#wcw | Janet Wakefield aka MY MOM!


Most people hate being told they are just like their mother.  My brother throws that at me all the time and I throw him a death glare and proceed to tell him how he is just like our father.  But the truth of the matter is…I am exactly like my mom.  And damn proud of it.


My mom has taught me so many things throughout my lifetime.  How to care about people and not just about what they can do for you.  To be kind no matter what.  How to be independent and that loving yourself is the first step in loving others.  To dream as big as I possibly can and always believe those dreams will come true.  She taught me the importance of family and has created one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.  She showed me how to be a fighter…to stand up for myself and what I believe in and to live with purpose.  She showed me how to beat cancer…like a boss.  But most of all she taught me that this life can be whatever I want it to be and to never be afraid to live it.  From as early as I can remember she pushed me out into the world.  To try new things and really experience life.  At the age of 17 she didn’t just let me but pushed me to drive to DC with my best friend for a women’s rights march because it was one of the many steps in finding myself.  She supported me when I flew to Europe for the summer with a backpack and train ticket…because she knew that trip would shape who I am today.  She may have disowned me for a minute when I got a tattoo behind her back but every step of the way she was instilling little parts of herself in me and as I sit here today…I am living proof of the amazing woman my mother is.


She is kind to everyone.  Almost to a fault.  She says hi to everyone on the street even when I tell her we don’t do that in Chicago.  She cares more deeply than anyone I have ever met.  She picks up trash everywhere she goes.  She is always trying new things…plays, workshops, dance moves…because living life is the most important thing to her.  She sings along to the songs even when she doesn’t know the words.  She is a role model to me and so many of my friends…and people I’m sure she doesn’t even realize.  She’s the rock that holds our family together and even though none of us would ever admit it…we don’t know what we would do without her.  Mom…I’m sorry for being such a horrible teenager…but thanks for making me the woman I am today.  Everything I do in life I do because you taught me that it’s possible and for that I will always be grateful.  I love you.  xoxo





Since she started this WCW Lauren has been asking when I was going to do one.  I told her to ask some of my friends and then the first one she asked declined (Thanks Barb).  She thought I needed to go first and then some of my friends might step up.  I explained that “women our age” weren’t as brave and open as women her age.  You see we are more private and probably just not as in touch with our real self.  But she persisted and insisted and I resisted and said yes someday and then she said next Wednesday, I need you Mom, I don’t have anyone else lined up……


What do you say when your sweet daughter says “I need you Mom?”  You say “of course I will” because that is what moms do, especially for their daughters.  And the truth be told, if I told Lauren I needed her to do something for me, she would do it.  That’s just the kind of person she is.   And so here I go.


I am fighting growing old – in my head I still think I am “30 something” which gets me and my sore body in trouble from time to time.

I love being a mom….although the whole time until the phase of “grown, launched children” I was never sure I was doing it “right” and was super sensitive when people would criticize my parenting.

I love love being a grandma but, again, I have this little voice that says ‘don’t mess this up,’ although I am sure that being a grandma is much, much easier than being the mom – at least so far with precious Katharine and Emery

I have a god daughter and I worry about our relationship.  I don’t think I have always treated her fairly or been sensitive to her situation.  I wish I had some “do overs” for the two of us.

And then there is the mother-in-law role – fortunate for me I have a great daughter-in-law so I want to be a great mother-in-law.  I am very careful to follow her lead when it comes to the girls and be her supporter and affirm who she is and what she does.   And I never want my son to feel like I am intruding or causing any problems for the two of them.

My family comes first for me – I feel very fortunate to have the family I have and the family I grew up in.  We are more different than night and day and don’t always get along great but family is family.

I have a big heart and care deeply about many things in this world.  Injustices truly hurt my feelings.  I have a big sense of right and wrong and fair and unfair.  I am a defender of the underdog and feel poor people are treated poorly often and that really bothers me.  I often feel I should be doing more.

I am a fighter and advocate for the rights of children – it’s basic to me, you just don’t ever ever do anything that would harm defenseless children or put them any place but first priority.  I think we humans have forgotten that our number one role is taking care of our young people and supporting them as they grow into adulthood.

I detest war – I think there are many other ways to have peace in this world than fight and kill each other which just leaves innocent people not trusting each other and passing that on for generations.

I am a body conscious person and am not so happy with my increasing size over the years.  I am just thankful that I am tall so that some of the flaws don’t show as much.  Shopping for clothes is not near as much fun as it used to be.

I believe kind and loving is always the best way to go even if those around you aren’t.  And calm always champions crazy.

I am concerned about our environment.  All of it and I don’t get it how others don’t seem to care.  How hard is it to reuse, reduce and recycle?  I mean really – I don’t get it how everyone doesn’t do it.

It drives me crazy when I hear about corporations and other countries doing crazy things to our environment thinking it doesn’t matter.  People we only have ONE EARTH so let’s take care of it.

I love to dance, always have.  I am not such a great dancer but I love to do it anyway.

I favor being late over wasting time or cutting someone off that needs me.  My husband thinks I am always late but he never mentions when I am on time, only when I am late.

I have a bucket list that I take very seriously.  After breast cancer I put up a sign that said “what are you waiting for?”  As I entered into my sixth decade I decided I really have things I want to get done before I move into my seventies.  I feel more of an urgency these days.


And one of the things on my bucket list is to “say yes more than no.”  So here you go Laurney Brooke – my WCW done just for you.  Everyone feel free to comment so I don’t feel all alone in some of this stuff.  And if you are so inclined, Lauren would love to include some “mature” women on her #wcw series.  Your turn…


#wcw, inspiring women, amazing women, chicago wedding photographer, indianapolis wedding photographer_0003

  • Lisa Kulze - July 29, 2015 - 9:27 am

    Loved reading this, Janet! Both you and Lauren are such inspiring, brave gals! So glad that I have gotten to know you over the years! Awesome #wcw!ReplyCancel

  • Shannon Spaid - July 29, 2015 - 10:15 am

    Good Job AJ!ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Furlow - July 29, 2015 - 8:08 pm

    Two wonderfully written pieces….what a great daughter/mother team, two heroic women living life fully. Thanks for the inspiration.ReplyCancel

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