Boss moms Alisha Robertson, Ana Maria Muñoz, Erin Wheeler, MA Allen and Steph Shaner share their favorite Raleigh Mother’s Day memories for inspiration.
by Melissa Howsam
Erin Wheeler, designer + owner of Sunny Circle Studio
Glimpse of her home life: I live in Raleigh with my husband, David; and kids, Wyatt (8) and Zora (5); as well as our pup, Buster. I run Sunny Circle Studio, which is a design blog dedicated to sharing my love of all things home, including snippets from my own home, client work, tips + tricks and lots of inspiration.
Best Mother’s Day memory: Mother’s Day has always been a favorite of mine! My husband gets up early (before I do, which is usually around 5:30 to 6 a.m.) and makes my favorite for breakfast—cinnamon rolls and fresh coffee. He always has the most thoughtful card and pairs that with the ugliest store-bought flowers you can imagine—usually bright blue or orange-dyed daises from the grocery store. This sounds silly, but I have come to love the tradition! Honestly, it’s a bit of a joke at this point that we love to laugh about. Of course, the kids join in too and I get showered with love, hugs and kindness all day. It’s the best!
Why it’s so special: It’s the little things I love the most—being at home with my family, delicious treats shared at the table and enjoying the moment. Being a mom is so darn hard! But also it’s amazing. It’s nice to take a moment (or a day) to celebrate it—plus to be treated like a queen for a day ain’t so bad!
Ana Maria Muñoz, owner of Port of Raleigh
Glimpse of her home life: I’m a proud mama of two spirited girls (ages 1 and 5) and wife to an even prouder dad. We moved to Raleigh over five years ago and have loved making the downtown community—and Triangle at large—our home.
Best Mother’s Day memory: The first two years were celebrated simply and naturally for us since I was still the only person working at Port of Raleigh. Before opening the store, we’d go to Boulted Bread for treats then next door to Holder Goods to buy something special. Wylde Flowers was doing pop-ups there at the time, so, of course, I’d get a beautiful bouquet to enjoy at home.
As a small-business owner, enjoying and supporting other small businesses is my default, and it’s been incredible to see how people in our communities get excited about them/us too. Storefront businesses are the cultural fabric and pulse of our cities, and I’m thankful that people continue to take a risk to bring their magic to our neighborhoods.
Why it’s so special: We moved to Raleigh not knowing a single soul. The people behind these businesses have become our friends, our community. I remember feeling a special sense of ‘home’ walking in and carrying my daughter on my hip and being surrounded by loving people and special objects destined to make people happy in their homes.
MA Allen, owner of MA Allen Interiors
Glimpse of her home life: I have three kids: Lil (6), Fisher (4), Lula (20 months). I’ve lived in Raleigh for 15 years and started my interior design business, MA Allen Interiors, in 2011. I love calling Raleigh home, so it was an easy decision to start my family and business here.
Best Mother’s Day memory: We usually spend Mother’s Day at my second favorite place to Raleigh—the beach!—but the year my son Fisher was born, we opted to have his baptism on that Mother’s Day. What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than through the baptism of one’s child, bringing both of our families and close friends together for a church service and luncheon to follow?
Entertaining at home is a central part of who I am and what I love. One of the things I love about Raleigh is how there is such a sense of community and so many amazing family businesses to work with while entertaining at home. Kelly Odom is always great for flowers. I love many of my own recipes, but Ladyfingers Caterers is a great resource for parties or to supplement and reduce efforts. Southern Sugar Bakery was perfect for party favors.
Why it’s so special: Fisher’s baptism was a special memory in many ways, but especially because we were able to gather as a family, with mothers and grandmothers, to celebrate so many people in my life on Mother’s Day.
Alisha Robertson, founder of Living Over Existing
Glimpse of her home life: I have been residing in Raleigh for a little over four years now and live with my husband, Johnathan; our 10 month old baby girl, River; and our beagle, Porkchop! I also serve as a business coach to other women entrepreneurs and run my business from home or my favorite coffee shop on the days that the baby is in day care.
Best Mother’s Day memory: My favorite Mother’s Day memory would definitely have to be shortly after I moved to Raleigh. My mom came down to enjoy the day with us, and we had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, The Pit. My mom and I are really close, so not being able to see her every day like I was used to was pretty hard for me, but being able to have her here and to show her why Raleigh is such a beautiful city really made the day even more incredible. In fact, she loved the city so much that she decided to move here when I got pregnant as a fresh start, and to also be closer to her new granddaughter!
Why it’s so special: This memory is so special to me because it was the first time that my mom really had a chance to see me flourish in a new city and on a new adventure in my life. I also believe that it really made her feel a lot more comfortable with me being away from her after she saw how great Raleigh is and how much I loved being here.
Steph Shaner, influencer and project manager in sports technology
Glimpse of her home life: I’m a work-from-home mommy of two super-cute kids. Jackson turns 3 this summer, and Clare turns 1 this month! I’m a Durham native and moved to Raleigh in 2007 to attend NC State’s College of Engineering. My husband and I met in 2011 and now have a home in downtown Raleigh—a city we fall more in love with every day thanks to his startup Offline.
Best Mother’s Day memory: Last year for Mother’s Day weekend, Offline and Raleigh Raw (owned by one of my very close friends) had a block party on Hargett Street. As a very new mom of two (Clare was just a few weeks old!), I was excited to get out of the house and enjoy a full day in our community with the family. I got to start my day with yoga taught by one of my best friends from college (@cici_flows) while David hung with the kiddos, followed by live music, a street basketball tournament, fresh juice and kombucha cocktails, healthy bites, local vendors, and good vibes.
Why it’s so special: Anytime you can connect your family, friends and your community is a great day. And this was just that. I was able to bring our new family of four out downtown, meet up with some of our best friends and enjoy the day celebrating businesses we love in the city we love. It was a day I will never forget!