Let me introduce Roslyn. She is a mother to 5 adult children and 11 grandchildren. She has faithfully lived out her role as a stay-at-home mother, while co-partnering with her husband in his church ministry. Having lived in 6 different places, whilst raising a family, she has drawn upon her faith in God and her God given creativity, to be resilient in life’s changing seasons. She is a wonderful role model to me and a source of much help and encouragement. I am blessed to call her ‘Mum’.
How old were you when you became a Mum? I was 24 years old. I was living in Papua New Guinea and we had no immediate family living near us.
Has anyone inspired you as a mother? I don’t think I operate as a person by being influenced by others. I am quite strong minded, but I think I also have a strong sense of purpose and commitment. I honestly can’t say anyone “inspired” me in my mothering.
What is one of your favourite memories of raising children? I remember visiting the GP and he asked me if I enjoyed being a stay-at-home Mum. I had 2 under 3 at that stage. I remember telling him I did enjoy the role. It required gifts that expressed who I was. The variety in skills needed was interesting for me. I like children; their growth and development engages me and understanding [different] personalities is a challenge I enjoy. Medical things are also interesting to me, so I wasn’t phased by minor sicknesses; I am a problem solver. I am also creative, and so the scope for music, craft, play and reading children’s books was enjoyable for me.
Holidays were always happy times. Jamie and I – away from other demands and able to concentrate on family and fun. We were blessed over and over again!
I realise I had a natural advantage – I was doing something I was gifted at, and that is personally nourishing. However, that doesn’t mean there were not challenges. I was always very tired and I think my natural gifts are with pre and primary aged children. Pre-adolescence onwards… that’s another story!
Can you share a story of a particular challenge you faced in parenting? I think that one of the challenges of parenting generally, and I certainly experienced it, is that of relating to a gradually changing person. I always have related to my children as ‘people’; each one is a little person with their own thoughts and feelings. The challenge is that the little person changes as he/she grows and so, attachment to me as a parent changes. Differences in personality between me and [each] child became more apparent. As each one moved towards independence, learning to adapt to the changes was challenging. Especially with the strong-willed young person. Discerning which values were non-negotiable and which values were of lesser importance (therefore negotiable) was a big learning challenge for me. Because I am very linked into relationship and thrive on love in relationship, the biggest challenge has been having to cope with negative attitudes in my children towards me.
How did you work through this challenge? What gave you hope in times of trouble? The only way I have navigated rocky periods in relationship [with my children] is in my relationship with God. Many times I have read the middle verses of 1 Corinthians 13. God has spoken to my heart words of comfort, assurance, inspiration and very clear perceptive thoughts. Of course, without my dearest earthly companion to discuss and share all these things, how lonely I would be!
If you were to meet your ‘young Mum’ self, what advice would you give her? If I were to say anything to my younger self, it would be: “Keep trusting in Jesus. He is absolutely reliable. The journey with him gets better and better.”
Photo by: emerald tigress