Mom of the Year: Carmen Felder

“A child is a sponge, and I know I have the opportunity to create a beautiful human being that can change the world.”

Mom to Melaki, age 13, Leesburg, VA

Carmen Felder is a single mother to a very promising 12-year-old son. She is a disabled U.S. veteran of the U.S. Air Force and served in Operation Enduring Freedom. Carmen is also a philanthropist. She is the co-founder of 89 Ways to Give foundation (retired Redskin Santana Moss’ foundation), is on the Smashing Walnuts donation committee board and donates time and goodies to her local fire and police departments and retirement homes. She mentors college students from all over the world and founded two successful businesses, Socialites of Loudoun and Authentic Connections.

Q&A with Carmen Felder


Founder/CEO, Authentic Connections and Socialites of Loudoun

Three fun facts about you and your family:

1. My son is such a gentleman and an old soul. Every day when he wakes up, he asks me, “Mother, how did you sleep? Did you sleep well?”

2. We love discovering foods from different cultures.

3. We enjoy trivia and intellectual and political conversations.

What advice would you give to new or expectant moms?

All parenting advice is not the best advice. You set the foundation of what morals you want to instill in your child and what strong personality traits you want to strengthen within them. When you have a strong bond with your child, the decisions become easier because you understand your child and what’s best for him. What’s best for one child may not be best for another child.

How has motherhood changed your outlook on life?

I’ve realized a huge part of my legacy is my son. A child is a sponge, and I know I have the opportunity to create a beautiful human being that can change the world. Motherhood has also evolved me into the greater person I was destined to be. Melaki is my greatest blessing, and I would not be who I am today without him. My love for him is unconditional. It’s not until we’ve birthed life that we have truly begun to live life.

Describe a favorite mom moment.

My son’s memory is outstanding. At 3 years old, my son had a great sense of direction. When I would inform him of our day’s activities, if I changed courses or added a stop, in a dry and comical way, he would redirect me quickly and put me back on track. He has always been my personal GPS.

What is your secret is to balancing life/family/work/motherhood?

I do not take on unnecessary drama, issues or take in useless knowledge. This keeps me focused on what’s important. If there are things or people in your life that continuously bring havoc, stress or hardship — get rid of it. I work hard to make sure my family and son are well taken care of and uplifted. My son is my heart and also my good friend, so when I have to work long hours, I explain it to him so he understands what work-life balance is and what it takes to be successful.

How has motherhood helped you succeed at work?

Motherhood made me realize there is no room for failure. I must protect, teach and provide a healthy lifestyle for my son. Not only am I a mother — I’m a single mother. My son’s father is absent, so I must play the role of mother and father. Every time I think of my son and his precious face, hear his voice or look into his deep eyes, it makes me strive harder to conquer any task. He is my inspiration to be successful in all I do.

About WF Staff

Washington FAMILY Staff

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