Growing up, I was surrounded by women that did whatever they wanted to do. They did what they needed to do AND what they wanted to do. No one that I really knew was a stay at home mom like I am, but they all taught me so much about being a mom and being a woman.
My mom’s boss was a dentist and she had 3 kids, when they were younger she only worked three days a week so that she could spend more time with her kids. She also pumped at work and nursed whenever she could. She and her husband (an orthodontist) took turns making the kids dinner and driving them to activities, basically just spending as much time with them as they could.
My mom’s best friends are two very different and wonderful women. One worked full time and had 2 (then 3) kids. She was funny and active and wild and a great mom! She taught me how to drive a boat AND how to pee off of an outboard on a boat… and one of my favorite words- precarious. The other had no kids, but had been friends with my mom since they were in elementary school and later became very good friends with my dad as well. She spent so much time with me and showed me all kinds of amazing things. She had multiple degrees, lived all over the country, and always had the coolest most exotic apartments full of amazing art, furniture and spiritual items.
My aunt is an artist and went to school for art then for teaching, but when she married a farmer her life changed! They moved to Montana then back to Georgia. She learned how to drive a tractor and do all kinds of things to help my uncle run their farm. She now teaches agriculture classes but still loves all things art-related.
I got to go spend weeks with my aunt and uncle and was allowed to help my uncle on the farm. I learned how to drive a tractor, work cattle, unloaded and loaded bales of hay, fed animals, rode horses, cleaned barns, drank a lot of Pepsi and learned a different way of life than the one that I grew up living. That time on the farm is one of the most special times in my life, experiences that I could never replace or recreate. I want my sons and my daughter to be able to experience the hard work and accomplishment I learned about during those weeks.
I remember sitting at my dad’s sister’s hair salon and listening to all the ladies talk. She cut my hair for years, she has curly hair a lot like me. I played with my cousins for hours and hours at her house. She always had time to talk to me and let me wander around and watch what she was doing. My dad’s other sister LOVED (and still loves) dogs! I spent so much time with her when I was little especially, spending the night to give my parents a night off! Her daughters are much older than me, but they all let me hang around with them and listen while they all giggled and played cards at night.
My grandmother grew up with very little, but worked her butt off and went to Barry College and then the University of Tennessee. Her house was always perfect, her Thanksgivings and Christmases were always something out of Southern Living magazine. But I also spent many nights laying in bed watching the Braves play with her while she rubbed my head. She creates incredible stained glass artwork and loves to laugh. Her mom was crazy! She was a badass, never wore shoes and worked right alongside my great-grandfather on their farm and in their garden. She could also quilt the most intricate designs by hand and taught me how to quilt using quarter squares. She was mischievous and hilarious, she could cook better than anyone I’ve ever met. She would sit and listen to the police scanner while she had her banana and peanut butter in the afternoon.
My other great-grandmother was much different than Cowan (my mom’s mom’s mom). She was a tiny woman (4’11’’) full of fire and God’s love. She was so soft spoken, but my grandfather (all 6 feet of him) would listen and mind his mama when she said something. She and my great-grandfather were madly in love and taught the newlywed Bible study at their church for years. She could fish and cook and giggle like nobodies business. She was a tiny southern lady that taught me so much about Jesus and God’s love.
My dad’s mom lived with us for years, helped keep my mom sane after my little brother was born with acid reflux. She took care of my grandfather when he was sick, worked full time and took care of her three kids. She loved to garden and always knew what every flower and plant was. When my dad came home with his first tattoo, she spend about 6 hours in the front yard pulling weeds (she was PISSED). She got her ears pierced a second time when I got mine done in middle school! She taught me how to play Rummy, how to make potato soup, and how to find the humor in everything. She was southern and sassy and I miss her every day. She loved Jesus and her family so very much, and lived a happy and fun life.
I was never told I couldn’t do something because I was a girl, it never even crossed my mind! I could work, or not. I could get a degree and use it, or get a degree and do something completely different. I could breastfeed, bottle feed or formula feed. I could be artistic or far from it. I could have a farm, an apartment, 5 kid or none. I was shown that women are funny and strong and courageous and mischievous and faithful and beautiful and messy and capable. I was shown that women can cook if they want to or go out for every meal. I realize now that I was so blessed to be surrounded by such different and secure women, something that I want for all of my kids. Be one of those women with me! Be honest and live your life, the kids watching don’t remember the messy houses and burned food or the time you had to work instead of stay at home… they remember how you played with them or what you taught them and the TIME you spent with them!
I have no idea what I am doing,