By Jennifer Merritt
May 06, 2016 @ 10:30 am

By now, most people know of Sarah Jessica Parker's childhood history of growing up on welfare. So it should come as no surprise that the 51-year-old took a moment set aside to honor her work as a mother of three as an opportunity to shine the spotlight on today's struggling moms.

Addressing a crowd at The Pierre hotel in New York City Thursday in a dress by Huishan Zhang and shoes from her own collection, the actress and producer began her acceptance speech for the National Mother's Day Committee's 38th annual Outstanding Mother Awards with a joke—"I in no way think this lovely gesture is based on merit"—before turning serious. 

RELATED: Sarah Jessica Parker's Most Daring Red Carpet Moments

"When I began to ruminate about today, I kept thinking of all the millions and millions and millions of women—mothers—who don’t have the support I have; who don’t have the resources that allow for me to work with comfort and security outside the home; who, from day to day, don’t have reliable childcare; who live paycheck to paycheck … and who maybe, most importantly, don’t have the liberty I have to choose to work, never mind picking a job that excites them, or challenges them," she said. "And I thought most of all about their worries and their concerns, and then I understood that this was a moment to at the very least acknowledge them, to salute them." 

Earlier, she detailed some of her own worries as a mother. "I fear that I am impatient, exacting, and often on a set, in a meeting, or occupied on my Blackberry—yes, a Blackberry—when I should be picking up or dropping off at school, or making dinner, or depositing a child or even hosting a play date," she said. "I worry all the time about my children, and I’m always concerned about their well-being, and I try to find or create more time and just simply be better at this most exquisite gift of motherhood." 

RELATED: Sarah Jessica Parker Shares the Key to Acheiving Your Dreams

In addition to Parker, the event, which benefited Save the Children, also honored Louise Camuto, creative director of the Camuto Group; Joy Mangano, inventor and president of Ingenious Designs; and Nordstrom EVP and GMM of beauty Gemma Lionello.