Fraternity boys engage in many functions, meetings, and special causes, but when one thinks of a fraternity they do not often consider a house mom being in the mix. Among all of the socials and date parties, the house mom is a woman who serves as the glue, which holds all things together. She works behind the scenes, and not only does things to help the fraternity as a whole, but she helps each individual brother out of the goodness of her heart.
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Mary Dunlop from Odessa, Texas, is the house mom for Kappa Alpha Order at Auburn University. She has lived in Auburn for 15 years and has been the house mom for 6 of those years. When her son moved to Auburn with his wife and family, Ms. Mary decided to make a change in her life and move to Auburn as well. Ms. Mary’s plan was to run a bed and breakfast, but when she had the opportunity to become a house mom she knew that it was right up her ally.
A house mom does many things that often go unnoticed, which is quite like being a mother. Some of the things that Ms. Mary does include making sure the fire system is updated, making sure the ducts are cleaned, and maintaining the house. She is over the kitchen and the cleaning staff, and she is in charge of creating the menu and ordering the food. Other things that Ms. Mary does include taking the boys to the hospital if they are sick, putting on band-aids when they are hurt, and making sure that the house is kept together and the boys stay on track.
Ms. Mary said, “This is like a home away from home. I love getting to be a mom to all of these boys and create a family atmosphere.”
“I also love getting to meet their parents,” said Ms. Mary. “We all love each other like family.”
When speaking of living in the fraternity house, Ms. Mary described it as sleeping in a beehive where noise is always a commodity. She also spoke of living in the “beautiful house on the hill with a million dollar view.” Ms. Mary loves living in this house, because there are always people around that she enjoys. She feels as if she has 140 sons, and her room is always open for them and their girlfriends if they ever need anything.
“I get attached to the boys, I really do,” said Ms. Mary. “So even though they do leave and move on with their lives, they always have a special place in my heart and I love seeing them when they come back to visit.”
Being a house mom comes with much responsibility. Ms. Mary tries to direct these young men in the traditions and foundation of Kappa Alpha in order for the betterment of the fraternity and the betterment of these young men. She describes it as “nailing Jello to a tree… sometimes it sticks, and sometimes it doesn’t.” The house has become a home, and Ms. Mary considers these students to be her family.