Debra Messingís Mom Tells
How To Have
S mother is her role model, Debra Messing brought mom to
share the moment at the 35th annual Outstanding
Mother Awards. Accepting her award, Debra said, "In honoring me
you are really celebrating her."
The 2003 Emmy winner for NBCís Will
& Grace, and current star of Smash on the same
network, said her mother, Sandra Ellen Messing, grew up
with very little "but always had hope and chutzpah." As a
teenager in the 1950s, Sandra recorded albums with an all-girl
quartet, The Brookstones. She married at 16 and became the
mother of two very energetic children.
Brooklyn-born Debra, who grew up in
East Greenwich, Rhode Island, would dream aloud about someday
becoming an actress. Her mom was encouraging: "It has to be
someone, why not you?"
Her brother Brett wanted to be
Her mother, Debra said, was driven to
give back to the community, "working tirelessly for the Jewish
Federation. She believed the greatest gift you could give a
child was education. And so this woman, who never got to go,
proudly watched both of her kids graduate from college, and go
on to earn masterís degrees."
One day as an exhausted, overwhelmed
new mother, working actress and HIV advocate, Debra called her
mom in tears. "I was feeling paralyzed and inept, despairing
over the impossibility of doing it all."
Mom was calm and steady and told her,
"You canít have it all. But I do believe you can have it all at
different times. Prioritize. And be kind to yourself."
Applause thundered from the 500 guests
at the 35th anniversary Outstanding Mother Awards
sponsored by the National Motherís Day Committee at the Pierre
Hotel in Manhattan. The committee recognizes exceptional women
for balancing career and family.
Mindy Grossman, chief executive
officer of HSN (Home Shopping Network) and luncheon emcee, said
the dual role of career and motherhood is not an easy task. When
she gets asked, how do you balance both, she answers, "I donít."
The committee also honored
Margarita Arriagada, chief merchant of Sephora USA;
Dottie Mattison, senior managing director of
Guggenheim Partners; and Arianna Huffington, president of
the Huffington Post Media Group, who was represented by daughter
Christina while her mother was in Japan to launch
Huffington Post there.
Arriagada said her husband should be
getting an award. "I have a great husband who has held us
altogether," she said. "My mom has been my greatest inspiration,
all five feet of her. She should be the poster child of "Yes we
can." What I learned from her is to defy conventional wisdom."
The Outstanding Mother Awards luncheon
benefits U.S. programs of Save the Children, dedicated to making
positive change fort children living in poverty. Mark Shriver is
senior vice president that initiative.