbara was “not a historian’s historian; she was a layperson’s historian who made the past interesting to millions of readers.” Despite never earning an advanced degree in history, her expertise and exceptional storytelling ability earner her two Pulitizer prizes and numerous honorary degrees from top universities including Harvard and Yale."If a man is a writer, everybody tiptoes around past the locked door of the breadwinner. But if you're an ordinary female housewife, people say, 'This is just something Barbara wanted to do; it's not professional." – Barbara Tuchman Click To Tweet
Denise Fleming – Author, illustrator, and mom of one. Children’s book writing and illustrating is a family affair for Denise Fleming, her husband, and her daughter. She involves her family in the creation of her award-winning children’s books including The Everything Book and In the Tall Tall Grass.
Happy January birthday to you! Wishing you all the best in the year ahead!
With birthday love,